2010 Policy Clearinghouse Blog: Year in Review
2010: Policy Blog Year in Review
As this year draws to a close, here is a look back at a few of the news makers in 2010:
Prison Reform: Sentencing and Spending
Thanks to a partnership with the Pew Center on the States, ACCE has focused on the penal system and the impact of sentencing and prison spending on state budgets. Look for more information to come from states (like Indiana) that have focused on reviewing their state’s prison system. To read more about Indiana: Prison Study Recommendations Endorsed by Governor
Previous Prison Reform Blog Posts:
Increasing Demand for Corrections Reform – September 20, 2010
Indiana to Review Sentencing Policy and Prison Spending – July 14, 2010
Another heavily debated topic was the impact of public pensions on state budgets. Expect to hear more about this in 2011 as state budgets continue to tighten.
Previous Public Pension Blog Posts:
Schwarzenegger Weighs in on Public Pensions – August 30, 2010
Chicago Suburb Examines Public Pensions – August 27, 2010
Testing Public Pension Options – August 27, 2010
Arizona Immigration Law
The passage of the Arizona Immigration Law was one of the most controversial stories of 2010 and it looks like 2011 could bring similar laws in more states. According to a study by the National Immigration Forum (who is against Arizona’s immigration legislation), seven states are “likely” to pass a law similar to Arizona’s in the coming year. To read more: States could follow Arizona on immigration. Complete Report: National Immigration Forum
Previous Arizona Immigration Law Blog Posts:
Utah Compact on Immigration – November 18, 2010
AZ Laws Spreading, Rhetoric Heating Up – July 9, 2010
Time to Tackle Immigration Reform – May 27, 2010
2010 has been a historic year for healthcare. Between the passage of the reform bill, the Virginia court ruling and the pending healthcare lawsuit in Florida, healthcare will be a topic that carries far into 2011 and beyond.
ACCE Board Member To Ring in New Year with Award Honor
ACCE board member John E. Harmon, Sr., president and CEO of The African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey, Inc., will receive the LEGACY Award for Leadership from The 100 Black Men of New Jersey, Inc. Harmon will be honored during the group's New Year’s Eve formal event on Friday, December 31.
According to Harmon, “there is no greater honor than to be recognized by your peers. The 100 Black Men is a national organization that has an extensive history of making positive contributions to society.”
Prior to Harmon’s current role, he served as the president and CEO of The Metropolitan Trenton African American Chamber of Commerce for 10 years.
Harmon has been featured on television, radio, and several newspapers, including the cover of Mercer Business Magazine and NJ Biz. He is the recipient of several business and community awards including The New Jersey Transit Outstanding Service Award, Regional Alliance for Small Contractors “Partnerships That Work” Award, NAACP Freedom Award for Business, and a Humanitarian Award from The National Conference for Community and Justice. In addition to serving on ACCE's board, Harmon serves on the board of directors of The National Black Chamber of Commerce.
Building a United Front in St. Louis
A Post-Dispatch article from last week chronicles the long journey St. Louis has made over the past fifteen yearstoward regional cooperation. It is a familiar story – fragmented local jurisdictions slowly learning to present a united front, rather than compete, to attract investments and jobs to the region - with a familiar hero – the local chamber of commerce. Here’s an excerpt:
“When Dick Fleming arrived in 1994 to run St. Louis' economic development effort, he found a landscape that looked more tribal than regional.
Various city and suburban agencies made their own pitches to employers wanting to move or expand — in competition rather than cooperation. Some counties defined success by how many businesses they could lure from the city of St. Louis. ….
As part of the RCGA's first regional plan, which launched in 1995, Fleming made the various cities and counties agree to a no-raiding pledge.
They had to stop recruiting companies on one another's turf. They can't publicly disparage any part of the St. Louis area. If approached by a company from within the metro area, they must notify the company's current city or county to see if its needs can be met there.”
This is great earned media on an issue that doesn’t get enough public attention. It also highlights the important work done by the local chamber of commerce.
Check out the full article - RCGA works to unify a divided region
Private-School Vouchers Making a Come-Back
Although private-school vouchers were noticeably absent from Bush’s No Child Left Behind legislation and Obama’s Race to the Top grant, they are making a comeback led by newly elected governors in Florida, Nevada and Wisconsin.
