My View: Congress Should Act on Hatch’s I-Squared Act

Monday, February 23rd, 2015

This post was written by Lew Cramer and previously published by the Deseret News here : http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865621501/Congress-should-act-on-Hatch7s-I-Squared-Act.html?pg=all

We’ve all gotten used to dramatic and rapid changes in consumer technology. Companies that were dominant yesterday are gone today, and many that will be on top tomorrow haven’t even been started yet. Historically, the center of change was Silicon Valley. Even if we didn’t know who was creating the new ideas and launching the latest startups, we knew where they were likely to be found.

Our outdated immigration system threatens that global leadership. It’s a system that was cobbled together in the Cold War, and it does ridiculous things like placing unreasonably low limits on things like the flow of highly skilled workers into this country.

Congress should move quickly to approve the Immigration Innovation Act introduced by Sen. Orrin Hatch. The Immigration Innovation, or “I-Squared,” Act would reset the limits on H-1B visas to figures that reflect 21st-century demand for scientists, programmers, engineers and other professionals who help us create even more jobs. And the I-Squared Act would ease restrictions on green cards for people with advanced degrees in the STEM fields.

Workers with the most in-demand skills won’t just sit around if we put them to work growing the American economy. Not all of them want to move here, of course — but we should realize that we’re either recruiting them to drive innovation here, or we’re competing against them when they live somewhere else.

The world has far more demand for knowledgeable workers than it has supply of them. Every time we pass up the opportunity to put them to work here, we’re not only missing out for our own good, we’re actually making our competitors even tougher to beat.

Highly skilled workers put other people to work. Some of them do it directly, of course, and immigrants have been founders of a disproportionate number of the startup firms that have revolutionized much of daily life.

But even when they’re working for others, highly skilled workers are “force multipliers.” Once an engineer designs a bridge, for example, she sets in motion the work of surveyors, design technicians, construction workers and many others. Yet it all starts with the highly skilled work.

The results of their creations also save the rest of us time, money and effort. Millions of office workers owe an ongoing debt of gratitude to the computer programmers whose products make the rest of us vastly more productive. We couldn’t sustain our modern economy on manual typewriters and handwritten accounting ledgers.

The I-Squared Act is an urgently needed step forward for immigration reform. It has bipartisan support, and its main outcome will be to give a much-needed boost to the American economy. The Partnership for a New American Economy has found that for every two foreign students who study in the U.S. for a STEM degree and stay here, more than five jobs are created for American-born workers.

With other parts of the world struggling, the time to extend our advantages is right now. Closing the door to highly skilled workers doesn’t mean they won’t build and create — it just means they won’t be contributing here.

Lew Cramer is CEO and president of Coldwell Banker Commercial Advisors. He is the former CEO of the World Trade Center Utah (2006-2013). He has also served as director general of the U.S. Commercial Service.

#StuckInTraffic: 5 Reasons, in 140 Characters or Less, Why Congress Should Support the Highway Trust Fund

Monday, February 23rd, 2015

This post was written by Janet Kavinoky and previously published on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce blog here : https://www.uschamber.com/blog/stuckintraffic-5-reasons-140-characters-or-less-why-congress-should-support-highway-trust-fund?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=Wallpost&utm_campaign=Status

“A tweet fest, led by House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster and U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, broke out on Capitol Hill on Wednesday. It was a show of bipartisan support for arriving at a solution to fund America’s aging transportation infrastructure, and the idea of a tweet fest on this subject — #StuckInTraffic — makes sense for several reasons.

For starters, opponents of federal programs have been busily spreading half-truths and inaccurate information to undermine any value in the federal road, bridge, public transportation, and highway safety programs. Secondly, the value of transportation programs can be summed up in ways that are short and easy to understand. Here are five reasons – tweet-worthy – on why Congress should fully support the Highway Trust Fund and take the necessary steps to fully fund it through a surface transportation bill passed this year.

The Federal-aid highway and transit programs connect individuals and businesses by miles and miles of roads, highways, bridges and transit lines across all the states because they were always intended to be national in scope. Like other national programs, such as defense, Social Security and Medicare, homeland security, aviation and agriculture, these programs provide benefits for all Americans, regardless of where they reside. Could we really expect local and state politicians to overcome political pressures and economic downturns to carve out adequate funding for America’s 47,714-plus miles of interstate highway and 256,000 miles of National Highway System arteries?

