NLA President Gary Buffo and Executive Director Philip Jagiela hosted the first President’s Summit Wednesday during the association’s annual Washington, D.C. Day on the Hill event.
WASHINGTON, D.C.—National Limousine Association (NLA) members from across the country gathered here this week holding meetings with Capitol Hill legislators discussing key issues and concerns effecting the limousine industry on local, state and national levels.
The Day On The Hill event also included the NLA Board of Directors meetings, and educational sessions that covered industry issues such as the use of electronic on board recorders, overtime issues, and updates on highway legislation. “I had three positive meetings for my Day on the Hill, two out of the three staffers remembered me from last year … We are all asking for the same reasonable requests from our legislators,” said NLA Board of Directors member, Mary Harrell-Paul (Crown Chauffeured Transportation, Des Plains, ILL). “What I have experienced from attending the last three years is that the event has strengthened relationships among NLA members who attend. It’s always a learning experience.”
Before their meetings with legislators and their staffs, operators were briefed by the NLA’s government relations and lobbying firm, Cornerstone Government Affairs. Representatives from Cornerstone updated operators on pertinent regulatory issues and legislation affecting the industry, as well as offering advice and strategies for various Congressional face-to-face meetings on Capitol Hill.
New this year was Wednesday’s President’s Summit, hosted by NLA President Gary Buffo and Association Executive Director Philip Jagiela. Held as an open forum, operators shared information on both regional and national industry issues of mutual interest and concern. As expected, the proliferation of transportation network companies (TNCs) was the main topic of conversation. In fact, Buffo told operators that following the NLA’s Monday board meeting, the association will soon release its position on TNCs, as the NLA so far has remained neutral while it has gathered information and feedback on the rapid growth of TNCs throughout the country.
Regarding TNCs, many NLA association operators in attendance said they have hired lobbyists to fight TNCs as well as serve their interest in other legislative initiatives, such as repealing sales taxes targeting the limousine industry.
Gina Brennan (Corporate Car & Coach), and president of the Minnesota Chauffeured Transportation Association (MCTA), told members that the MCTA scored a victory in April — after a 10-year figh t— when Gov. Mark Dayton signed an updated “limo bill” into law. Brennan said that a decade of inaction prompted the MCTA to hire a lobbyist who helped move the legislation in less than a year.
-- Tom Halligan, LCT East Coast editor