Gov. Walker signs bill at MMAC

Chaaron Pearson on Friday, May 6, 2011 at 12:00:00 am 

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker visited the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC) on Thursday to sign a bill that will pre-empt local ordinances from requiring businesses to provide paid sick leave to employees for family, medical or health issues. 

Milwaukee’s paid sick leave ordinance, passed by voters in 2008, would be voided.   The ordinance would have required Milwaukee employers to provide up to nine days of paid sick time per year depending on the number of hours worked and the size of the business.  The city’s sick leave ordinance has never gone into effect due to legal challenges. 

“This law removes another barrier in the road to creating 250,000 private sector jobs by 2015,” Walker said.  “Patchwork government mandates stifle job creation and economic opportunity.  This law gives employers the flexibility they need to put people back to work and that makes Wisconsin a more attractive place to do business.”

MMAC has been working hard against the ordinance, challenging the law in the court system and pushing for the legislation to nullify the local ordinance.  MMAC President Tim Sheehy says “by signing this bill into law, the Governor has helped ensure that the City of Milwaukee remains ‘open for business.’”

Not everyone is pleased by the new bill.  9to5, National Association of Working women, led the Paid Sick Days Coalition that includes labor groups, health groups, civil rights and faith organizations, advocates for children and jobs and an end to domestic violence.  They intend to look into the legality of the new law and feel that “the override of the Milwaukee sick days law is an assault on democracy, local control and working families,” said Dana Schultz, Lead Organizer for 9to5.

Read more: Walker Signs Bill Prohibiting Ordinances That Guarantee Sick Leave
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: Walker signs law pre-empting sick day ordinance
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: Bill voiding sick leave law sent to Walker
MMAC: Assembly vote rolls back job-killing employer mandate
MMAC Insider: Bill Voiding Paid Sick Leave Law Passes Corporate Donors over Wisconsin Voters, Walker Signs Bill at MMAC Today
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: Court of Appeals reinstates Milwaukee sick pay law
The Business Journal: Judge rules Milwaukee sick leave law unconstitutional, appeal promised

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Comeback Cities

Ian Scott on Thursday, May 5, 2011 at 12:00:00 am 

I don’t pay too much attention to the rankings and top-ten lists that litter the news these days. I think they are usually easy (lazy?) journalism, plus their methodology is often suspicious.

However, I did enjoy flipping through Kiplinger’s 11 Comeback Cities for 2011.  It’s not a ranking, it is not a ten best or ten worst.  It is simply snapshots of several regions that are well positioned for economic growth; music to every chamber’s ears.

  Not mind blowing growth, but pretty good considering job losses since 2008.  If you expect a list of growing US cities to be southeast heavy, you’re correct. Chattanooga, Nashville, Orlando, Jacksonville, and Charlotte, are the first five cities on the list.  There is also a big cluster of western cities: Las Vegas, Phoenix, Portland, OR, Seattle, and San Jose.  Flint, MI is the geographic outlier, and perhaps the most unexpected in this group. 

The absence of high growth cities from Texas, Oklahoma or other energy heavy states like Wyoming or North Dakota from this group is a little surprising.  Perhaps the Kiplinger folks felt those cities weren’t right for a ‘comeback’ list because they didn’t take as bad a hit in the first place.

Foreign investment is a common theme among this group of regional economies.  Whether its Volkswagen in Chattanooga, Siemens in Charlotte, Nissan in Nashville or European battery company ReVolt Technology in Portland, investment from abroad is aiding in recovery.  Predictability, health care, renewable energy and automotive are the other cluster themes that are mentioned as filling the jobs gap left by housing’s collapse.

Another common regional asset that jumps out when scanning this group – strong chambers of commerce!

Check out Kiplinger’s 11 Comeback Cities for 2011.

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Bringing Canada to Kalispell

Tania Kohut on Tuesday, May 3, 2011 at 12:00:00 am 
The Kalispell (MT) Chamber of Commerce would like to roll out the Canadian red maple leaf-covered carpet and, by doing so, get more Kalispell businesses to accept the Canadian dollar. Why not?  It can be a win-win situation. According to Donna Townley, a local resident who is also a Canadian, "Every dollar spent generates another two dollars in this valley. That puts people back to work," she says. The Chamber thinks Townley’s ideas are just one more way to help boost the local economy and keep a good relationship with our neighbors to the north. Read more here.



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