Every $1 of federal highway investment results in $1.80 to $2.00 in additional growth in goods and services. Every $1 billion in federal spending on transportation infrastructure, when combined with minimal state and local matching, supports or creates 34,500 jobs, and, unfortunately, Congress has not adequately supported the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) – which pays for the federal highway and transit programs – for years.

The average person pays $8 a month – or 8.6 tenths of a cent per mile – in federal fuel tax. For this, they have access to the nation’s interstates, urban and rural highways, and improved mass transit services. Meanwhile, deficient surface transportation costs the average household $1060 per year in vehicle maintenance. A 10 cent to 15 cent per gallon increase would mean an additional $4 to $6 dollars a month – a reasonable amount for federal highway network users to pay to progress this network so it is more efficient, reliable and safe.

Devolution – or ending the federal government’s role in funding transportation infrastructure – would further worsen the current situation.  When devolution is fully implemented, federal funding for highways and transit will drop by $45 billion dollars annually. To fill this hole, every state would have to increase its gas tax by 18.4 cents per gallon and its diesel tax by 25.4 cents per gallon. Assuming not all states would impose such a dramatic tax increase, we would end up with a patchwork transportation network.

The HTF is intended to be funded through user fees, not the general income tax. Each time users of our nation’s transportation network buy fuel and pay into the HTF, they are contributing to the maintenance, modernization, and expansion of for the nation’s transportation networks. However, nearly $70 billion has been transferred from general revenues since 2008 because there are still that many infrastructure needs across the country and increases in the gas tax lag far behind inflation. Because of lack of support for the HTF, Arkansas last year announced its decision to suspend $60 million in highway projects. Tennessee followed suit and at least eight other states – Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota and Vermont – have publicly expressed concern.

The HTF will become insolvent in this summer if legislation re-authorizing MAP-21 is not passed and signed into law; the federal government will slow or stop sending checks to state DOTs this summer. The economic consequences of not being able to pay contractors and employees will send shockwaves through our economy.Hundreds of projects slated to begin around the country will not move forward if MAP-21 is not re-authorized.

The economic benefits of building infrastructure projects are clear:  It is irresponsible for Congress not to act to prevent the negative economic impact of inaction on communities across America.”

Improving Regulatory Accountability: Lessons from the Past, Prospects for the Future

Monday, February 23rd, 2015

This post was written by Susan E. Dudley and previously published on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce blog here : https://www.uschamber.com/blog/improving-regulatory-accountability-lessons-past-prospects-future?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=Wallpost&utm_campaign=Status

“In the more than 125 years since Congress created the first regulatory body — the Interstate Commerce Commission — the number of agencies and the scope and reach of the regulations they issue has increased significantly.

There are now more than 70 federal agencies, employing almost 300,000 people, that write and implement regulations. Every year, they issue tens of thousands of new regulations, which now occupy over 175,000 pages of code. Concerns over the accountability of what some have called the “fourth branch” of government have led all three branches of government to take steps to exercise checks and balances.

While legislative and judicial branch actions have ensured some accountability on the part of regulatory agencies, the executive branch has generally been most active in oversight.  Congress has not taken full advantage of its “awesome arsenal of weapons” for controlling bureaucracy.  Very few statutes direct executive branch agencies to consider benefits and costs when issuing new regulations, and some have been interpreted to prohibit such considerations. Courts generally defer to agency interpretations of their statutes and do not review agency compliance with executive orders.

The foundations of the current regulatory state date back to the first half of the last century. In 1946, the passage of the Administrative Procedure Act established procedures — notably public notice and comment — that agencies must follow to promulgate binding rules and regulations under delegation from Congress. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, all three branches contributed to the successful deregulation of industries in the transportation and telecommunication sectors, which had been subject to regulatory approval of rates, service and entry.  At the same time, the legislative and executive branches created new regulatory agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Their regulatory focus on protecting public health and safety differed from the focus of earlier economic regulatory agencies.

The regulatory activity of these new agencies has led every president since Nixon to establish accountability procedures aimed at understanding regulatory impacts before new regulations are issued.  Since 1981, presidential executive orders have not only required agencies to conduct analysis to demonstrate proposals pass a benefit-cost test, but they have authorized the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs within the executive office of the president to ensure regulations and their supporting analysis meet established principles.

