TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (3/28/13)--Nearly 40 credit union officials at the Florida State Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC) in Tallahassee last week heard from state officials who support their quest for public funds deposits and learned the value of credit union advocacy efforts.
| Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater drew applause when he told credit unions attending the Florida State Governmental Affairs Conference that he supports credit unions getting public funds deposits. The event was sponsored by the League of Southeastern Credit Unions. (Photo provided by the League of Southeastern Credit Unions)|
Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater drew applause when he told credit unions that he supports their being able to accept public deposits, said the League of Southeastern Credit Unions. During a question and answer period, he reiterated that credit unions were safe and sound, and any financial institution that was safe and sound and had deposit insurance should be able to accept public deposits.
The No. 1 legislative priority for Florida's credit unions is to pass Senate Bill 918 and House Bill 251, which would allow credit unions to receive deposits from public entities.
During a reception attended by 27 legislators, State Rep. Kevin Rader (D-Delray Beach), who opposed the public deposits bill, spent time with Mack MacVicar, a director with City County CU of Fort Lauderdale. By the end of their visit, Rader told LSCU he may be coming around to the public deposits issues. "This is a great example of how credit unions can make a difference during advocacy events," the league said.
During credit unions' visits to legislators' offices, many lawmakers said they support the public deposits issue and what credit unions do for their members. Sen. Rene Garcia (R-Hialeah), sponsor of S.B. 918, told credit unions he supports credit unions in the long run.
Other speakers included:
- Darrick McGhee, legislative director for the governor's office, who outlined the governor's agenda, said the state will have a surplus this year, and noted the governor has given the Affordable Care Act to the legislature to determine what is best for the state.
- Ryan Donovan, senior vice president of legislative affairs, the Credit Union National Association, who updated credit unions about federal issues and behind-the-scenes efforts by CUNA to get credit union legislation before legislators. He noted the 112th Congress passed fewer bills than the "do nothing" Congress of the 1940s did.
- Marian Johnson, senior vice president of political strategy, the Florida Chamber of Commerce, who advised that grassroots advocacy is a 52-week-a-year job that must be ongoing at all times.
- Bruce Ricca and Robert Hayes of the Florida Office of Financial Regulation and Robert Parrish from the National Credit Union Administration.
Rep. Jason Brodeur (R-Sanford)--who sponsored public deposits legislation last year in the House and was the first representative to co-sponsor public deposits legislation in 2013--was presented the LSCU Lawmaker of the Year Award.