Vouchers are nothing new in Florida, but governor-elect Rick Scott’s proposal is the most extensive of the new plans. Scott wants to create “education savings accounts” that would help pay private-school tuition for any student in the state, not just low-income students. With Florida in the spotlight for school reform, the Washington Post’s Valerie Strauss interviewed Professor Sherman Dorn of the University of South Florida to discuss the Jeb Bush package of educational reforms and their impact. To read more visit - The Answer Sheet.
Milwaukee paved the way for large-scale private-school vouchers in 1990 and Wisconsin’s governor-elect is looking to expand the Milwaukee voucher program. The U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Science has used Milwaukee’s system to research the impact of the voucher system on education. Visit the Institute of Education Sciences' What Works website for the results of their research.
Nevada’s governor-elect hopes to pass a constitutional amendment to the state constitution that paves the way for private-school vouchers, but he is meeting some resistance from the state schools superintendent. To read more: Nevada School Chief Calls Vouchers Too Costly
To read more: Private-School Vouchers Return to Education Agenda
A Changing of the Guard in Fox Cities (WI)
Bill Welch “never looked back” after deciding to take a chamber job over 38 years ago. He has been dedicated to the profession for that entire time and in the same location for almost 25 years. He will be retiring this year but he is taking a long-term, structured approach to the transition in order to support his organization to succeed as he moves on. Read the Fox Cities Chamber Business interview here:
Chillicothe-Ross Chamber Investigates Technology Trends
In partnership with the Ohio Chamber of Commerce and a non-profit organization called Technology for Ohio’s Tomorrow, the Chillicothe-Ross Chamber is asking members to participate in a survey to gain insight on whether the technology industry is growing and creating jobs in their area. Read more here about the survey and who is taking it: http://www.chillicothegazette.com/article/20101210/NEWS01/12100317/1002/Chillicothe-Chamber-of-Commerce-members-asked-to-participate-in-online-survey
Excellence Recognized in Myrtle Beach
The Myrtle Beach Chamber has been recognized as one of the best marketing organizations worldwide. They had to meet a number of standards in order to be selected by the Destination Marketing Accreditation Program (DMAP) as a “proper destination marketing association”. Read more about their award here: http://www2.scnow.com/news/2010/dec/10/myrtle-beach-chamber-recognized-service-excellence-ar-1205150/
Get Ready for the "Next Economy"
VA Court Finds Provision of ObamaCare Unconstitutional
Yesterday, a federal district court in Virginia ruled that the individual mandate, the regulation that requires the purchase of health insurance under penalty of fine, in Obama’s healthcare plan is unconstitutional.
In his opinion, Judge Hudson points to the Commerce Clause as the root of this case. He argues that the justice department cannot maintain that the mandate is essentially a tax when the bill imposes a penalty for those that fail to purchase health insurance. He said that no court has ever extended Commerce Clause powers to require an individual to involuntarily purchase a commodity in the private market.
Both sides of the issue can claim a bit of victory or defeat as Judge Hudson’s ruling has only found the individual mandate portion of the healthcare bill unconstitutional and he didn’t enjoin the law’s implementation pending appeal.
To read more: ObamaCare Loses in Court
In related healthcare news, Vermont’s governor-elect, Peter Shumlin is looking into a single-payer health system for the state. William Hsiao, a Harvard economist, and Jonathan Gruber, an M.I.T. economist, were charged with researching how a single-payer system would work in Vermont. Hsiao is credited with designing Taiwan’s single-payer system, while Gruber was one of the minds behind Massachusetts’ health care system and the federal health care reform bill.
One issue that Vermont will be testing is the power of the state government to push all private insurance companies out of its state.
To read more: In Vermont, single-payer health care in a single state
Businesses "Lead the Way" in Green Bay
Through a new promotional initiative set to launch next year, the Green Bay Area (WI) Chamber of Commerce will highlight how the Chamber and its 1400 member businesses "Lead the Way." According to Chamber president Paul Jadin, "We need to show that businesses are thriving (in Northeastern Wisconsin), and it's not just the chamber of commerce leading the way. Our members are leading the way." The initiative will focus on four areas that encompass the work of the chamber: advocacy, credibility, economic development and business success and networking. Read more about the initiative here: http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/article/20101205/GPG03/12050654/1247