Who would have thought a very small bug (aka COVID-19) could turn the world upside down in less than 90 days? I took a sneak peek back at my March Chairman’s column and saw a normal world where I was talking about the legislative session and how the Chamber was your advocate and your voice on the 700 bills that had been introduced so far in the session. Fourteen days after the publication of that column the General Assembly “left the building” and only just returned on May 26th.
As I write the column for our June newsletter, we are celebrating the Mesa County Phase 2 Reopening Plan where most businesses are able to open at 50% as long as we all wear masks and stay six feet away from each other. And guess what? The Chamber is still advocating for you (no bug will stop us!) as over 20 members of our Board and Governmental Affairs Committee joined the Chamber as a whole in writing letters in support of Mesa County Public Health’s second variance request. We wanted state leaders to know that we as a community were supportive of that request. We know that we can open in such a way that our customers and our employees feel safe.
Back on the state legislature front, there are a host of bills now that are aimed at dealing with COVID-19 and the effects of the budget shortfall, that simply are not business friendly. Hopefully by the time you read this, the concept of making employers prove that employees who are filing for workers’ compensation did not get COVID-19 at work is a memory and that efforts to charge small employer groups a surcharge to keep the reinsurance fund solvent have gone away. Our Chamber is committed to helping lawmakers see how fragile our economies, fueled by small businesses such as yours, are and conveying forcefully that now is not the time for more regulations and fees.
On the federal level we have you covered as well. I want to invite you to our first ever virtual Chamber Quarterly Membership Meeting on Monday, June 16th at 12:00 PM. Ashlee Rich Stephenson, Vice President and National Political Director, Political Affairs and Federation Relations, U.S. Chamber of Commerce will be our keynote speaker. She will be providing an update on what is happening in Congress and preview the 2020 election.
So, yes, the bug turned our world upside down but here at the Chamber we never lost sight of our mission and focus. We are working as hard as we can to turn your world back right side up!