Today, with concern over regulatory impacts rising, proposals for regulatory reform are gaining traction.  Legislation has already been introduced in the 114th Congress aimed at altering regulatory procedures and analytical requirements.  The APA has not been substantively amended in almost 70 years, and Congress may consider legislation to require earlier public consultation, more experimentation, and a greater role for both the courts and congress.  They may also clarify the decision criteria agencies use to develop regulations, perhaps by codifying existing executive order requirements. They also may want to provide incentives for better ex-post evaluation of regulatory outcomes, perhaps by establishing a third-party entity to evaluate existing regulations.

Like the bipartisan, inter-branch regulatory reform efforts of the 1970s and 1980s, which brought about unexpected innovation, higher quality and lower prices in previously regulated industries, reforms today could spur economic growth and improve the welfare of American families, workers and entrepreneurs.”


Susan E. Dudley is Director of the George Washington University Regulatory Studies Center and Distinguished Professor of Practice in the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration.

This blog is based on a working paper, “Improving Regulatory Accountability: Lessons from the Past and Prospects for the Future,” available here and forthcoming in 65 Case Western Reserve Law Review (2015)

This Week in the Utah Business Report

Friday, February 20th, 2015

In case you missed one or more of the Salt Lake Chamber’s Utah Business Reports on KSL NewsRadio, here is a recap of what we talked about this week.

For the full recorded reports from this week and weeks past, visit KSL NewsRadio online. Remember to tune in between 12:30 and 1 p.m. to KSL NewsRadio every week day on 102.7 FM or 1160 AM. If your business is doing something great, let us know and we may feature it on the Utah Business Report.

If you operate a grocery or convenience store, chances are your success is measured by the same thing: profit. Every dollar saved in energy costs goes straight to your bottom line, increasing your profit margin.

According to ESource, 75 percent of energy consumed in convenience and grocery stores is attributed to lighting and refrigeration.  By upgrading to LED lighting in refrigerated cases, you can reduce refrigerated lighting costs by up to 50 percent. Because LED lighting does not generate much heat, it also helps to reduce compressor runtimes in refrigerated cases, saving even more electricity.

Rocky Mountain Power’s wattsmart Business program makes saving energy easy by providing cash incentives to cover part of the project cost for energy-efficient equipment upgrades. Visit wattsmart.com to get started.

As soon as the award winning: Ski Experience Exhibit wrapped up, Alf Engen Ski Museum began collaborating with JDHgroup on their next interactive exhibit. Their objective is to update otherwise aging exhibits and bring them into the digital age, offering a more dynamic experience to entice new and returning visitors to the museum.

Designed and fabricated by JDHgroup, Alf Engen’s Take Flight! was the solution; it’s an interactive ski jump experience that recreates the speed, adrenalin and fun that a professional athlete experiences on the K120 jump at the Utah Olympic Park. The player moves their body just as an Olympic Ski Jumper would, directly manipulating a digital avatar within a virtual world. Alf Engen’s Take Flight! is now open to the public at the Alf Engen Ski Museum in Park City, Utah.

JDHgroup, who developed the exhibit, specialize in designing brand experiences through digital, interactive or environmental means. Learn more at JDHgroup.com.

Mountain Accord, a collaborative effort of local, state and federal leaders and private entities, recently released a proposed Blueprint to preserve the Central Wasatch Mountains for generations to come.

The Blueprint sets the framework for land preservation, a regional trail network and transit improvements in the canyons. This includes mountain rail and improved bus service to connect economic and recreation destinations in the mountains with urban centers in the Wasatch Front and Back.

This Blueprint is the product of an unprecedented collaboration between more than 20 diverse groups working together to make critical decisions and implement solutions for a modern, environmentally sustainable transportation system, responsible stewardship of watersheds and natural resources, quality recreation experiences, and a vibrant economy.

Learn more and become involved at mountainaccord.com!

Why does wearing a seat belt matter? In the last five years, 11 hundred people died on Utah’s roads. The most common contributing factor was a failure to buckle up. The best thing you can do to keep from becoming a fatality statistic is to wear a seat belt. Too many businesses and families experience the heartache of losing a loved one and co-worker when a seat belt would have made all the difference.

A safe transportation system is essential to our economic vitality and the quality of life in our state. Average seat belt use is 12 percent higher in states with a primary seat belt law. Research shows that about half of the unbuckled fatalities over the past five years could have been saved if a seat belt had been properly used. That’s 200 co-workers, family members and friends who could still be with us today.

