This year, ASAE awarded six Gold Power of A Awards in the category of The Power of Advocacy. The following associations were recognized for advocating in one of the following areas: promoting civil discourse and collaboration between government and the private sector; mobilizing members and volunteers in grassroots advocacy with demonstrable results; organizing coalitions to address a shared federal, state or local legislative or regulatory issue; and enhancing an industry or profession’s reputation as a trusted resource for effective policymaking.

National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) – Operation Dry Water

Operation Dry Water is a year-round boating under the influence awareness and enforcement campaign with the mission of reducing the number of alcohol-related incidents and fatalities through increased recreational boater awareness and by fostering a stronger and more visible deterrent to alcohol use on the water. The program was launched in 2009 by NASBLA in partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard. Operation Dry Water coordinates thousands of local, state and federal marine law enforcement officers on the water during the Fourth of July with the mission of spreading awareness about the dangers of BUI and increasing boating under the influence enforcement before and during a holiday known for drinking, boating, and fatal accidents.

School Employees Benefits Board (SEBB)

Education Support Professionals are involved in nearly every aspect of education, including maintaining buildings and grounds, preparing and serving meals, keeping school facilities clean and orderly, assisting in the classroom, providing information technology and media services, administrative support functions, safe transportation, and many other specialized services. A school quite simply cannot run without the work of these professionals. Thanks to the advocacy and lobbying efforts of SEBB’s members, the Legislature finally passed EHB 2242, providing health care and other benefits to ESPs across the state, beginning this year.

National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) – Hours of Service/Electronic Logging Device Exemption

NWRA petitioned and its members weighed in with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) on behalf of the waste and recycling industry for an exemption from the 12-hour daily on-duty Hours of Service limit for their truck drivers. NWRA asked that the time limit for the industry’s collection drivers to return to their work reporting locations be increased to 14 hours. The 12-hour limit was estimated to have cost the waste and recycling industry $116.7 million over 2 years, not including fines levied on drivers and carriers for exceeding the daily driving limit due to ELD technology not being able to accurately record all the on-duty, but non-driving tasks drivers perform each day. FMCSA announced November 20, 2019, that it would grant the exemption “only to drivers for companies that are members of NWRA.” This marks only the third industry ever to be awarded a year-round exemption and is the only one where the exemption is limited to just an association’s members.

Scenic America

There are 150 National Scenic Byways and over 1,200 state scenic byways across the country. Officially designated scenic byways bring tremendous economic benefits to their geographic areas. For example, The Blue Ridge Parkway (a National Scenic Byway) attracted 14,700 visitors in 2018, which generated $1.1 billion in economic activity and supported 15,900 jobs. However, the National Scenic Byways Program had been dormant for a decade. No new National Scenic Byways had been designated for 10 years. Scenic America prioritized passing legislation to reopen the National Scenic Byways Program and restoring funding to the program. We worked with Congressional champions to develop a bipartisan, bicameral approach to getting this program reopened through congressional action and engaged over, 1,000 volunteers to advocate on behalf of our nation’s beauty and economic well-being. As a result, Scenic America conceived and authored H.R. 831, the “Reviving America’s Scenic Byways Act”, which reopens nominations to the National Scenic Byways Program. The legislation was filed in March 2018, passed the House of Representatives 404-19 in February 2019, and passed the Senate unanimously in September 2019. On September 22, 2019, the Act was signed into law by President Trump. In this time of division and gridlock on Capitol Hill, Scenic America united both parties to pass proactive, pro-environment legislation.

Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) – Ensuring a SECURE Retirement for All Americans

IRI played a leading role in advocating for the enactment of a comprehensive bill – the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act – to address the growing challenges and crisis America faces when it comes to retirement savings. The SECURE Act was the first major comprehensive retirement security bill taken up by Congress in over 14 years. The measures included in the new law will add much needed tools to help our nation address the retirement savings challenges Americans face today. It will open new opportunities for Americans to save more so that they can enjoy their retirement years financially secure and without the fear of outliving the retirement savings they have accumulated. The bill also expands opportunities for employers to offer retirement plans, reduce barriers to lifetime income options, authorize the use of Pooled Employer Plans, increase opportunities to enable greater savings, and provide innovative educational information.

American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) – Passage of the SECURE Act (SUMMIT AWARD WINNER)

Passage of legislation to modernize and improve America’s retirement system has been a goal of the life insurance industry for the past three Congresses. Each time, ACLI brought bipartisan retirement legislation within a few yards of the goal line. But in 2019, ACLI’s forward leaning, integrated strategy resulted in a major win for retirement savers and the country. ACLI built a diverse coalition representing businesses, non-profits, churches, firefighters, military groups, and the financial industry. ACLI and its partners recognized that changes in federal law were needed to make it viable for small business owners to offer retirement plans to their workers, helping to close the savings gap that exists nationwide, particularly for part-time workers without workplace retirement plans.

Association Spotlight, brought to you by ASAE and The Power of A, was created to showcase how associations strengthen America and world. The next Power of A Awards entry period begins January 2021.