It’s hard to believe, but another CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference has come and gone. Many of the record 5,000-plus in attendance commented on how this was the best CUNA GAC yet, and I would have to agree. Attendees had the opportunity to hear from former President George W. Bush.   A small, select group of CEOs, including our own Mary Ott Wood of Florida West Coast Credit Union, had the opportunity to travel to the White House and have a meeting with President Donald Trump. We also had the chance to hear from several members of Congress, including new Alabama U.S. Senator Doug Jones, who was gracious enough to meet with me and a small group of Alabama credit union CEOs prior to taking the stage.

Of course, the highlight of any CUNA GAC is our visits to Capitol Hill, and once again, credit union advocates from Alabama and Florida made it to all 38 Congressional offices (nine in Alabama and 29 in Florida). Our message of needing regulatory relief and reform was well-received, and as S. 2155 heads to the Senate floor this week, we know the support is there in our delegations to help make this a reality. While regulatory relief was the top priority we discussed with our delegations, advocates were also pushing for stronger data security standards for merchants, discussed the ADA website litigation issue and continued to talk about the relevancy of the credit union tax exemption. Our advocates this year were the strongest yet, and we cannot wait to see another strong group join us in September for our Hike the Hill.

While credit unions had the opportunity to thank members of Congress for preserving the tax exemption at the federal level, our friends in Iowa are facing a battle at the state legislature. A bill passed the Iowa Senate on Wednesday that would lower the tax burden on banks by imposing a franchise tax on credit unions. If this bill passes the legislature and is signed into law, we can expect the bankers to use tactic in other state capitals. While we know there is no threat in the immediate future, with sessions in Alabama and Florida winding down, we need to be vigilant and ready if this fight comes to our states. The League is already preparing for this, but we will truly need your help should this fight come. Please be prepared to join us in Montgomery and Tallahassee for our State Advocacy Conferences next year (dates to follow soon), and be ready to respond to Action Alerts and other requests. We can only win fights like this with the help of our credit unions.

Where’s Patrick:  This week I will be in Birmingham office on Monday and Tuesday and then back in Tallahassee.  To see my tentative schedule for the next two weeks, visit the LSCU Information for Credit Unions’ webpage.