The Salt Lake Chamber has created an online petition to support a primary seatbelt law in Utah because buckling up is good business. Visit UtahTransportation.org to sign onto this petition.

It’s time! Utah’s Outdoor Recreation Summit will again be held at the Salt Palace Grand Ballroom on Tuesday, March 3rd. If you want to know about outdoor companies that are recognized worldwide and what it is in Utah that creates our outdoor lifestyle, which brings millions of people to enjoy our great outdoors, then you need to be a part of the Outdoor Recreation Summit on March 3rd.

At this summit you will learn ways to strengthen our outdoor industry and gain insight on how to preserve and enhance our great outdoor spaces. You will also be able to share best practices and ideas while networking with the leaders who manage Utah’s outdoor industry.

This year’s speakers include Jerry Stritzke (st-ritz-key), CEO of REI, Ivan Levin of the Outdoor Foundation, National Geographic Adventurer of the Year Stacy Bare, and mountaineer Chris Warner of Earth Treks.

For more information visit UtahSummit.com.

Member Roundup

Friday, February 20th, 2015

Member Roundup is a periodical blog highlighting news from Salt Lake Chamber members. If you want to see your business’s news here, please send it to news@slchamber.com

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New Members

50 West Club and Cafe

American Lung Association of Utah

Associated Food Stores, Inc.

B. Jackson Construction

Blue Castle Holdings

Dale Carnegie Training of Utah

Furst Construction

Mark Miller Toyota

MarketStar

ProFire Energy

Target Marketing, LLC

News & Press Releases

Why Does a Primary Seatbelt Law Matter to Business?

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Recognizes Utah as a Leader

Salt Lake Chamber – Legislative Update (Week Four)

2015 Policy Guide Release

Lane Beattie: Investing in Infrastructure

Outlook for Utah Economy Positive in 2015

Gail Miller is the 36th Giant in Our City

Women’s Business Center: This Is Me!

Upcoming Events

2/26 – Business After Hours hosted by 50 West Club & Cafe

3/6 – 2015 Utah Women In Global Business & Trade Conference

3/26 – Giant in Our City 2015

See more upcoming events on the Chamber’s Community Calendar here. 

If you want to stay up-to-date with Chamber and our community events, please subscribe to our Chamber Connection by clicking here.

You can catch other member and Utah business news in the Utah Business Report, which airs every week day between 12:30 – 1 p.m. on KSL NewsRadio. We post weekly recaps here.

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If you want to see your business’ news here, please send it to news@slchamber.com

Legislative Update (Week Four)

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

This is a brief update of the Salt Lake Chamber’s efforts at the Utah Legislature and ways for you to engage to ensure we have a successful session.

Week Four Outlook and Ways to Help

This week brings a number of our key issues to the forefront with a number of education bills, transportation funding proposals and the Governor’s Healthy Utah plan all expected to move through each of the legislative bodies.

Also, early this morning our first priority vote was successful in the House and Senate. H.B. 79 passed out of the House 41-32-2. You can view the [VOTE] here. This bill would allow officers to ticket a driver or passenger for not wearing a seat belt without any other traffic offense-taking place. You can learn why the Chamber is supporting this bill by checking out this [BLOG]

You can view the legislative calendar for committee meetings [HERE]. Below are a few key ways to help this week:

1. Education Update – The base budget bills for public education and higher education have been finalized. The higher education budget includes performance-based funding, which will reward institutions that improve college completion rates. Per pupil funding for public education was not increased, but the overall amount of funds increased due to student enrollment growth. Improved education outcomes in reading, math, high school graduation will be supported by the following bills:

· H.B. 198 Strengthening College and Career Readiness

· H.B. 331 Professional Learning Grant Program

· S.B. 33 s01: Public School Graduation Amendments

· S.B. 97 s03: Property Tax Equalization

· S.B. 116: Public School Dropout Recovery

· S.B. 117: Interventions for Reading Difficulties Pilot Program

· S.B. 196: Math Competency Initiative

SB97s03 provides new funding for public education. It is making its way through the senate and expected to go to the house. Support this bill by visiting writing your legislator using our action alert.

2. Healthy Utah (Full Senate) –S.B. 164 Access to Health Care Amendments is currently in the full Senate and will be debated this week. We continue to build support through a broad coalition and inform the Legislature and the public on this issue.

