For more than 130 years, Commerce Lexington Inc. and its predecessors have served as the lead advocate for the Central Kentucky business community at all levels of government. Our ongoing strength and effectiveness resides in the collective focus of some 1,700 members – members who believe in free enterprise, understand the need to forge and readily embrace change, and who work to enhance the power of education to change lives and the economy.
In today's political and economic times, it is critical that your business have representation to monitor and lobby on your behalf the important issues that face you at a local, state and federal level. Commerce Lexington's Public Policy Team has the experience and resources to represent you from City Hall to our nation's Capitol. Most Commerce Lexington members can't afford a full-time staff person and/or lobbyist to monitor every bill and regulation that moves through Frankfort which can dramatically
impact business. That is why Commerce Lexington's public policy efforts are critical for its members. Only Commerce Lexington can understand your local needs, state needs and federal needs, because just like you - we're located in Central Kentucky.
Commerce Lexington Inc. Releases 2013 Public Policy Statements in Advance of Legislative Session
Commerce Lexington Inc. released the organization’s 2013 public policy statements, prior to the start of the 2013 Regular Session of the Kentucky General Assembly. The 30-day Legislative Session begins on January 8, 2013.
Commerce Lexington’s public policy statements represent the organization’s legislative priorities at the federal, state and local levels of government. The organization’s annual public policy statements are the direct result of the hard work and effort put forth by Commerce Lexington Inc.’s Public Policy Council. The Public Policy Council is a crucial part of Commerce Lexington’s public policy efforts and is comprised of thirty-four volunteer members that represent a broad spectrum of the organization’s 1,700 member companies, including local government, large and small businesses, education groups, utilities and nonprofits.
Bob Quick, Commerce Lexington Inc. president and CEO, said, “I would like to commend the members of the Public Policy Council for their hard work and attention to detail in formulating this year’s policy statements. The 2013 statements represent our commitment to protecting businesses throughout our region and to working with our elected officials and partners to find solutions to the most pressing issues facing the Commonwealth.”
Commerce Lexington is committed to serving Central Kentucky’s business community by advocating for pro-business legislation at all levels of government, while maintaining the relationships with our federal, state and local elected officials and their staffs. Commerce Lexington and its Public Policy Council will continue to work tirelessly to protect the viability of our state’s small businesses as well as our Commonwealth’s signature industries.
2013 COMMERCE LEXINGTON INC. PUBLIC POLICY STATEMENTS
Commerce Lexington Inc. Provides Comments on U.S. EPA Hearings
Commerce Lexington Inc. submitted comments to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) during its public hearings in Kentucky recently, expressing our concern about the EPA’s decision to circumvent its own federal rulemaking process as it pertains to the Clean Water Act (CWA) and its objections to 36 individual permits that would authorize new or expanded surface coal mining activities in eastern Kentucky.
The EPA’s decision to object to these permits has cost the Commonwealth thousands of jobs and continues to negatively impact Kentucky’s economy. The EPA’s rejection of the last 19 most recent CWA permit applications resulted in a direct loss of 3,800 mining jobs in Kentucky as well as a direct loss of more than $123 million in coal severance taxes. The recent announcement by Arch Coal and its decision to lay off hundreds of Kentucky coal miners shows the direct impact that these stringent regulatory decisions are having on one of Kentucky’s signature industries.
Commerce Lexington Inc. urged the EPA to withdraw its pending objections to the KPDES permits and encouraged the agency to work closely with the Kentucky Division of Water to develop regulatory requirements that will allow the mining of coal to continue in Kentucky, protecting the health and safety of our citizens, while ensuring future job creation and economic growth.
Commerce Lexington Inc.'s Public Policy Process
Commerce Lexington's Public Policy Council is the bricks, mortar and labor that make the structure that is Commerce Lexington's Public Policy effort. The council members and chair are all volunteers and represent a variety of non-profit, local government, large and small businesses, education groups and utilities representing a broad spectrum of Commerce Lexington's 1,700 member companies. The Council's Chairman is appointed annually by the Chair of the Board of Commerce Lexington.
The Public Policy Council meets monthly May through December and establishes the agenda for Commerce Lexington for the upcoming session. During these meetings, the Council hears from a variety of groups, non-profits and businesses that want to join Commerce Lexington in advocating for their positions in Frankfort and Washington.
After the Public Policy Council approves the policy statement, the positions are then approved by Commerce Lexington's Executive Board. Once approved, the statements are published annually in Commerce Lexington's "Legislative Focus." Copies of the agenda are distributed to all of Commerce Lexington's members, all 138 members of the General Assembly and the Governor's Office.
In the heat of a Legislative Session, there are always important and timely legislative issues and bills that arise. When the Public Policy Council is asked to weigh-in on legislation, emergency meetings take place for the Council to take up the legislation and create Commerce Lexington's position. The position is then presented to the Executive Board for approval if time allows.