ST. PAUL, Minn. (1/12/12)--Two leaders in the Minnesota state Senate provided an insider's preview into the upcoming legislative session during a Twin Cities credit union chapter meeting Tuesday.
Minnesota state Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem (R-Rochester), second from left, provided attendees at a Twin Cities credit union chapter meeting Tuesday a preview of the upcoming legislative session. (Photo provided by the Minnesota Credit Union Network)
Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem (R-Rochester) and Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Chris Gerlach (R-Apple Valley) discussed the challenges and opportunities that will face legislators during the 2012 session, said the Minnesota Credit Union Network (MnCUN).
Senjem said he is uncertain about what this year's legislative session will hold for lawmakers and the state as a whole. However, he proclaimed that the legislature will preserve credit unions' tax-exempt status.
A longtime credit union friend, Senjem has served as a volunteer and board member of Rochester-based Mayo Employees FCU for 23 years. Since his election in 2002 to the Minnesota Senate, he has openly supported and fought for credit unions and the legislation important to them, said MnCUN. Over the years, he repeatedly has declared his commitment to protecting credit unions' tax-exempt status and the ability to meet members' needs, MnCUN added.
Gerlach provided an overview of the Senate Commerce Committee's operations and processes. The committee examines most of the bills impacting credit unions, and the overview strengthened credit unions' understanding of how they can impact the legislative process, said MnCUN.
"It is through long-standing relationships with legislators like Sen. Senjem and Sen. Gerlach that Minnesota credit unions are able to maintain our strong presence at the State Capitol," said Mara Humphrey, MnCUN vice president-governmental affairs. "Our dedication to building and maintaining relationships with elected officials both during the session and in the interim demonstrates our strong grassroots network and strengthens our ability to impact the legislative process," she added.
The politically focused chapter meeting was part of Minnesota's ongoing initiative to develop and maintain strong relationships with federal and state elected officials.
On Jan. 5, credit union representatives also met with U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) at Richfield Blooming CU, Bloomington. During that meeting, credit unions stressed the importance of passing legislation that would raise the member business lending (MBL) cap to 27.5% of assets from 12.25%. They also focused on the increasing regulatory burdens facing credit unions and how they impact operations.
One of the Credit Union National Association's (CUNA) priorities is to work with leagues to highlight their work in advocating for, promoting and defending credit unions at the state level. On a national level, CUNA and state leagues are urging Congress to raise the MBL cap, which would inject $13 billion in loans to small businesses and help create 140,000 new jobs, without costing the taxpayer.