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FD Area Chamber of Commerce key legislative issues

March 7, 2010
Messenger News



Twelve representatives of the Fort Dodge community spent time at Capitol Hill this week talking to congressional staffers about job training programs and the effort to redevelop downtown. They are hoping to receive some federal money to help pay for these projects.



Funnel week ended on Friday. This was the final day bills from one chamber had to pass out of a committee in the other chamber. Look for The Messenger to keep you informed of what did and what did not stay alive. Numerous bills assisting veterans and active duty service personnel and their families are still alive. Public safety has several bills still going forward such as texting while driving, penalties for running a red light, seat belts for backseat passengers, graduated licenses and grandparent rights for visitation. Of those that are classified as dead, prevailing wage and fair share did not get out of committee, but can be added to appropriation bills. On the business side, mandatory paid sick leave and written policies for employees concerning benefits died in committee.

Now the legislators will begin in earnest looking at the state budget. Several weeks ago, the leadership of both chambers presented their budget targets to the appropriation subcommittees. Although six were held harmless, or saw very little change from the governor's proposal, the Health and Human Services targets were $172 million less. Locally, this will have an impact on the Department of Human Services and Department of Public Health. DHS is estimating it could see a reduction in force of as many as 516 employees in its field offices across the state through layoffs and early retirement. This could affect the length of time clients receive services, the ability to address child and adult abuse issues in a timely manner and the reduction in local DHS offices to serve clients.

Education and work force training issues

In business today, no competition is tougher than the global race for talent. In every industry, every job sector and every part of the world, employers are asking the same question: How are we going to find, train, and retain the best workers?

To keep America competitive and strong, the business community must be actively engaged on issues related to our nation's educational system as a means to ensure an educated citizenry of self-sufficient, lifelong learners who have the skills needed to thrive in the global workplace, today and in the future. That is why the Fort Dodge Area Chamber of Commerce is monitoring the U.S. Chamber education agenda.

Building the foundation - early childhood and pre-kindergarten

Studies by the Federal Reserve Bank of Minnesota reveal that the capacity for developmental skills begins in the first five years of life. This is the beginning point for a person's creativity, communication, team working, problem solving and critical thinking skills.

Identifying elements of a successful K-12 system

The toughest, most important competitive race in the 21st-century, worldwide economy will be the global race for talent and workers. For the American Dream to thrive, it will require economic prosperity and opportunity for every American - and that requires a quality, rigorous, well-rounded education that prepares our youth for the challenges of today and tomorrow. To ensure every child receives a quality education, the Chamber believes there needs to be a focus on human talent, effective systems, innovation and measurement.

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If there are other issues of importance that you feel are not being addressed, please contact the Chambers Legislative Committee at

Submitted by the Fort Dodge Area Chamber of Commerce Legislative Committee.



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