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John Graham on ASAE’s 2017 Advocacy Efforts

John Graham Toronto 2017

When ASAE President and CEO John Graham IV, FASAE, CAE, took to the stage Saturday to greet Annual Meeting attendees, he dived right in with a strong message that the association is fighting for diversity, equality and openness. Those remarks earned him applause from the audience.

In a presentation to the media on Monday, Graham reiterated those comments and explained further what ASAE is doing in terms of advocacy initiatives at the national and state level. Below are some of his comments on those issues.

On the Overtime Rule

John Graham, ASAE

John Graham, FASAR, CAE, ASAE: The Center for Association Leadership

“We do believe [the salary threshold under which all workers are guaranteed overtime if they work over 40 hours] should be increased. The last time it was set was 2004 at $23,000. Adjusted for inflation that gets you somewhere between $31,000 and $33,000. We also believe that instead of adjusting it every 10 years or more than that, that it should be adjusted every three years automatically for inflation. It should also be indexed for location.”

On Tax Reform

“Since [the border adjustment tax] is basically off the table, our big concern right now with tax policy, which as you well know once Congress comes back in September is front and center for the administration and Congress, is that they’ll be looking for other areas to generate revenue and one of those areas is the tax-exempt community. Issues around that for us are taxation on sponsorships, affinity and royalty programs or trade shows, as well as investment income and other sources of income that associations and non-profits enjoy that could be under threat.”

On Travel Issues

“We want to do whatever we can so that people feel as welcome in the United States as they do in Canada and many other countries around the world. We’ve worked with a number of organizations to block this travel ban. We got some help from some local courts, but not the Supreme Court. Because with these bans, whether they’re in effect or just talked about, it can create a chilling effect.”

On State-Level Discriminatory Legislation

“This year, ASAE devoted considerable time and resources to combat controversial anti-LGBTQ legislation in Texas. Version of the so-called bathroom bill drew widespread opposition from the business community and hospitality industry. We opposed several version of this bill that would pre-empt existing anti-discrimination ordinances in cities like Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth and San Antonio that protect the community. We remain vigilant until the Texas special session expires on August 18 – this Friday. We have our fingers crossed that the bill won’t see the light of day and that Texas will remain the open and welcoming state it is today.”

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