Well the groundhog indicated 6 more weeks of winter and it’s proving to be sad but true. And that wasn’t the only weather news pertinent here at The Chamber in the past week. The Chamber cancelled its 2010 Advocacy Mission to Washington D.C. due to the horrendous blizzard that shut down Washington D.C. Staff is looking to reschedule in April just in time for cherry blossoms and much higher hotel rates. On to other news:
Governors’ Summit Deemed a Success!
The Chamber held its 5th Annual Governors’ Summit on Wednesday, February 3 with a packed auditorium of area business and civic leaders in the Liberty Memorial Auditorium. Special guests included Governor Jay Nixon of Missouri and Governor Mark Parkinson of Kansas, who both did a stellar job of fielding questions from Governors’ Summit Chair Roshann Parris of Parris Communications and the audience. Presentations were given by Neil Newhouse of Public Opinion Strategies who discussed a poll he recently completed for The Chamber with 800 registered voters and their attitudes towards issues in the area. Work is now beginning to create a follow-up plan from discussions held at the summit. Check out all of the presentations, video and audio clips, and related news articles from the Summit at http://www.kcchamber.com/Government/Index.asp?IdS=024DC0-AC48300&Reference=846.
Chamber Supports a Smoke Free Kansas
Today, The Chamber opposed HB 2642 in the Kansas House Health Committee because this particular smoking ban bill had so many loopholes exempting restaurants, bars, hotels, and anyone who would pay a fee to be exempted. The bill would make these loose statewide smoking laws supersede smoking bans already adopted by cities and counties across the state.
The Chamber and The Health Council of Greater Kansas City have invested significant time in studying the health effects of smoking as well as the financial burden caused by increased healthcare costs due to smoking. The Chamber supports a robust statewide smoking ban as described in HB 2221 to decrease tobacco-related illnesses and death, and to reduce the costs to business from tobacco.
Did you know The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates annual healthcare expenditures in Kansas directly caused by tobacco use are $927 million and that secondhand smoke exposure costs the state $38.9 million a year?
Indianapolis Here We Come!
This week, Chamber staffers, with the assistance of Chamber Vice Chair for Government Relations Greg Graves of Burns & McDonnell, selected a destination and dates for the 2010 Leadership Exchange regional benchmarking trip. We are headed to the amateur sports capital of the world, Indianapolis, on October 3-5, 2010. More about this trip in future posts.
Climate Protection Partnership Heats Up
It is hard to believe, but it has been a full two years since the official kickoff event for The Greater Kansas City Climate Protection Partnership, a concept modeled after a similar program in Seattle, Washington. The partnership now has 171 member companies and CPAT (the Climate Protection Assessment Team) has conducted over 70 onsite assessments. Check out more about the Partnership at http://www.kcchamber.com/ClimateProtection/Index.asp?IdS=02548A-FDB7BD0&x=010|010. In the last week alone, Chamber staff answered questions from Chambers in Michigan and Atlanta who are interested in replicating this partnership model. Imitation truly is the highest form of flattery.
A two-year anniversary celebration for the Partnership will be held in conjunction with the “Copenhagen, Carbon and Beyond” event at KCP&L on Wednesday February 17 at 10:30 a.m. http://www.kcchamber.com/Calendar/ChamberEvent.asp?RefItem=A3345.
Our good friend Congressman Emanuel Cleaver will share his thoughts on his recent trip to Copenhagen as a participant of the U.N. Climate Change Conference. Also, hear from experts on what the EPA’s recent ruling means for Kansas City businesses. Finally, the Climate Protection Partnership member company that was able to save over $200,000 in 2009 and reduce their carbon footprint by 3,000 metric tons will be announced. Hope to see you there.
Missouri Legislators talk business with Chamber members
Both the Minority Floor Leader and Minority Floor Leader Elect for the Missouri House talked with Chamber members at last Friday’s Missouri State Affairs Luncheon. Representatives Paul LeVota and Mike Talboy urged members of the committee to come to Jefferson City and represent for the Kansas City region. Both were concerned with a variety of issues including the possible repeal of the Kansas City earnings tax, the dire budget situation, economic development plans (MOSIRA and MOJFF), and ethics reform. Representative LeVota stated the budget situation is ugly this year and that legislators must use a chainsaw to cut spending. Finally, both legislators praised the work of Chamber lobbyists Nancy Giddens and Shannon Cooper for their work in the halls of the Capitol citing that they were both dedicated to keeping legislators informed about Chamber issues and were easily accessible.