Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce
Every business, no matter how large or small, operates within a world of policy, regulations, laws, and long-range planning. Most government officials want to have a strong relationship with the people they serve. Therefore, businesses and the organizations that represent them (such as the Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce) have a duty to express their opinions and interests on matters that affect their community. Whether in Washington DC, the state capitol or city hall, the opinions of people in the officials’ home district are the most important influences on their decision.
LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE PURPOSE STATEMENT
The Legislative Committee of the Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce is committed to reviewing, developing, and supporting issues that promote a positive, pro-active business environment. The chamber believes that laws and regulations should serve the public without acting as a detriment to business development and growth.
Our purpose is to work with our elected officials to establish regulations and policies that will affect the ability of a business to compete in the worldwide economy and continue to generate income and jobs that will help to improve the Ashland Area.
The issues examined through our Legislative Policy agenda are issues raised by the Chamber’s Legislative Committee and the Chamber Board.
LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE OBJECTIVES
- Work with Ohio Chamber to review local, state, and federal issues that affect business.
- Build and influence relationships/partnerships with state legislators, Ashland City Council and school board members, and county commissioners. Events to include:
- Organize “First Friday” event
- Conduct “Meet the Candidates Night”
- Coordinate “Election Academy”
- Communicate the recommendation of the Legislative Committee to the Chamber Board for approval.
- Upon approval of the Board, represent Chamber members at public forums and work with public leaders to create and develop pro-active legislation and policies.
- Educate and inform chamber members of relevant issues researched and positions taken if applicable.
LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE AGENDA
The intent of documenting the Legislative Committee’s agenda is to articulate the issues that have been identified as particularly importance by our Chamber membership. It is through this effort as well as through advocacy that the Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce intends to communicate these issues to federal, state, and local legislators and policy makers.
The following are issues identified by Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce membership as continuing areas of concern:
- Economic Development
- Health Care
- Workers' Compensation
- Education and Workforce Development
ANALYSIS AND ACTION
It is the Legislative Committee’s intent to produce a process simple and well enough defined as to ensure a quick response. Working backward from a “need by” date, the committee may easily identify the maximum allowable time frame to gather all information and confirm all relevant facts.
ROLE OF THE LEGISLATIVE INITIATIVE
- Developing and supporting legislation and other governmental action which promotes a strong business climate and job growth opportunities.
- Opposing legislation and other governmental action which inhibits a strong business climate and diminishes job growth opportunities.
- Establishing productive relationships between business interests and public officials.
- Providing forums to inform public officials and candidates for public office on issues impacting the business community.
- Communicating official Chamber positions to the appropriate public officials prior to their action on the issue.
- Endeavoring to hold public officials accountable for their actions and the resulting impacts on the business community. This may be accomplished by the circulation of public official voting records to Chamber membership on any issue on which the Chamber has communicated an official position.
Procedure followed by Legislative Committee regarding an issue:
- Request and confirm factual information offered by all interested parties, in a timely manner.
- Determine who will be affected by issue.
- Determine how the issue will impact the business membership and community.
- Provide the Chamber Board of Trustees information in advance of the board meeting.
- Offer opportunity for the Chamber Board of Trustees to submit questions regarding issues.
- Make committee recommendation of a position for Chamber Board of Trustees to approve.
After analysis Chamber Board will:
- Take NO ACTION OR
- Level 1: Help to educate our members on the issue or
- Level 2: Educate our members and work on enlist their active support, help to educate the broader community OR
- Level 3: Educate our members and actively enlist their full support and assistance in funding and assisting with the campaign, take a key leadership role in the campaign, actively work to educate the community and sway public opinion.
RETROSPECTIVE REVIEW OF PROCEDURE
After the determination of an issue, the Legislative Committee & Board should review the process taken by asking:
- Were the facts thoroughly reviewed and independently confirmed?
- Was information properly sought from all interested parties?
- Were those involved in the decision truly disinterested?
- Was the decision consistent with the results of the standards applied?
- Was the decision consistent with the stated ideals of the Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce?
- Would a second group of disinterested review committee members likely reach the same decision or draw the same conclusions?
- Did our membership agree with and/or support our committee decision?
- Did we develop sufficient information, leadership and communications to positively impact the outcome?