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by Michael J. Shapiro | June 01, 2012

Several industry organizations, led by ASAE, are urging members to contact U.S. congressional representatives to ensure the industry's views are taken into account with respect to future legislation affecting meetings.

In the wake of the scandal involving the General Services Administration's overspending on a training conference held in Las Vegas in October 2010, the Obama administration has directed federal agencies to cut travel budgets for fiscal year 2013 by 30 percent and cap spending at $500,000 for government-sponsored meetings. While these measures apply solely to government travel and conferences, noted ASAE, the association and other industry groups are concerned about the broader language used in related amendments to federal guidelines already cleared by the House and Senate.

To combat this, ASAE, the Professional Convention Management Association and other groups are urging members to write to Congress and request the following changes to past and future meetings-related federal measures.

• Change the definition of a conference to specify government-sponsored meetings, and not events held by associations and other private-sector organizations.

• Strike a provision that restricts government agencies from attending more than one conference held by a private organization per fiscal year.

ASAE's template for sending messages to Congress can be found at bit.ly/Lb9SMB. Related information is provided on Meeting Profes­sionals Inter­national's "One Industry, One Voice". Direct questions to publicpolicy@asaenet.org or communications@pcma.org.