Legislative Action Day 2024: Let’s Tell Congress to Finish the Job

March 27, 2024

Tommy Goodwin

Tommy Goodwin is Vice President for the Exhibitions & Conferences Alliance (ECA), an association dedicated to the advancement of the business events industry. He leads ECA’s advocacy and member engagement work on behalf of the interconnected ecosystem of exhibitors, show and event organizers, suppliers, venues and destinations that comprise the global business events landscape.

Last June, nearly 100 business events industry leaders and advocates went to Capitol Hill to ask their members of Congress to do three important things: 

  • Encourage the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to finish its proposed anti-scammer rule
  • Advance legislation to help our industry train the next generation workforce
  • Introduce legislation to help bring down visa wait times.

So, what has happened since then?

In February, the FTC finalized its Government and Business Impersonation Rule, which takes effect on April 1 and will go after scammers who impersonate businesses in our industry. 

In December, the House Education & Workforce Committee advanced bipartisan legislation that would let federal PellGrants fund high-quality, short-term job training programs for the first time.

Last week, Congress approved $50 million to help with visa delays. In addition, three bills have been introduced in Congress to help further bring down visa wait times at U.S. embassies and consulates around the world. 

While this is great progress, more still needs to be done. That’s why it’s time for the industry to go back to Capitol Hill and tell Congress to finish the job.

On Thurs., May 30, the Exhibitions & Conferences Alliance (ECA) will hold its annual Legislative Action Day in Washington, DC. This one-of-a-kind opportunity brings industry leaders from across the country and around the world to meet with policymakers on Capitol Hill about the issues that matter to our industry. 

This year, we will ask Congress to take further action on our workforce and visa policy priorities so that they can be signed into law by the end of the year. 

On the workforce front, our industry needs help from Congress to expand the pool of Americans with the skills and training necessary to have great careers while growing the economy. 

How? Passing the previously mentioned Pell Grant bill, as well as additional legislation that would let Americans use their 529 savings plans to pay for workforce training and credentialing programs. 

With regard to visa delays, Congress should ensure that key aspects of ECA-supported visa bills are passed to help restore visa operations to pre-pandemic levels while modernizing the system. This will help our industry bring back all international exhibitors and attendees to conferences and trade shows in the United States while ensuring that such long delays never happen again. 

Despite the political gridlock in Washington, DC, I believe that the industry’s collective advocacy can help get these priorities passed and signed into law by the end of 2024.

While we are expecting a record crowd this year on Capitol Hill, we still need your voice to help us tell Congress to finish the job! Register here for free today.


Don’t miss any event-related news: Sign up for our weekly e-newsletter HERE, listen to our latest podcast HERE and engage with us on LinkedIn!

Add new comment

Partner Voices
Overview: The award-winning Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) goes the extra mile to make every day extraordinary by offering customer service excellence and industry-leading partnerships. From their dedicated in-house Rigging team to their robust Exhibitor Services, The Center of Hospitality brings your imagination to life by helping you host unforgettable meetings and events. With more than 2 million square feet of exhibit space, world-class services and a dream destination, we are committed to making even the most ambitious conventions a reality. In October 2023, the Orange County Board of County Commissioners voted to approve allocating Tourist Development Tax funding for the $560 million Phase 5A completion of the OCCC. The Convention Way Grand Concourse project will include enhancements to the North-South Building, featuring an additional 60,000 square feet of meeting space, an 80,000- square-foot ballroom and new entry to the North-South Building along Convention Way. “We are thrilled to begin work on completing our North-South Building which will allow us to meet the growing needs of our clients,” said OCCC Executive Director Mark Tester. “As an economic driver for the community, this project will provide the Center with connectivity and meeting space to host more events and continue to infuse the local economy with new money and expanding business opportunities.” Amenities: The Center of Hospitality goes above and beyond by offering world-class customer service and industry-leading partnerships. From the largest convention center Wi-Fi network to custom LAN/WAN design, the Center takes pride in enhancing exhibitor and customer experience.  The OCCC is the exclusive provider of electricity (24-hour power at no additional cost), aerial rigging and lighting, water, natural gas and propane, compressed air, and cable TV services. Convenience The Center is at the epicenter of the destination, with an abundance of hotels, restaurants, and attractions within walking distance. Pedestrian bridges connect both buildings to more than 5,200 rooms and is within a 15-minute drive from the Orlando International Airport. The convenience of the location goes hand-in-hand with top notch service to help meet an event’s every need. Gold Key Members The OCCC’s Gold Key Members represent the best of the best when it comes to exceptional service and exclusive benefits for clients, exhibitors and guests. The Center’s Gold Key memberships with Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando and Walt Disney World greatly enhance meeting planner and attendee experiences offering world-renowned venues, immersive experiences and creative resources for their events. OCCC Events: This fiscal year, the OCCC is projected to host 168 events, 1.7 million attendees, and $2.9 billion in economic impact.  The Center’s top five events during their 2022-2023 fiscal year included:  AAU Jr. National Volleyball Championships 2023 200,000 Attendees $257 Million in Economic Impact MEGACON 2023 160,000 Attendees $205 Million in Economic Impact Open Championship Series 2023 69,500 Attendees $89 Million in Economic Impact Sunshine Classic 2023 42,000 Attendees $54 Million in Economic Impact Premiere Orlando 2023 42,000 Attendees $108 Million in Economic Impact