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Taking the hill.

Participants in ASAE's Legislative Summit and American Associations Day hone their legislative acumen and advocate for associations.

When on one day in June more than 300 association executives from 40 states took a trip to the halls of Congress, they went with information in hand and a mission in mind. Fresh data - courtesy of a recent ASAE Foundation study - helped fuel their efforts to provide their legislators a better basis for weighing, as part of the public policy process, associations' significant contributions to our culture, economy, and quality of life.

In all, association advocates conducted more than 150 visits with members of Congress on June 11, American Associations Day. Association executives spoke of 8,000 surveyed associations together employing more than 250,000 people. and annually paying $1 billion in taxes, contributing more than 173 million volunteer hours, and spending more than $10 billion on education and training - all key findings of the foundation study left with congressional offices.

Equally important, American Associations Day participants discussed with their legislators two current and critically important issues: 1) repeal of the state lobby tax on association members and 2) concerns about association liability.

Appropriately, the coordinated congressional visits were an extension of ASAE's education-packed 17th Annual Legislative Summit, June 10-11, which blended into American Associations Day activities. Among the highlights:

* Charlie Cook, editor of the Cook Political Report, kicked off the two-day Legislative Summit with both his wit and his insights into the upcoming House, Senate, and presidential elections.

* Participants took advantage of their choice among 15 educational sessions on topics such as coalition building, grass-roots technology, and managing state government relations programs.

* General Colin L. Powell, USA (Ret.), speaking at the close of the summit and just prior to the commencement of American Associations Day activities, discussed the role that associations can and are playing in efforts to rejuvenate the volunteer spirit in America, and he elicited more commitments to helping America's youth (see related story, "Get by Giving").

* Participants joined more than 60 members of Congress and their staffs on Capitol Hill for a luncheon to kick off American Associations Day, which culminated with the congressional visits.

Not incidentally, the grass-roots army of association executives who serve on ASAE's State Action Legislative Team were instrumental in organizing state delegations to visit their members of Congress on American Associations Day. Moreover, a record 150 SALT members received scholarships through ASAE's Association Alliance, which provided free registration and airline tickets to attend the Legislative Summit and American Associations Day activities.

The investment of time and money reflects the importance of association public policy efforts. As ASAE Chairman David N. Parker, CAE, president of the American Gas Association, Arlington, Virginia, puts it: "American Associations Day is a coordinated effort to link our public policy issues with Congress. The association community includes many stakeholders, and Congress needs to weigh the long-term economic and social consequences of any action that impacts association management."

Thomas M. Costa is government affairs/legal coordinator for ASAE.
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Title Annotation:American Society of Association Executives' Legislative Summit and American Associations Day
Author:Costa, Thomas M.
Publication:Association Management
Date:Aug 1, 1998
Words:498
Previous Article:Taking the for-profit road.
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