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Special Edition of Capitol Eyes: 2022 State GAC Recap

Cap Eyes 4.30.20
Feb 04, 2022
By Tom Harrington
  • Advocacy

2022 State Government Affairs Conference Recap

From January 26 - 28, over 130 Credit Union Activists met with state legislators, both in person and over Zoom, as part of The League’s annual State Government Affairs Conference. Over the course of three days, Activists discussed legislative priorities and highlighted The Credit Union Difference through People Before Profit stories.

Most notably, Activists advocated for an important credit union specific bill, AB 478 / SB 451, asking for support and clearing up misinformation on the bill shared by Wisconsin bankers.

Keynote Speakers

Over the lunch hour, keynote speaker, Brian Callanan a journalist from The Seattle Channel & Callanan Media Services, presented on how the political climate and partisan bias in media can make it difficult to make objective opinions on current world events. Callanan's example of how a campaign in Seattle to encourage fair redistricting further illustrated how grassroots can help to inform the broader public and inspire change.

In a previously recorded session, Director of Programs & Impact at the National Credit Union Foundation, Chad Helminak, encouraged credit unions to be deliberate and holistic in how they approach financial wellbeing, not solely treat it as a product or service initiative.

Executive Vice President and Chief Advocacy Officer at the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), Ryan Donavan, updated attendees on legislative priorities in Washington, D.C. and credit unions' successful nationwide advocacy efforts last year. Of note, credit unions sent over 148,000 grassroots messages to Congress opposing additional IRS reporting provisions – which were ultimately removed from consideration. Additionally, in deliberations over how to pay for multiple spending bills, Congress never considered changes to credit unions’ tax status.

Both presentations were shared with attendees on the State GAC app.  If you’re interested in learning more about either presentation, please contact Tom Harrington

Legislative Meetings 

During both in person and Zoom meetings, Activists shared the 2021 Scorecard, highlighting:  

  • People Before Profit stories from each legislative district
  • A video featuring:
    - Services crafted to meet the needs of members that don’t fit in the standard lending ‘box.’ 
    - A 9 month interest-only loan program, saving members up to $1000 a month.
    - Reduce overdraft fees to help members build future financial wellbeing.
  • Data points on WI's credit unions having saved members $431.6 million in 2021 through better rates, fewer fees, and bonus dividends while donating $13.8 million to local charities, community projects and civic groups

In many meetings, legislators or staff shared experiences and appreciation for how credit unions either helped them personally, their constituents, or their community.

Advocating for Credit Unions’ State Statute Modernization Bill – AB 478 / SB 451

Activists shared one legislative priority with legislators this year - support for AB 478 / SB 451, to modernize and clarify the credit union state statutes. Days ahead of the State GAC, Wisconsin banks used their lobby day to oppose the bill, suggesting it would, “provide credit unions with even more tools to grow beyond the intention of their original chartered mission.” 

Activists’ participation during the State GAC was critical to rebuke misinformation and confirm the true, positive impact of the bill. Everything in the bill relates to current practice or activity already permissible for some credit unions. 

Read more about what the bill will & will not do >>

Add Your Advocacy!
As The League continues to meet with legislators, bolster the message about this important credit union bill by using the Grassroots Action Center to send a pre-written, editable email to your legislator, reminding them of the bill’s importance to The Movement.

AB 478 / SB 451 Grassroots Message >> 

Thanks to YOU – State GAC Was a Success! 

The success of the 2022 State Government Affairs Conference relied heavily upon Activists’ efforts to leave a positive impression on legislative offices. 

You helped make a lasting impression on Wisconsin state legislators, bolstered knowledge and support for AB 478 / SB 451, and strengthened our advocacy for the remainder of the legislative session! Thank you for your participation!

... But, Our Work is Not Done Yet!

If you missed the conference, or want to continue your advocacy and strengthen credit unions’ influence – the next few weeks, the final weeks of the legislative session, are crucial.  Don’t wait! 

  • Go to the Grassroots Action Center to send a pre-written, editable email on AB 478 / SB 451 to your legislators.

  • Contact The League if you’d like additional information to share with your legislators on AB 478 / SB 451.

  • Consider contributing to WCULAF or your personal Members’ Conduit Account using the directions on the Political Advocacy Accounts page.

  • Share to build awareness of the impact of the Movement in 2021 and value of The Credit Union Difference. 

  • Keep an eye out for the date of next year's 2023 State GAC.

About The Author

Tom Harrington is the Political & Grassroots Specialist for The Wisconsin Credit Union League.