· Want to know more about Healthy Utah? Watch this [VIDEO]

· Want to know who is supporting it? See the Healthy Utah Coalition [WEBSITE]

· Want to know how you can to help? Contact your Senator: [TAKE ACTION]

3. Transportation Funding – Did you know the Salt Lake Chamber through the Utah Transportation Coalition is engaged in a comprehensive media campaign supporting transportation needs?

We have partnered with the Utah League of Cities and Towns and Utah Association of Counties, as well as all 74 local Chambers across the state, in a social media campaign enouraging transportation funding. You can see the campaign by following this [LINK].

You can also see a new [VIDEO] we produced on the economic impact of investment.

S.B. 160 Transportation Funding Amendments will likely be dated in the full Senate this week.

This is just one a several proposals between the Senate and the House that is working toward increased funding. We are supportive of comprehensive action on transportation funding. This includes a local quarter-cent sales tax increase to go to UTA, cities and counties, as well as a conversion from a cpg to a percentage.

4. Count My Vote – This year there have been a number of attempts to rollback the common sense compromise of SB 54 last year related to the Count My Vote initiative.

These include [SB 43] and [HB 281], which are nearly identical and would push back the implementation of the Count My Vote compromise to 2018. HB 281 suffered an unceremonious death in a House committee on Tuesday morning.

Sen. Scott Jenkins, R-Plain City, is also sponsoring [SJR 2], a proposed constitutional amendment that would prohibit the state from interfering with how political parties nominate their candidates.

We have been in contact with the Count My Vote team and please let us know if you have any questions on the issue.

5. Bill Tracking and Action Alerts – You can view all of the bills we are tracking, including priority votes, through www.slchambervote.com. This is also the easiest way to be involved (and to get your employees involved) in supporting the chamber’s action alert platform.

Do you use Twitter? Make sure you follow @SLC_Action and set it to alert you of new tweets to receive live updates of our efforts.

Action alerts allow you to find and contact your legislator via an email with our key messages on the specific action alert topic.

Current action alerts: [Transportation Funding] [Healthy Utah][Reading Difficulties Pilot Program][Primary Seatbelt][Transportation Funding to Clean Our Air]

Priority Bills:

o H.B. 79 – Primary Seatbelt

o S.B. 97 – Property Tax Equalization

o S.B. 117 – Interventions for Reading Difficulties Pilot Program

o S.B. 160 Transportation Funding Amendments

o S.B. 164 Access to Health Care Amendments

If you have any questions about the session, the public policy guide or ways to get involved in the process please contact Justin Jones (jjones@slchamber.com) or Michael Merrill (mmerrill@slchamber.com)

Why Does a Primary Seatbelt Law Matter to Business?

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015

Right now, the Utah Legislature is debating how to make Utah’s transportation system safer with a bill sponsored by Rep. Lee Perry and Sen. Curt Bramble. H.B. 79 moved successful out of the house on Feb. 17, 2015. The bill would allow officers to ticket a driver or passenger for not wearing a seat belt without any other traffic offense taking place.

The Utah business community has stepped behind this bill because employers understand that failing to buckle up harms others on Utah’s roads. We support a primary seat belt law that will protect operators and passengers in vehicles. Data from WCF also shows that seatbelt are a critical tool in workplace safety, but when you are on the road you are not in a controlled space. In fact, those who do not wear a seatbelt are 40 percent more likely to harm others in their vehicle and states with a primary seatbelt law have a 12 percent higher seatbelt higher use rate.

In reality, this is much more than any one incident. It’s about lives. And zero fatalities is a goal we can all live with.

So get involved, sign the petition or contact your legislator at: http://utahtransportation.org/

Video: Chalk one up for Zero Fatalities

This Week in the Utah Business Report

Friday, February 13th, 2015

In case you missed one or more of the Salt Lake Chamber’s Utah Business Reports on KSL NewsRadio, here is a recap of what we talked about this week.

For the full recorded reports from this week and weeks past, visit KSL NewsRadio online. Remember to tune in between 12:30 and 1 p.m. to KSL NewsRadio every week day on 102.7 FM or 1160 AM. If your business is doing something great, let us know and we may feature it on the Utah Business Report.

Why does wearing a seat belt matter? In the last five years, 11 hundred people died on Utah’s roads. The most common contributing factor was a failure to buckle up. The best thing you can do to keep from becoming a fatality statistic is to wear a seat belt. Too many businesses and families experience the heartache of losing a loved one and co-worker when a seat belt would have made all the difference.

