OKC VeloCity | Chamber announces public policy agenda for 2021

Chamber announces public policy agenda for 2021

By Chamber Staff / Policy / January 11, 2021

The Chamber recently released its public policy priorities for 2021. Below is an excerpt of key issues at the state, local and federal level. Read the full list at okcchamber.com/legislative.

County Government Reform
The Chamber supports empowering Oklahoma counties to alter their form of government to meet their unique needs.

Workers’ Comp Reform
The Chamber supports defending and improving the comprehensive workers’ compensation reform legislation enacted during the 2013 session.

Economic Development Programs
The Chamber supports retaining and strengthening the state’s premier economic/community development programs which are critical in attracting new businesses to the state, assisting existing companies expand and encouraging investment in communities across the state. Following are the key programs the Chamber will seek to protect:
Quality Jobs Act, 21st Century QJA, Small Employer QJA and the Prime Contractor QJA
Aerospace Engineer Tax Credit
Investment/New Jobs Tax Credit
Historical Building Rehabilitation Tax Credit
Cyber-security/Software Engineer Tax Credit
Five-year ad valorem abatement and sales tax exemption for manufacturing facilities
Regional Home Office Insurance Premium Tax Credit
The Chamber supports adapting Oklahoma’s film incentive program to encourage production companies and studios to bring multiple films/projects to the state.
The Chamber will support efforts to reinstate the Tax Credit for Energy Efficient Homes and to protect the Affordable Housing Tax Credit.

Broadband/Data Privacy

The Chamber:
Supports protecting Oklahoma’s pro-investment environment to facilitate the development of telecommunication infrastructure
Supports efforts to remove barriers to broadband access in Oklahoma such as ensuring providers are reasonably charged for use of the public rights of way and facilities within the rights of way
Supports common sense protections against the unauthorized collection or sale of personal data and opposes state-level efforts that conflict with federal laws and regulations regarding data privacy

Legal Reform
The Chamber supports the following legal reforms:
Amending public and private nuisance laws to avoid misuse
Placing a reasonable limit on non-economic damages

Incentive Evaluation Commission
The Chamber supports the Oklahoma Incentive Evaluation Commission, which was established to make recommendations to the Legislature and Governor on which incentive programs are serving their intended purpose and creating economic/community development. If an incentive program cannot show a positive return to the state, it should be scaled-back or repealed.

Wind Subsidies
The Chamber supports ending the Manufacturer’s Sales Tax Exemption for new wind facilities and requiring the Zero-Emissions Tax Credit to be claimed only as a credit and not as a refund.

Gun Legislation
The Chamber supports the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the responsible expansion of gun-owner’s rights in Oklahoma. However, the Chamber will oppose legislation that would allow open/concealed carry of guns into high-economic impact events (many of which are required by contract to prohibit weapons), including Horse Shows, the Oklahoma State Fair, Olympic Qualifying on the Oklahoma River, High School Basketball and Wrestling Tournaments at the State Fairgrounds and NCAA and Big XII sporting events.
The Chamber will oppose legislation to allow guns to be carried on college campuses.

The Chamber will lead the efforts of the “Oklahomans for Business and Property Owners’ Rights” coalition to defend against harmful gun legislation and work with the National Rifle Association, the Oklahoma Second Amendment Association and other stakeholders to improve and clarify existing gun laws while, at the same time, ensuring the protection of property rights and public safety.

Criminal Justice/Sentencing Reform
The Chamber supports legislation and funding for sentencing reforms and rehabilitation programs to ease the financial drain on Oklahoma’s criminal justice system, lessen the burden on jails and prisons throughout the state and allow non-violent offenders to enter the workforce more quickly.

The Chamber supports the efforts of the Criminal Justice Reclassification Council created pursuant to HB 1098 (2018).

The Chamber also supports: 1) continuing smart sentencing reform; 2) improving bail and jail practices; 3) making reentry and supervision improvements to reduce fines and fees, enhance workforce opportunities and increase public safety; and 4) securing additional treatment funding.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
The Chamber understands the importance of a diverse and inclusive community. We recognize the power of diversity is released when we respect and value differences. The business community will strive to be an effective partner in creating dialogue and finding solutions to issues around inclusive economic development, equitable business practices and criminal justice reform. The Chamber supports:
Growing minority businesses
Practices that enable inclusive hiring and retention
Providing education, learning and training opportunities for everyone
Building a diverse and culturally sensitive workforce

Pension Reform
The Chamber supports protecting the pension reforms which have improved the long-term fiscal condition of the state.

Paid Family Leave Mandates
The Chamber opposes state legislation to create a paid family leave program mandating participation by private sector employers that goes beyond federal level requirements.

Medical Marijuana
The chamber supports additional legislation to protect an employer’s’ right to maintain a drug-free workplace, enforce policies to prohibit employee impairment during work hours and other business friendly reforms.

Water
The Chamber will work with the Governor, State Legislature, City of OKC and other stakeholders to ensure the availability of a long-term water supply for central Oklahoma.

Oil & Gas Tax
The Chamber supports a stable oil and gas tax structure which promotes the investment of drilling capital in Oklahoma.

I2E/OCAST
The Chamber supports continued funding for i2E programs, including the Seed Capital Fund.

The Chamber encourages the State of Oklahoma to invest in OCAST’s support of small and medium size companies. By funding advanced research & development through Industry Innovation, OCAST can stimulate public-private collaboration and financial resources resulting in the greatest potential for commercialization aiding a company’s ability to economically recover and compete in the global marketplace.

Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET)
The Chamber supports the constitutional provisions of the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) to support the public health of Oklahomans.

Immigration Reform - Federal
The Chamber supports federal immigration reform to secure the borders and establish reasonable and effective visa policies/procedures to attract essential workers to the United States.

A more complete version of this article originally appeared in the Jan. 2021 edition of The Point. See a complete list of priorities at okcchamber.com/legislative.

Total Votes: 129 Avg Vote: 1