Legislative Update with Jay Kruse
by Jay Kruse
Chief Advocacy Officer
10/1/2019

Good Morning,

 

If you have kept an eye on The Memo over the last few days, you have heard about the important passage of the SAFE Banking Act through the U.S. House late last week. The timing of the vote couldn’t have been more ideal, taking place just a week after our CUAD fall Hike-the-Hill in Washington. While our advocacy team was in DC, we were able to spend some time with each member of the Dakotas’ Congressional delegation, detailing the importance of this necessary legislation.

 

As I stated last Friday in our press release, this is not about taking a position or a stance on cannabis. It is about public safety and helping combat money laundering and criminal activity by helping move cash off the streets and into the U.S. banking system. Credit unions and other financial institutions serve as the front line against laundering and illegal activities as required by the Bank Secrecy Act.

 

While the passage of the SAFE Banking Act through the House is a major victory for bill supporters, the Senate will serve as a much larger hurdle on the way to the President’s desk. There was bipartisan support for the legislation in the House with Congressman Kelly Armstrong (R-ND) signing on as a co-sponsor and supporting with his vote. Senator Kevin Cramer (R-SD) is also a co-sponsor of the Senate version of the bill. There is belief that the votes needed for passage may exist in the Senate, but there are questions as to when or if the Senate Banking Committee will consider the legislation.

 

There is hope the legislation will be taken up in the Senate committee before the end of the year, but I wouldn’t expect the Senate to vote on a complete bill in the near future. There is some optimism due to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s support of the hemp industry in his home state of Kentucky. In the end, it is a fact that different forms of cannabis have been and continue to become legal in many states, and we cannot bury our heads in the sand and ignore the issue by blocking legitimate businesses from accessing vital financial services.

 

Calling all Dakota credits unions to participate in Regulation Burden Study.

 

As CEO Jeff Olson mentioned in his President’s Perspective yesterday, we're calling on all Dakota CEOs to contribute to CUNA's Regulatory Burden Study. Be on the lookout for a follow-up email from Jeff this week on an enormously important tool we use to communicate just how difficult it is for our movement to comply with our regulatory burden. We need and are asking for your help, and want to see high participation from Dakota credit unions in the survey so that we have the strongest advocacy message possible. Please, take 30 minutes of your time and share your insights. The deadline has been extended to October 7.

 

If you have questions, concerns, or feedback regarding these or any other advocacy issues, please do not hesitate to contact me. Have a great week!

 

 

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