Public Policy

For Your Members: Unconstitutional NLRB Recess Appointments

Chaaron Pearson on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 8:00:00 am 

As you may know, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled in Noel Canning v. NLRB that three members of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) were unlawfully appointed in January 2012, and the NLRB therefore lacked a quorum to conduct official business. Small businesses may have NLRB matters pending or recently decided that may be affected by the Noel Canning decision. In some cases, employers must act fast to benefit from the decision. Here is a memorandum of the potential effects of the decision prepared by the law firm that successfully argued the case on behalf of the U.S. Chamber and Noel Canning.

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Big business gets involved with corrections reform

Chaaron Pearson on Friday, February 1, 2013 at 12:00:00 am 

The Texas Association of Business (TAB) has decided to make criminal justice reform a key focus of its legislative priorities. TAB is pushing to expand evidenced-based rehabilitation and corrections programs,  reduce drug sentencing laws  and modify some state licensing laws.

TAB President Bill Hammond says: “We’re sending too many people to the slammer. The taxpayers and the business community are both being harmed.” 

The move is a part of a recent national trend favoring corrections reform, but TAB’s new role could be the biggest that business has played yet. TAB admits it lacks criminal justice expertise, but it favors “good public policy” and believes reforms to the current corrections system will help it stay competitive. 

Read more: Big-business lobby enters fray on criminal justice reforms

ACCE corrections reform resources:

 Chamberpedia: Corrections Reform

Chamber Executive: Pitching Evidence Based Policy: Getting More Bang From Your State’s Buck

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Medicaid Expansion

Chaaron Pearson on Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 12:00:00 am 

At the start of 2014, Medicaid is to be expanded due to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to people with incomes at or below 133 percent of the federal poverty level. That expansion was expected to take in approximately 16 million uninsured people nationwide.

However, the Supreme Court’s ruling allows states to opt-out of the expansion. Thus, many governors across the country have said that their state will not expand Medicaid coverage as outlined in the ACA. This also means that those states will not be receiving the federal dollars tied to the expansion, as states that agree to the Medicaid expansion will have 100 percent of the costs paid by the federal government for the first three years.

Fiscal concern begins after the first three years when states are expected to shoulder up to 10 percent of the costs. Those increased expenses in that fourth year and beyond could strain already costly Medicaid programs.

Chambers will be watching this issue closely as the time comes for state legislatures weigh in on the issue.  Join the conversation about Medicaid expansion at the next Government Relations division call on January 15, 2013. Details found at

More reading:

For a snapshot across the country, visit’s map of Medicaid positions.

To read more about ACAs impact on Medicaid, visit has a number of articles about Medicaid expansion:            
Court Lets States Opt out of Medicaid Expansion
For Some States Medicaid Expansion May be a Tough Fiscal Call
Obama Win Means Big Health Care Decisions for States

Tags: Affordable Care Act, Medicaid, Medicaid Expansion, Obamacare, Public Policy, state budget, ACA

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Everything You Need to Know About the Fiscal Cliff

Chaaron Pearson on Thursday, November 15, 2012 at 12:00:00 am 

Now that the presidential election dust has settled, Congress has reconvened to discuss the fiscal cliff. Here are some comprehensive explanations about what the fiscal cliff is and what could happen if we go off it.

WP WonkBlog: Everything you need to know about the fiscal cliff in one post
Dylan Matthews of the Washington Post WonkBlog explains what it is, how big it is, when it will happen, what will happen to the economy, and what could stop it.

Council of State Chambers, State Chamber Policy Center
 A new report by Inforum/University of Maryland, Fiscal Shock: America’s Economic Crisis, finds that the U.S. already is struggling due to Washington’s failure to address the fiscal cliff. The Pew Center on the States is finalizing a report that will evaluate the cliff’s impact on states, looking both at the effect of sequestration on revenue sharing and the expiration of dozens of temporary federal tax provisions on state tax systems. That report is expected in December.

Brookings Institution
Ron Haskins, co-director of the Center on Children and Families and Budgeting for National Priorities Project at the Brookings Institution, authored an interesting opinion piece:  The Fiscal Cliff: Predictable, Reprehensible, but Still Avoidable.

Tags: Fiscal Cliff, Policy, Public Policy, State Chamber Policy Center, WonkBlog, Brookings Institute, Congress, COSC, Council of State Chambers

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Getting to the Core in Coeur d’Alene

Ian Scott on Thursday, September 20, 2012 at 12:00:00 am 

Coeur d'Alene, the name shared by a lake, town and hotel, is the premier destination in Idaho's northern panhandle.  It's hard to spell but easy to love. The shimmering waters and glowing sunsets make you want to sink in to a deck chair and ponder existence for a couple of days.  But, that's not why I was there.

