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NABL Goes to Washington

A recap of the Board of Director’s advocacy meetings in Washington, D.C. on May 17 – 19.

Members of the 2023 NABL Board of Directors on the east steps of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. on May 18, 2023.
Members of the 2023 NABL Board of Directors on the east steps of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. on May 18, 2023.

The NABL Board of Directors met in Washington, D.C. last week for regular business discussions and a series of advocacy visits to regulators and Hill offices. Members of the Board met with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC’s) Office of Municipal Securities (OMS), the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB), staff from congressional tax committees, and several industry partners. We brought copies of the 2023 Advocacy Primer and our new Bond Basics with us along the journey.

Advocacy by the Numbers

6Meetings held

16Stakeholders engaged

20,649Steps Walked

The Financial Data Transparency Act (FDTA) rose as a leading topic of discussion among regulators, particularly, the question of what role bond counsel and disclosure counsel will play in its implementation and, eventually, compliance. Although the rulemaking process will take about four years, it is never too early to engage and share thoughts and concerns. The earlier we engage as a community, the more of an impact we will have. Members also discussed the future of the Electronic Municipal Market Access (EMMA) platform and a host of other agenda items before the MSRB and OMS.

On Capitol Hill, both sides of the aisle agreed: education on the importance of municipal bonds to Congress is critical. Staff representing both parties reiterated the constant churn of new faces in Congress and praised the continual education work of NABL and other municipal market groups. While the tax-exemption on municipal bonds faces little risk this Congress, we must remember that political winds tend to change on a dime. Advocating for municipal bonds remains a full-time endeavor.

Board members also advocated for other priorities, including the restoration of tax-exempt advance refunding bonds, modernizing the small borrower exemption (or bank qualified debt), and addressing the constraints of existing volume cap levels on certain qualified private activity bonds (PABs).

We wrapped up the week with a partners’ roundtable where we heard from the Bond Dealers of America (BDA), National Association of Counties (NACo), and the National Association of State Treasurers (NAST). These dialogues with our issuer and broker/dealer group partners strengthen our efforts and help us better understand the issues on which we can speak as one.

Want to Get Engaged in NABL Advocacy?

Taking action in support of municipal bond priorities is easier than ever. Our all-new Grassroots Advocacy Center allows NABL members to act with just a few clicks. You can send a letter to your members of Congress on a specific issue campaign, such as restoration of tax-exempt advance refunding bonds; report back on a meeting you had with a member of Congress or regulator; or share a relationship to strengthen our network of municipal champions.