The Latest in CU Advocacy: Congress, California & Nevada

Pillars on building steps

This week, the House Financial Services Committee advanced H.R. 2311, the Credit Union Governance Modernization Act of 2021. This overdue charter measure allows credit union boards the authority to expel a member who commits harm against the cooperative.

The bill was quickly heard and passed by voice vote, further cementing the bipartisan effort credit unions bring to Congress. Members from both sides of the aisle spoke favorably on the measure and of the importance of credit unions as their community lenders. The bill now moves to the full House for consideration.

The California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues appreciate the leadership of the authors, Reps. Tom Emmer (R-MN) and Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), for leading the effort on this important bill. Credit union advocates pushed for this bill during the virtual Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC) back in February.

Congresswoman Speier Announces Retirement
In other news, South San Francisco Bay Area Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) announced her plans to retire from Congress at the end of this session. Speier has been an ardent credit union advocate and a major asset to advocacy efforts.

While supporting charter pieces and helping address member business lending issues, Speier was the leader on defending credit unions as the ranking member and now chairwoman of the House Armed Services Committee's Subcommittee on Military Personnel. She has ensured that military service personnel have access to credit unions on bases around the world, and that banks do not have the same privileges credit unions receive.

She has been a longtime champion of data and privacy security issues, which do not always align with credit union views. However, she has always had an open door and worked with the Leagues and credit unions to find solutions that work for the public. This has been consistent throughout her career both in the California Legislature and in Congress.

The Leagues greatly appreciate Congresswoman Speier for her efforts and recognize her as a model leader for credit unions.

Updates from Washington, D.C and Sacramento
Although credit unions recently defeated the IRS reporting requirement proposal, a handful of lawmakers are discussing revising it in a very limited capacity that targets different incomes. Details are still emerging. The Leagues doubt there is any consensus among legislators but are still monitoring the situation and will keep credit union CEOs posted.

Although this is the first year in a long time that credit unions don’t have to defend their rent-free access on military bases, there are other issues (such as language allowing for remote notarization) within the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The Leagues are working to make sure this congressional bill language remains in the NDAA so it won’t impede California-state remote notary bill language currently being worked on. Additionally, the Leagues are making sure an important cannabis banking provision stays in the NDAA.

In California, the Leagues are monitoring and aiding in bill language being crafted to allow for remote notarization in the state.

Federal Vaccine Mandate
With the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) suspending enforcement of an emergency order on COVID-19 vaccinations for private-sector companies with more than 100 employees due to court challenges, credit unions do not need to be concerned about this issue for the time being.

However, credit unions across California and Nevada are discussing how to handle the mandate leading up to this past week, as well as periodic testing for unvaccinated employees going into 2022 and various vendors offering test kits.

IRS Employee Retention Credit (ERC)
Credit unions may be eligible to claim the ERC, a fully refundable tax credit created under the CARES Act. This credit could equal up to $7,000 per employee, per quarter for 2021. Read our latest story here.

Also, America’s Christian Credit Union CEO Vicki VannBerstein has shared how Synergi Partners can provide a complimentary analysis to determine the amount of tax credits a credit union may be eligible to receive.

NV Governor Signs Redistricting Bill
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak has signed Senate Bill 1, the redistricting bill on near-party lines. The bill passed the Nevada Senate on party lines and passed the Assembly, with all Republicans voting "no" and Assemblymember Edgar Flores (D-Las Vegas) voting "no" as well.

The new maps are expected to make it easier for Democrats to gain a super-majority in both legislative houses. Analysis shows the new maps should yield Democrats 15 of the 21 senate seats and 29 of the 42 assembly seats.

Analysis also shows only eight legislative seats, three in the senate and five in the assembly, will be considered competitive.

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