I made the trip to join CEOs and senior staff from statewide chambers of commerce and business associations from across the country.  While seminars from the Pew Center on the States’ Results First campaign and BIPAC were conference highlights, the emerging impact of independent expenditures in state elections fueled the most discussion, both during and after hours. 

Two days with this group reaffirmed something I've long known: business organizations looking to improve the quality and effectiveness of their communications, particularly political messages, should benchmark against state chambers.

The samples exchanged this week are too good not to share. Here are a few you should check out: 

  • Kentucky Chamber - Ready for Jobs?
    Rankings-focused, data rich brochure examines how Kentucky stacks up as a place to do business based on 8 key policy and business climate areas.
  • Florida Chamber – Free Enterprise and Fairness 
    There's no subtlety obscuring this video's message about public employee unions, it's just one example of bold politics from the Florida Chamber. 
  • North Carolina Chamber - NC Jobs Wins 
    Trifold flyer highlights legislative victories over the past biennium and outlines priorities for 2013.
  • Association of Washington Business - Challenges and Opportunities 
    Flyer succinctly tells the story of the manufacturing sector's economic impact and policy priorities.
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Congress May Kill the American Community Survey

Chaaron Pearson on Monday, May 14, 2012 at 12:00:00 am 

What does this mean for business?

Under pressure to cut spending, the House voted to kill the American Community Survey (ACS), which collects data on approximately 3 million households each year. The data helps determine where federal and state funds are spent; businesses use the data for marketing and expansion decisions.

The US Chamber is advocating that the Census, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Bureau of Economic Analysis continue to be funded because their members rely so heavily on the information generated by these agencies. Tom Beers, executive director of the National Association of Business Economists, argues that without good economic data, businesses are forced to play a guessing game with the economy.

The ACS is also finding friends at the Cato Institute, American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation. Phillip Swagel, an economist at AEI, says this data is important for an accurate picture of the economy and that funding the ACS shouldn’t be a political issue.

To read more: Bloomberg Businessweek: Killing the American Community Survey Blinds Business

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The Democrat Who Took on the Unions

Chaaron Pearson on Thursday, April 26, 2012 at 9:00:00 am 

Gina Raimondo, Rhode Island’s Democratic state treasurer, has overhauled the state pension system and isn’t making friends with the unions.

The former venture capitalist says, “A government that doesn’t work is in no one’s interest…I don’t really care if you’re a Republican or a Democrat or you want to fight about the size of government. How about a government that just works? Put your tax dollar in and get a return out the other end.”

State pensions were a huge problem in Rhode Island because there are more retirees collecting pensions than workers paying into the system. Read more about Ms. Raimondo and her reforms: March 25 Wall Street Journal Weekend Interview

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Hammond: Immigration Reform is Key

Chaaron Pearson on Wednesday, April 25, 2012 at 9:00:00 am 

An article by Bill Hammond, CEO of the Texas Association of Business, recently appeared in the El Paso Times. “Immigration Reform a Key Step to Creating Jobs in the U.S.” explains an economic imperative for immigration reform.

Hammond stresses the importance of keeping highly-trained STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) students in the United States after they graduate from college. He also references a recent joint study by American Enterprise Institute and Partnership for a New American Economy that found that the average foreign graduate who stays and works in a STEM field creates 2.62 American jobs. To read the report in its entirety, click here.

For more immigration reform resources, visit ACCE’s Information Office.

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Campaign for Modern Medicines and PDUFA

Chaaron Pearson on Tuesday, April 24, 2012 at 9:00:00 am 

On our last Government Relations Division conference call, Michael Matthews with the Campaign for Modern Medicines explained why he’s interested in having chambers and their members join in a petition to congress to pass a clean Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) reauthorization by July 4.

Check out the Campaign for Modern Medicines website for more information or sign the petition.

If you’d like more information, contact Michael Matthews at:

Rasky Baerlein Strategic Communications
(202) 530-7700

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Grand Rapids Exec Makes the Case for Home Visiting

Chaaron Pearson on Monday, April 23, 2012 at 9:00:00 am 

The March issue of The Chamber News, a monthly publication of the Grand Rapids, Mich., Chamber of Commerce, included an article from Rick Baker, CEO of the Grand Rapids Chamber, on the importance of home visiting for Michigan's economic future.

Baker calls for Michigan legislators to focus tax dollars on programs with a proven record of success and to work hard to strengthen the business climate. He recommends investing in home visiting, which matches new parents with trained professionals who provide information and support during pregnancy and the child’s early years.

Employers are noticing more prospective hires who lack fundamental skills such as problem solving and the ability to work in teams. The foundation for these critical skills is built in the earliest years of life. Investing in home visits and early childhood education can help meet the needs of business by insuring a better prepared, more competitive work force.

Click here to read Rick’s full article.

Click here for more information on ReadyNation.

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