A safe transportation system is essential to our economic vitality and the quality of life in our state. Average seat belt use is 12 percent higher in states with a primary seat belt law. Research shows that about half of the unbuckled fatalities over the past five years could have been saved if a seat belt had been properly used. That’s 200 co-workers, family members and friends who could still be with us today.

The Salt Lake Chamber has created an online petition to support a primary seatbelt law in Utah because buckling up is good business. Visit UtahTransportation.org to sign onto this petition.

Dale Carnegie Training of Utah is pleased to announce it is once more offering live, in-person courses and seminars in the Salt Lake City area.

Please join Dale Carnegie Training for a FREE Executive Preview on Wednesday, February 11th from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in downtown Salt Lake City to determine how the renown Dale Carnegie Course helps teams master the capabilities demanded in today’s tough business environment.

Dale Carnegie Training has evolved from one man’s belief in the power of self-improvement to a performance-based training company with offices worldwide. They focus on giving people in business the opportunity to sharpen their skills and improve their performance in order to build positive, steady and profitable results.

Visit their website at utah.dalecarnegie.com for full registration details.

Last week, the U.S. Chamber of commerce recognized Utah for being one of the top enterprising states in the country.

Each year, the Enterprising States project compares all 50 states across a broad set of 33 metrics. The metrics cover economic performance in five broad-based policy areas important to creating an environment for job growth. Utah ranked the best performing state overall for two years running. In 2013 and 2014, Utah ranked in the top 10 states for economic performance and in the top 10 for each of the five major policy areas

In the 2014 Enterprising States study, Utah ranked 6th or better in all major categories. Utah’s strong economic performance is most evident in its job growth over the past decade. The state has grown its employment base 22 percent since 2001, more than four times faster than the nation. Utah ranked 2nd in short-term and 3rd in long-term job growth in the 2014 Enterprising States rankings. What an accomplishment!

The U.S. Chamber’s report is sponsored by Intermountain Healthcare and Zions bank and can be found at slchamber.com.

The Salt Lake Chamber recently released an update to the business community’s position on public policy issues called the Public Policy Guide. This year the guide outlines ways to obtain community prosperity through strategic investments, especially education.

Utah students once ranked among the top 10 among states in the U.S. but have now fallen to average. Utah’s fourth graders are currently ranked 22nd in reading and 27th in math. If our children do not read at grade level by the end of the fourth grade, they are significantly more likely drop out of high school. We must begin now making a change in Utah’s education system.

That is why Utah business leaders have created a five-year plan for education called, “Prosperity Through Education—The innovation, accountability and investment plan for Utah’s future.” This plan includes strategic investments in reading and math to get Utah back into the top-10.

Additional information concerning the Chamber’s policy priorities on education and a call to act this year by making a landmark investment in education is available at slchamber.com.

Stay involved in the 2015 Legislative Session! You can find legislation the Salt Lake Chamber is tracking and supporting, as well as an easy online form to contact your legislators. We also have listed the issues that are a high priority for the business community called, “Priority Votes.” Visit slchambervote.com for more information.

This year’s highest priority for the Chamber is making improvements in Education. Utah students need proficiency in reading and math and they need to graduate from high school. Utahns need postsecondary education that prepares them for the workplace. We must utilize innovative strategies, increased accountability and targeted investments to improve our current mediocre performance.

Educational achievement correlates to economic progress for individuals and communities. As you know, Utah ranks high as a state with a robust economy showing strong growth and low unemployment. We are seeing education warning signs today that will prevent our future economic growth.

Take action! Learn more about education and the legislature at slchamber.com.

Salt Lake Chamber – Legislative Update (Week Three)

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

This is a brief report of the Salt Lake Chamber’s efforts at the Utah Legislature and a list of suggested ways to engage ensuring a more successful session.

Week Three Outlook and Ways to Help

This week begins the larger push for the big issues of the session: Education, Transportation and Medicaid. There has also been some progress on clean air issues, specifically on Rep. Handy’s school bus bill and other targeted alternative fuel bills. You can view the legislative calendar for committee meetings here. Below are a few key ways to help this week:

1. Healthy Utah (SENATE COMMITEE) –S.B. 164 Access to Health Care Amendments was released on Friday. This is the legislative embodiment of the Governor’s Healthy Utah plan and will go before a committee this week. Lane will be testifying in support.

a. Action: Use the link below to add your support and ask your employees to also TAKE ACTION FOR Healthy Utah no other alternative costs less and covers more.

