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PFA Legislative Luncheon demonstrates the potential of state fraternal groups…

May 6, 2019

The Pennsylvania Fraternal Alliance (PFA) held its annual “Legislative Luncheon” on April 30 and, as usual, it was a smashing success.  More than 40 executives, primarily from Pennsylvania-domiciled fraternals, hosted lunch for over 70 state legislators in the Capitol rotunda in Harrisburg.  This informal gathering gives PFA members the opportunity to remind long-time lawmakers about the irreplaceable contributions fraternals make to communities in every corner of the state, and to introduce new legislators to the thriving fraternal community in Pennsylvania.

This year the event took on even more significance as it provided a perfect chance to generate support for the Alliance’s enhanced solvency legislation (HB 1016) making its way through the legislature.  The Alliance’s local counsel, Matt Steck and Ken Rapp of Greenlee Partners, scheduled meetings between PFA leaders and key members of the House to encourage their “aye” vote on the measure when it comes up – which could happen as early as mid-May.

I sat in on a few of those meetings and can attest to the fact that these fraternal executives hit it out of the park.  The Alliance’s solvency legislation, like the one enacted in Minnesota last year and bills under consideration in Wisconsin and Texas this year, is a common sense approach to fraternal solvency oversight that protects consumers while allowing societies to fulfill their unique financial and community service missions.  In addition to strong support from the Alliance and the PFA, the bill is backed by the Department of Insurance and the commercial insurance trade groups.  It has no opposition and no impact on the state’s budget.  All of which combine to give the bill an excellent chance at enactment in the current session.

In looking at the success of PFA’s “Legislative Luncheon,” there are three things that come to mind that made this year’s event even more valuable than previous ones:

  • The large number of Alliance member societies domiciled in Pennsylvania – We have a well-established presence and a well-deserved reputation for integrity among policymakers in the legislature and insurance department, thanks to a long-time commitment to telling our story.
  • A sense of purpose – There is no question that generating support for the enactment of HB 1016 gave this year’s event a much clearer sense of purpose.  We had a mission, and we carried it out.
  • Theresa Kluchinski – In addition to her day job as the CEO of the Ladies Pennsylvania Slovak Catholic Union in Wilkes-Barre, PA, Theresa also serves as the de facto Executive Director of the PFA.  The PFA provides her a small stipend to handle these duties, but I can tell you that no matter how much it is, it isn’t enough for the results she produces.  Having one person responsible for PFA operations makes it possible for the organization to get things done.  Other State Fraternal Alliances (SFA) rely entirely on volunteers, and those people often change from year-to-year.  This inconsistency in volunteer leadership doesn’t lend itself to producing events like the “Legislative Luncheon” which benefit all the members of the fraternal community.  Might other SFAs follow the same model???

Below you can view a handful of pictures from this fantastic event – thank you to everyone who participated!

PFA Legislative Luncheon Photo 1

PFA Legislative Luncheon Photo 2

PFA Legislative Luncheon Photo 3

PFA Legislative Luncheon Photo 4

PFA Legislative Luncheon Photo 5