Chamber set to discuss legislative issues

PARKERSBURG – The Chamber of Commerce of the Mid-Ohio Valley will be presenting its positions on topics this morning as state lawmakers prepare for the legislative session next week.

The chamber’s Government Relations Committee will present its findings in its 2013 Legislative Position Papers with its members and legislators 8 a.m. today in the City Council Chambers at the Parkersburg City Building.

”The chamber and its members take pride in developing relationships with our elected officials,” Chamber President and CEO Jill Parsons said. ”From the chamber’s perspective, legislative actions and decisions often impact our local businesses so having opportunities to communicate with one another is invaluable.”

Each year the chamber’s Government Relations Committee prepares “positions” on key legislative topics, Parsons said. The committee reviews the state chamber’s stance on issues that may come before elected officials during the upcoming session in Charleston.

”We review other hot topics and look for those with importance to our membership, taking into account the fact that we are a border region and the various categories of businesses represented in the Mid-Ohio Valley,” she said. ”Some issues are more important to our local chamber and vice versa, there are some state chamber issues that aren’t pertinent to our membership. But in most instances our local chamber’s stance matches the state chamber.”

At today’s session, the chamber will be reviewing education reform, broadband access, mandated health insurance, wage payment act and tax reform.

”While the primary goal is to arm our elected officials and chamber members with information about key legislative issues, I hope that many chamber members attend this presentation so that they meet our legislators,” Parsons said. ”Legislators often contact business leaders for input when reviewing legislation; business owners provide guidance on how legislation might impact their operations.

”Having a good working relationship with your elected officials truly benefits both parties.”

Attorney Aaron Boone, from Bowles Rice, will give chamber members a quick review of the Business Court seminar held by the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce recently.

Chamber members will travel to Charleston on March 12 for MOV Chamber Day at the Capitol. Last year, the chamber had more than 28 members at the MOV Chamber Day, representing a variety of businesses and organizations. They had lunch with the legislators, watched sessions and attended committee meetings.

Parsons believes education, roads, health exchange and job growth will be key topics state lawmakers will be dealing with in the upcoming session.

”All of these issues affect our local business climate, but more importantly, business owners are looking for stability in the economy and support from our state so that they can prosper,” she said.