The Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce announced that its legislative priorities for the First Regular Session of Arizona’s 53rd Legislature will focus on reforming the citizen initiative process, a structurally balanced state budget and updating laws to help businesses quickly address ADA-related issues.

Serving as a unified voice for its 2,400 member businesses at each level of government, the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce’s public affairs team looks forward to advocating at the Arizona Legislature for these key issues on behalf of its Chamber members:

Reforming the initiative process
Arizona is great for one simple reason – the people. Arizonans deserve the right to choose the policies that govern where they live and the leaders who enact them. Unfortunately, our citizen initiative process has been hijacked several times by out-of-state groups who are motivated by their own interests to make sweeping changes with consequences that we – not them – have to face each day. We can no longer enable out-of-state interests to treat our state as a test bed for ill-conceived proposals. Changes should be made by Arizonans, for Arizonans. The Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce supports a full review and reform of Arizona’s citizen initiative process, to place the balance of this substantial power back where it belongs – in the hands of Arizonans.

ADA-compliance lawsuit reform
The Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce fully supports the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, transportation, public accommodation, communications and governmental activities. However over the last year, 1,700+ lawsuits were filed by Phoenix-based Advocates for Individuals with Disabilities (AID) against metro Phoenix businesses. These lawsuits were not about obtaining compliance to the ADA, but rather extorting money from honest and hardworking business owners who often had minor violations. There will likely be a few bills addressing this issue and the Chamber looks forward to working with the disability community to ensure businesses are given the opportunity to fix any violations before a lawsuit is filed.

Structurally balanced state budget
The Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce is in favor of keeping Arizona’s budget structurally balanced. The Chamber supports a fiscally responsible plan that addresses key areas in education funding and workforce development while maintaining the implementation of business-friendly regulations and tax reductions. The Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce applauds and thanks Gov. Doug Ducey for putting a large focus of his FY 2018 budget proposal on K-12 and university funding, especially since the workforce shortage continues to be an issue for the state. Investing in education and continuing to move the needle on improving our K-12 and higher-education systems is a top priority.

“This is not intended as an all-inclusive list, but is aimed at providing some general issues and measures that the Chamber’s public affairs team is monitoring early in the 2017 session that supports a healthy business environment in the Greater Phoenix region,” stated Mike Huckins, the Chamber’s vice president of public affairs. “The Chamber also will have a significant presence at the state Capitol to strategically support initiatives needed to facilitate the attraction, retention and expansion of the region’s businesses and economy.”

For more information on the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce’s legislative priorities, contact the Chamber’s Public Affairs Vice President Mike Huckins at 602.495.6474 or mhuckins@phoenixchamber.com.

About the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce
Representing 2,400 businesses across the Greater Phoenix region, the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce promotes regional prosperity by serving as a catalyst for economic vitality and strong communities. The Chamber pursues this mission by collaborating with business, political and community leaders to grow the regional talent pool, create a regional approach to economic development and drive a pro-Arizona agenda.

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