2. Education Update – Both Public and Higher Education Appropriations committees will continue to meet to determine how much will go into the bill of bills. Other bills regarding governance and targeted money supporting the education plan for math and reading will become public this week and will be heard in committee.

3. Transportation Funding (SENATE COMMITEE) – S.B. 160 Transportation Funding Amendments which will likely move to committee late this week was released on Friday. The bill would:

· Increase the motor-fuel tax by 10-cents-gallon to 34-1/2 cents per gallon

· Increase the special-fuels tax by 5-cents-per-gallon to 29-1/2 cents per gallon

· Increase the CNG and LNG fuel rates by 21-cents-gallon to parity with special fuels at 29-1/2 cents per gallon.

· Earmark a portion of the new revenues:($40m) to level-two road maintenance and ($25m) to fund bridge rehabilitation projects.

This is just one a several proposals between the Senate and the House working toward increased funding. We have been in close conversations with Sen. Van Tassel and Senate leadership and will be supportive of moving this bill moving forward as part of a broader comprehensive conversation on transportation funding. This includes a local quarter-cent sales tax increase to go to UTA, cities and counties, as well as a conversion from a cost per gallon(cpg) to a percentage of sales, though how it is collected is still being worked out.

4. Act to Support Primary Seat Belt (HOUSE FLOOR)– H.B. 79 passed out of its committee 7-2 and will now move the full House this week. The bill would allow officers to ticket a driver or passenger for not wearing a seat belt without any other traffic offense-taking place.

This is our first priority-bill of 2015 and we ask that you sign and share with your employees our online petition of support. We’ve had a great response with over 300 people sign the petition, but it will take many more to get it through the House and on to the Senate. [Sign and Share the Petition]

If you want your business to be listed with other businesses in support of a primary seat belt bill, email Justin (jjones@slchamber.com) or Michael (mmerrill@slchamber.com) and we’ll add your logo to the website and call attention to it when sharing the petition.

5. Bill Tracking and Action Alerts – You can view all of the bills we are tracking including priority votes through www.slchambervote.com. This is also the easiest way to be involved and get your employees involved in supporting the chamber’s action alert platform.

Action alerts allow you to find and contact your legislator via an email with our key messages on the topic.

Current action alerts: [Transportation Funding] [Top-10 Education in Utah] [Clean Air and Transportation Options] [Healthy Utah] [Primary Seat Belt]

Priority Bills:

H.B. 79 – Primary Seatbelt

S.B. 160 Transportation Funding Amendments

S.B. 164 Access to Health Care Amendments

Week Two Review:

Week two concluded work on base budgets for state government and the general appropriations will began.

1. 2015 Utah State Chamber Winter Conference (2/4-5) – Chamber executive from across the state met to discuss key issues this session and ways to collaborate. This included discussions on education, transportation, rural economic development and Healthy Utah. Thank you to our business leaders who supported these events and Ryan, Ben and Christina from our team for their help.

2. US Chamber Event (2/4) – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation (USCCF), the Salt Lake Chamber, and Gov. Gary R. Herbert came together to celebrate Utah as the best performing state overall for the past two years in the USCCF’s national Enterprising States study, and to release a state-specific report outlining Utah’s leadership in driving economic growth.

The Utah: Collaboration as the Foundation for Growth report offers an in-depth review of the policies being implemented to address economic performance and job growth in the state. Read Lane and Gov. John R. McKernan’s op-ed here: [Op-ed: Utah is unmatched in growing a diversified economy]

3. Legislative Reception (2/4) – Thank you to everyone who attended this year’s legislative reception. We had an excellent turnout of business leaders, legislators and other civic and community leaders. We want to especially acknowledge Zions Bank and Intermountain Health Care and our other sponsors for making the event a success. We cannot forget Jackie, Chandra and Miriam from our events team for making the night productive and enjoyable.

4. Primary Seat Belt (2/6)– Representative Lee Perry’s bill H.B. 79 which would allow officers to ticket a driver or passenger for not wearing a seat belt without any other traffic offense-taking place passed the House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice committee with a (7-2) favorable recommendation.

We will continue to ask that you share the petition we are encouraging individuals to sign supporting Representative Lee Perry’s bill H.B. 79 as we move through the process.

