A Look Back on Louisiana's Advocacy Accomplishments in 2017...

As LCUL's Governmental Affairs team closes the books for 2017, we are already positioning ourselves for a successful year ahead.  It's no secret that this past year brought many changes within our organization, but one thing that stayed constant was our commitment to servicing our credit unions, particularly in the advocacy arena. We pride ourselves on the continuous research, lobbying, and open communication with our partners like Adams and Reese, LLC as well as members of our delegation.  
Working diligently with CUNA year-round, what we do at the local level contributes to the progress made on a national level. And while this past year produced a number of political victories for credit unions everywhere, it's important to highlight some of the accomplishments made here in Louisiana.
CUNA GAC Hill Visits
More than eighty attendees from Louisiana made the trek to Washington, D.C. this past February to visit with nearly every Congressional Representative from our state. This was a vital part of LCUL's advocacy strategy due to the number of new faces in Louisiana's delegation. 

These meetings set a strong foundation for new relationships, allowing LCUL to build on this momentum throughout 2017. 
Federal Tax Status Preserved
Comprehensive tax reform legislation put the credit union tax status in jeopardy, but our tireless advocacy kept it out of the House and Senate bills. CUNA and LCUL were engaged heavily in this process, holding several meetings with administration officials and continuous engagement with tax writers.

What would be considered a national win could not have been possible without the lobbying efforts of Leagues and credit unions.

Senator John Kennedy Advocating for CUs at the National Level
After giving LCUL the opportunity to share the credit union difference, Senator John Kennedy has stepped on a national platform and stressed the need for a reduction or elimination of Dodd-Frank for smaller financial institutions. Senator Kennedy has echoed concerns that have been continually discussed with each visit, phone call, and email. He has introduced legislation that not only benefits credit unions, but brings awareness to the reasons we exist.

Because of our lobbying efforts, Louisiana credit unions have earned the respect of the freshman Senator and we are confident that these lines of communications will remain intact.

Sponsored: Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act
Introduced: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Accountability Act of 2017
CULAC National Award
Louisiana was the recipient of yet another national CULAC award this past year, the Vanguard Award for raising the highest percentage of our goal. It's no secret that Louisiana has found success when it comes to PAC fundraising. While the recognition is rewarding and deserving, what many may not know is that this allows Louisiana a seat at the table.

Because of our CULAC success, we are awarded a voice when it comes to determining what credit unions need and the political direction the national association should take.  
Louisiana CULAC Supported Candidate Wins Special Elections
Former state Representative and now Senator, Ed Price won a special run-off election to fill the state senate seat vacated by former Sen. Troy Brown. Price has been an avid credit union supporter over the years, authoring and introducing a number of bills that have helped grow credit union movement across the state. Additionally, Price holds a position on the Board of Directors for Wymar FCU.  

When we talk about credit union-friendly candidates, we look to Senator Price as a prime example. His position will certainly play a favor for Louisiana credit unions on state level.
Looking Ahead to 2018...
Expect LCUL to go full speed ahead this next year. In the words of LCUL President/CEO Anne Cochran, "If we aren't there sharing our story, someone else is."  Over the years, Anne has been instrumental in forging strong partnerships with the best in the industry. Together, we will continue to capitalize on these relationships and aggressively advocate on your behalf, ensuring Louisiana credit unions are protected at all levels. 
State legislative priorities for 2018 are currently being reviewed by LCUL and Adams & Reese. With cybersecurity and fraudulent activity posing an even greater threat in 2018, LCUL is researching new legislation involving credit/debit card skimmers and the legal ramifications.

We will also continue to advocate for the Small Business Employee Training (SBET) Grant Program, a program many Louisiana credit unions utilize. This is currently not in jeopardy but LCUL stands ready to take an offensive approach. In the coming weeks, we will be compiling data from our credit unions should we have to lobby for the program when it comes up to a vote for funding in the next year.
A special thanks to Louisiana credit union advocates for working with us year-round. We encourage you to stay politically engaged and actively involved with your League so that we can keep the conversation going and do even greater things in 2018. 
  Angela Gervais                  Lacey H. Weaver
  Director of Govt. Affairs      VP, Communications & Public Relations