Valpo Chamber’s Victory

Tania Kohut on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 12:00:00 am 
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Indiana’s Valpo Chamber is celebrating a big honor it received at last week’s Indiana Chamber Executives Association (ICEA) Annual Meeting and Awards Luncheon. The chamber was selected as the “2013 Chamber of Commerce of the Year” by an independent panel of out-of-state judges. The award is based on the U.S. Chamber’s accreditation process for local chambers, and highlights accomplishments in the areas of leadership, governance, finance, advocacy, and membership development.

“This great honor is a testament to the staff and board leadership of the Valpo Chamber who, over time, have set the bar high for performance and effectiveness on behalf of the members,” said Chamber President Rex Richards. “Everything that we do is for the benefit of our member investors. If our members are successful, then we are successful. It’s all about service.”

The Valpo Chamber is the only Northwest Indiana Chamber to have ever received “Chamber of Commerce of the Year.” Valpo won the same award in 2005.

"The hard work and dedication of the professionals at the Chamber is apparent through the works submitted for review by the judging panel," says Shelli Williams, ICEA President. "The Valpo Chamber was up against some very well-respected competition, so to take top honors like this really says a lot."

Read more about the win here.

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2013 Life Member Award

Tania Kohut on Friday, March 1, 2013 at 7:00:00 am 
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Nominations are currently being accepted for ACCE’s Life Member Award, the chamber profession’s highest personal honor. This year’s award will be presented during ACCE’s annual convention in Oklahoma City, July 23-26. For details, visit the award’s web page.

Eligibility Requirements:

The candidate’s chamber (current employer or chamber to which a retired candidate is most closely affiliated), must be a member in good standing of ACCE.

  • CEOs
    1. All retired CEOs with 12 or more years of service, who have been out of the profession for at least one year, may be nominated for Life Member consideration, regardless of current employment status. If less than 12 years as CEO, candidate must have been out of the chamber (or related) profession for at least 18 months prior to nomination.
    2. A currently serving CEO of a chamber or chamber-like organization may be nominated for Life Membership if he/she has served 12 or more years as CEO.  Those nominated for life membership while still serving as CEO of a chamber must be approved by the selection committee two consecutive years. 
  • Non-CEOs
    1. Staff members of chambers may be eligible for Life Member nomination following full retirement from the profession after at least 20 years of service.

To Nominate Someone:

  • Submit a one-page synopsis of how the nominee exemplifies the four characteristics celebrated by the Life Member Award.
  • Attach the nominee’s most current biography or resume.
  • In addition to the evidence of excellence in regards to the criteria, the nomination must include current contact information for the person being nominated. 
  • Submit all the information to ACCE by Friday, March 29.
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Sequestration Effects

Chaaron Pearson on Friday, March 1, 2013 at 12:00:00 am 
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Sequestration, government speak for automatic budget cuts, takes effect today. Here’s what you need to know: 

Stateline: Automatic defense cuts will deal blow to states
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell has been the face of concern among state officials as automatic cuts in the federal budget begin today. Virginia is particularly vulnerable as it is home to many defense contractors, the Pentagon and the nation’s largest naval base. 

Politico: Sequestration: So now what?
Sequestration officially starts Friday when the Office of Management and Budget issues a notice ordering agencies to make cuts of about 9 percent for most nondefense programs and about 13 percent for defense programs. 

Washington Post WonkBlog: This is what sequestration looks like
The Bipartisan Policy Center put out a chart this summer on how the sequester would work. It shows what cuts each government program could face. 

Washington Post WonkBlog: The states most and least affected by the sequester, in one chart
The Pew Center on the States has measured each state’s exposure to the sequester by calculating federal aid subject to the sequester as a percentage of the state’s total GDP.


Tags: what you need to know about the sequester, defense cuts, sequester, sequester charts, spending cuts

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ITT Campaign: Quarterly Report

Tania Kohut on Tuesday, February 26, 2013 at 12:00:00 am 
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Hot off the press - the winter edition of the "In This Together" investment campaign contributors' newsletter.  It's rewarding to see the fruits of our labors and your dollars!  The synergy linking individual investments is especially exciting.  ACCE thanks you for providing the added resources required to make your national association all that it must be to help those who make communities and regions prosper.






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Chamber Execs Prominent on Power Players List

Tania Kohut on Thursday, February 7, 2013 at 12:00:00 am 
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Cincy, the magazine for business professionals in the Cincinnati Metro tri-state region of Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, published its Power 100 list in the February issue, and it turns out that the list features a substantial number of people connected to chambers of commerce, either as chamber executives or volunteer chairs.

Included on the list, alongside the likes of Proctor & Gamble President and CEO Bob McDonald, House Speaker John Boehner, and Cincinnati Reds CEO Robert Castellini, are: 

  • Steve Stevens, president, Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce
  • Ellen van der Horst, president, CEO, Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber
  • Brent Cooper, immediate past chair of the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce
  • Alfonso Cornejo, president, Hispanic Chamber Cincinnati
  • Sean Rugless, president, CEO, Greater Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky African American Chamber of Commerce
  • Matthew Van Sant, president, CEO, Clermont Chamber of Commerce
  • Michael Fisher, president and CEO, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and former Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber president
  • Joseph Hinson, president, CEO, West Chester, Liberty Chamber Alliance

Click here to view the entire list.

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Chamber Wins 3 Emmy Awards

Tania Kohut on Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at 12:00:00 am 
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The Greater Memphis, Tenn., Chamber’s Communications & Programming Team recently brought home three Mid-South Emmy Awards in the Writing, Editing and Arts categories for “The Soundtrack Project.”

