This year the Government & Legal Affairs Committee meetings with members of Congress coincided with the Fall Management Conference. Being held in Washington, DC made the work of the Committee easier. Proximity to the Capitol was an asset.
Regardless of how close the Conference was to the Capitol for those pounding the halls the miles added up. It is a walking marathon. The office buildings for the House and Senate are huge. Though everything may look close the reality is painful on feet.
Members of the Committee visited with at least 19 elected officials. It is gratifying to see the respect extended to the ICCFA and the Committee. Members of both Houses are interested in the issues brought to their attention. Unfortunately some issues resulted from criminal activities by members of our profession that may demand responses by Congress begging the question of what the ICCFA is doing to prevent additional occurrences in the future.
Congressman Rush of Illinois whose district includes Burr Oaks has proposed legislation that would have the FTC impose rules and sanctions on a federal level. Members of both Houses learned from the Committee that State laws address the issues and that the Association supports good business practices. As Counsel to the Association Bob Fells pointed out the Rush legislation does not address the criminal acts committed by Burr Oaks and would pose a threat to small underfunded cemeteries. Bob received receptive attention by members of both Houses.
The Association supported HR 1273 introduced by Congresswoman Shelly Berkley of Nevada last year and this year sought co-sponsors by members of both Houses. The Association is fortunate in having members like Larry Anspach who is friendly with Representative Berkley, Senators John Barrasso of Wyoming and Sen. Burris of Illinois. Some of us as a result shared the unique privilege of being hosted by the two Senators in the Gallery of the Senate reserved for friends and families of members. Thanks to Sam Saxton the Committee joined Rep. Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania at the Capitol Hill Club for lunch.
Chairman Irwin Shipper is a resource that continues to earn respect from members of the Association, the Committee and is well known throughout Congress. The Committee whose members are a diverse geographical and political mix deserves the thanks of all for their tireless devotion insuring that elected officials know and respect the values and opinions of the ICCFA earning the Association a voice in Congress.