If you have any questions about the session, the public policy guide or ways to get involved in the process please contact Justin Jones (jjones@slchamber.com) or Michael Merrill (mmerrill@slchamber.com).

This Week in the Utah Business Report

Friday, February 6th, 2015

In case you missed one or more of the Salt Lake Chamber’s Utah Business Reports on KSL NewsRadio, here is a recap of what we talked about this week.

For the full recorded reports from this week and weeks past, visit KSL NewsRadio online. Remember to tune in between 12:30 and 1 p.m. to KSL NewsRadio every week day on 102.7 FM or 1160 AM. If your business is doing something great, let us know and we may feature it on the Utah Business Report.

Last week the Salt Lake Chamber released an update to the business community’s position on public policy issues called the Public Policy Guide. This year the guide outlines ways to obtain community prosperity through strategic investments, especially for transportation and education.

As Utah’s population is expected to grow by 60% in the next thirty years, it is important to have comprehensive transportation funding to minimize gridlock on our roads. Continued investment in transportation also supports our growing economy. Our investments in Utah’s infrastructure has lasting implications on our ability to attract and retain business.

The 2015 Public Policy Guide also builds on the five-year plan for education, “Prosperity Through Education—The innovation, accountability and investment plan for Utah’s future” released last fall. This plan includes strategic investments to get Utah back into the top-10 states for education. Additional information concerning the Chamber’s policy priorities and the release of the Guide are available at slchamber.com.

With long operating hours, restaurants and lodging facilities face energy challenges every day. According to ENERGY STAR, restaurants use 5 to 7 times more energy per square foot than other commercial buildings. With this high level of energy use, restaurants have many opportunities to save energy and money.

Consider an easy project to get started, like upgrades to your lighting system –replacing recessed lighting with LED down-lights, or adding occupancy sensors to storage rooms, restrooms and walk-in refrigerators.  You can also update interior signage with LED options.

Rocky Mountain Power’s wattsmart Business program helps restaurants and lodging facilities save energy and money by offering cash incentives on lighting, food service equipment, heating and cooling systems and more. Get started at wattsmart.com.

Today the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is here recognizing Utah for being one of the enterprising states in the country.

Each year, the Enterprising States project compares all 50 states across a broad set of 33 metrics. The metrics cover economic performance and five broad-based policy areas important to creating an environment for job growth. Utah is the best performing state overall for two years running. In 2013 and 2014, Utah ranked in the top 10 states for economic performance and in the top 10 for each of the five major policy areas.

In the 2014 Enterprising States study, Utah ranked 6th or better in all major categories. Utah’s strong economic performance is most evident in its job growth over the past decade. The state has grown its employment base 22% since 2001, more than four times faster than the nation. Utah ranked 2nd in short-term and 3rd in long-term job growth in the 2014 Enterprising States rankings. What an accomplishment!

The U.S. Chamber’s report is sponsored by Intermountain Healthcare and Zions bank and linked to from slchamber.com.

“Don’t talk to strangers!” 
your mother used to say. But now you are an adult, and talking to strangers is essential to business success.

Come to our most popular seminar, Networking Without Limits, tomorrow at the Salt Lake Chamber and learn the simple steps on how to make networking easy and natural.

Join Jim Woodard and learn to develop a “30 second commercial,”
set networking goals and follow up on business contacts.

 Jim has shared his networking knowledge with over 1500 people, including several Area Chambers of Commerce and businesses throughout the state of Utah.

Don’t Forget to bring business cards!

Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. and the seminar starts at 9. For more information, visit slchamber.com.

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On March 26th 2015, Gail Miller will be honored as A Giant In Our City. The award is presented by the Salt Lake Chamber and is recognized as the most prestigious business award given in Utah. Mrs. Miller will be the 36th person to receive the award in its 45-year history.

Gail has a strong legacy of giving back to the communities where the Larry H. Miller Group conducts business. This includes financial contributions, as well as her time and service. Her community involvement is extensive and includes her role as chair of the board of trustees of Salt Lake Community College, serving on the National Advisory Council at the University of Utah, and sitting on the board of trustees for Intermountain Healthcare.

The Salt Lake Chamber established the Giant In Our City award in 1969. The award was created to honor exceptional and distinguished public service and extraordinary professional achievement. It is considered the Chamber’s most prestigious award and is given periodically by the Chamber Board of Governors. I want to personally congratulate Gail Miller and ask that you join me in recognizing our newest Giant in Our City!