The Project, a series of eight documentary shorts – or movements – produced by the Greater Memphis Chamber, began in 2010 as a partnership between the Chamber and the Memphis Symphony Orchestra. The shorts bring together and highlight Memphis’ arts community and the local small business community through narrated stories and original music composed by symphony musicians.

“These multimedia movements serve as both a local point of pride and as a snapshot of Memphis’s business community for a global audience,” said John Moore, president and CEO of the Greater Memphis Chamber.  “You really get a sense of the authentic and determined spirit of our small business owners when you watch each video.”

According to the chamber’s press release, the businesses featured in the Soundtrack Project were chosen by the Chamber’s Small Business Council. The businesses then shared their experiences with Running Pony Productions, John Hubbell, Lance Murphey and the Memphis Symphony Orchestra who worked together to produce the final movements. The Symphony assigned three of its composers to work with the team, sending them on factory visits, citizenship swearing-ins, helicopter flights and canoe rides, to name a few.  Inspired by their interactions with the small businesses, the composers created original works, which when merged with the story, produced an insightful and honest movement for each short. 

Perhaps more Emmys are in the chamber’s future? Following overwhelming positive response, the chamber plans to produce more Soundtrack Project documentary shorts in the future. 



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Stateline 2013 State of the States

Chaaron Pearson on Monday, February 4, 2013 at 12:00:00 am 
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Stateline recently released its 13th annual State of the States looking at what key issues legislatures are debating this year.

Part One: Politics

This was the year of big majorities in state houses.

Part Two: Budgets

States are climbing out of their budget deficits, but Washington’s budget woes might dampen the rebound.

Part Three: Social Issues

States are moving faster than Washington on social issues.

Part Four: Environment

The nation is still recovering from 2012’s natural disasters and the forecast for 2013 doesn’t look much better.

Part Five: Health Care

The Affordable Care Act will bring the U.S. closer than ever to universal health insurance. Just how close it gets will be up to individual states.

Tags: 2013 State of the States, State of the States, Stateline

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For Your Members: Unconstitutional NLRB Recess Appointments

Chaaron Pearson on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 8:00:00 am 
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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 
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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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For Your Members: Don’t Wait to File New H1-B Petitions

Tania Kohut on Thursday, January 31, 2013 at 12:00:00 am 
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Here’s an item your members should take note of if they hire foreign nationals. This news alert, courtesy of Kansas City, MO, law firm Lathrop & Gage, LLP, came to ACCE’s attention from Mary Birch, former president of the Overland Park (KS) Chamber of Commerce. Today, Mary is the firm’s government relations coordinator.

The alert is reprinted here with permission from Lathrop & Gage, LLP.

Increase in Demand for H-1B Quota Suggests Employers Should Not Wait Beyond April 1, 2013, to File New H-1B Petitions

Employers who hire foreign nationals often do so in a classification under U.S. immigration law known as “H-1B.” This category is used often to fill jobs in occupations that typically require at least a bachelor’s level education in a specialized field. Examples of jobs for which the H-1B category is used might include engineers, physicians, graphic designers, scientists, accountants, and teachers.

To hire a worker in H-1B status, an employer must obtain authorization from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”). For many years, Congress has imposed an annual quota on the number of new H-1B cases USCIS can approve for a federal fiscal year (October 1 through September 30). An H-1B case can be filed up to 6 months in advance of the date an employer wants to hire a foreign worker. Hence, the earliest a case can be filed for the quota in an upcoming fiscal year is April 1 of the fiscal year before.

Prior to the downturn of the economy in 2008, the demand for H-1B workers consistently exceeded the annual quota. As a result, employers routinely filed all of their H-1B cases for an upcoming fiscal year on the April 1 before. USCIS then used a lottery to decide which cases it could process without exceeding the quota.

When the economy slowed, the demand for H-1B workers dropped dramatically, so it was no longer essential for an employer to file its H-1B cases for the next fiscal year by April 1 for the cases to have a shot at being processed. Over the last three years, however, the situation has changed. The period the quota for the next fiscal year has remained open after April 1 has gotten progressively shorter as the economy has improved.

For Fiscal Year 2011, the quota stayed open approximately nine months. For Fiscal Year 2012, the open period lasted approximately seven months. For the current fiscal year, 2013, the quota was only open for about two months.

It will therefore be prudent for employers who want to hire H-1B workers for Fiscal Year 2014, which starts October 1, 2013, to file their cases on April 1, 2013, lest they not be able to file at all. Considering the steps that need to be completed for filing, employers should begin the H-1B process in the next few weeks, if not sooner.

Examples of foreign national prospects for whom employers may need to file H-1B cases include the following:

  • Those in student (F-1) status who are currently employed based on Optional Practical Training (OPT) or Curricular Practical Training (CPT) authorization or who are about to complete their degree programs;
  • Those currently working for another employer in another nonimmigrant status such as L-1;
  • Those who may wish to change their nonimmigrant status to H-1B from another status, such as J-1 or TN; and
  • Those recruited from overseas.

The annual H-1B quota mandated by Congress is 65,000, with an additional 20,000 reserved for those who hold U.S. master’s degrees or higher. A limited number of employers - higher educational institutions, nonprofit entities affiliated with higher educational institutions and nonprofit and government research organizations - are not subject to the quota. A limited number of foreign nationals, such as those who have previously been counted towards the quota and granted H-1B status and physicians who have received “Conrad 30” waivers, are also exempt from the quota.


Lathrop & Gage, 2345 Grand Blvd., Suite 2200, Kansas City, Missouri 64108.
The information contained in this document is provided to alert you to legal developments and should not be considered legal advice. Specific questions about how this information affects your particular situation should be addressed to your legal counsel. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely on advertisements.


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