Trade Show TalesBlog

ECA Legislative Action Day

May 31st, 2024 COMMENTS

Gina Porcaro Reports:

ECA Legislative Action Day on May 30 did not disappoint! I must commend the Exhibitions & Conferences Alliance (ECA) team for their flawless execution of this day on The Hill. We couldn’t have done this without you!

The Michigan team met with staffers for Representative John Moolenaar, Representative Debbie Dingell, and Senator Gary Peters. There were two specific asks . . .

Improve Visa Processing times to enable international business travel to the US specifically for previously vetted and low-risk nonimmigrant applicants. To be clear, this is not an immigration issue we’re talking about. It’s about bringing buyers into the US for tradeshows and events for commerce. Everyone we met with was shocked by the Visa wait times. As an example, if you are trying to get a work Visa in Mexico City the wait time is a staggering 849 DAYS! Crazy, right?

The second ask was related to Future Workforce Development – while higher education is important, not everyone is on the path to a 4-year degree and not every position requires this either. Also, for every three people entering our industry five are exiting, which is kind of scary. We asked for bi-partisan support of The Pell Grant Eligibility Expansion & Program Expense Eligibility Expansion. Basically if both of these pieces of legislation are passed, it would enable us to use the Pell Grant money and your 529 savings for job training, certifications, trade schools, and licenses.

At the end of the day, we felt that our requests were heard and considered. And that they would work to implement them. It was pretty amazing!

Katina Rigall Zipay Reports:

I was part of the Oregon Delegation which met with the staff of Senator Ron Wyden, Senator Jeff Merkley, and Representative Lori Chavez-DeRemer.

Jim Wurm from Exhibitor-Appointed Contractor Association (EACA) was my fellow Oregon Delegate. Senator Wyden’s office had the PDX airport carpet so of course Jim and I had to do the foot selfie. 😉

The asks for all 50 states were the same as what Gina described, and all my meetings were productive as well. The staff was engaging and interested in what we had to say. They were mostly unfamiliar with the trade show and event industry when we started talking, but very sharp and quick to pick up on the significance of our economic contributions. Both at a business level and in providing good job opportunities for individuals.

For more information about the LAC Meeting Outline and Talking Points, contact Gina Porcaro or Katina Rigall Zipay. For details about the bills and some quick industry stats, please see the two graphics below.

ECA Michigan Overview
ECA Oregon Overview


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