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STATEWIDE POLITICAL REFORM
ISSUE      Californians for a Fresh Start Statewide Term Limits Initiative  
       
BACKGROUND     Improves state term limits law by reducing state legislator's time in office from 14 to 12 years, to be served in the Assembly, Senate or a combination of the two. This measure does not benefit any current or former lawmaker. 
       
BUSINESS IMPACT     Will significantly reduce the "musical chairs" in Sacramento that contribute to the State's legislative dysfunction, allowing lawmakers to spend more time developing expertise and focusing on long-term policy solutions. 
       
STATUS     Nearly 1 million signatures submitted to the Secretary of State's office. Initiative is expected to qualify for the February 2012 ballot.
       
TAKE ACTION     Vote for Californians for a Fresh Start in February 2012.
       
COMMITTEE/
STAFF
    Executive and Board of Directors
Vice President of Public Policy and Political Affiars Ruben Gonzalez
 
BUSINESS CLIMATE
ISSUE     L.A. City Business Tax Advisory Committee (Gross Receipts Tax Reform)
       
BACKGROUND     The Chamber successfully advocated for the creation of a new Business Tax Advisory Committee (BTAC) at City Hall charged with recommending tax reduction and simplification reforms by the end of 2010.
       
BUSINESS IMPACT     The City's gross receipts tax makes L.A. one of the highest-taxed cities in Southern California. Businesses also complain about the onerous tax filing process and arbitrary reclassifications into higher tax brackets.
       
STATUS     1. APPROVED: Three-year tax holiday for all new businesses through 2013.  
2. APPROVED: New taxpayer's Bill of Rights 
3. City to contract out external study on across-the-board tax rate reductions.
       
COMMITTEE/
STAFF 
    Government & Civic Issues
Vice President of Public Policy and Political Affiars Ruben Gonzalez

ISSUE     CEQA Reform 
       
BACKGROUND     The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQAY) requires that all state and local agencies must give major consideration to environmental protection in regulating public and private activities, and should not approve projects for which there exist feasible and environmentally superior mitigation measures or alternatives.
       
BUSINESS IMPACT     Originally intended for "public" projects, CEQA now captures nearly all projects within California.  The law is often abused for non-environmental reasons in order to stop projects.  Fixing CEQA including strengthening expemptions is vital to CA businesses.  
       
STATUS     SB 292 and AB 900 SB 292 streamlines CEQA review for the proposed LA Stadium.   The process allows for specified administrative and judicial procedures that caps the review period to 175 days.  AB 900 allows the Governor to apply the same expedited review process to other large projects throughout the state.
       
COMMITTEE/
STAFF 
    CEQA Taskforce
Director of Public Policy Jessica Duboff
       
REGIONAL ECONOMIC ENGINES   
ISSUE      Local Ports & Goods Movement 
       
BACKGROUND     The Chamber advocates for (1) expediting terminal improvement projects; (2) ensuring an economically feasible clean air action plan; and (3) opposing mandates or new fees on port customers. 
       
BUSINESS IMPACT     The Port of Los Angeles is a $50 billion per year regional economic engine, and supporting pro-customer priorities and infrastructure improvements are essential to maintaining the Port as the nation's busiest complex.  
       
PROBABILITY OF SUCCESS     Transportation & Goods Movement
Director of Public Policy Jessica Duboff 

 
ISSUE      30/10 Transportation Plan 
       
BACKGROUND     The plan (adopted by MTA in April 2010) would seek federal funding to accelerate the financing of $40 billion in Measure R projects from 30 years to within the next decade. 
       
BUSINESS IMPACT     This innovative plan would create thousands of near-term construction and related industry jobs. Accelerating these projects will reduce traffic congestion and improve our quality of life.
       
STATUS     The 30/10 transportation plan has been rolled into a larger federal proposal called America Fast Forward.  The proposal is part of draft language in both the House and Senate versions of the upcoming transportation bill.
       
COMMITTEE/
STAFF 
    Transportation & Goods Movement
Director of Public Policy Jessica Duboff  

ISSUE     LAX Modernization 
       
BACKGROUND     With terminal improvement projects underway, the Chamber is focusing on rebuilding the northern runways to improve safety and accommodate the next generation of larger aircraft.  Community opposition is a major obstacle.
       
BUSINESS IMPACT     Failure to fix the north airfield threatens passenger safety and incentivizes airlines to shift flights to airports outside of Southern California. Losing one international flight is a $723 million hit to the local economy and costs 3,300 jobs over the course of a year. 
       
STATUS     Ongoing terminal renovations continue to move forward.  Support for funding of NextGen, a modernization of the U.S. air traffic system which allows for shorter routes, reduction in traffic delays, increase capacity and safety.
       
COMMITTEE/
STAFF 
    Aviation
Vice President of Public Policy and Political Affiars Ruben Gonzalez
       
GOVERNANCE & FISCAL REFORM     
ISSUE      Los Angeles Department of Water & Power Governance 
       
BACKGROUND     The LADWP must reform its governance structure and strategic operations. Future rate increases are expected with no certainty about renewable energy plans or infrastructure improvement programs. LADWP is also a highly-politicized funding source for the City's general fund leading to a fiscally unhealthy back and forth between the department and City officials.
       
BUSINESS IMPACT     Higher water and power rates will directly impact the financial bottom line of City businesses. Failure to ensure proper oversight creates an uncertain and expensive future for City ratepayers.  
       
COMMITTEE/
STAFF 
    Energy, Water & Environment
Public Policy Manager Frank Lopez

REGIONAL STEWARDSHIP 
ISSUE      Business Leaders Homelessness Task Force (Partnership with United Way of Greater Los Angeles) 
       
BACKGROUND      The Chamber and United Way formed a business leaders' task force to develop specific policy proposals for reducing chronic homelessness in Los Angeles via Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH). Co-chaired by Board member Jerry Neuman, Sheppard Mullin, the task force meets regularly to analyze/develop recommendations. 
       
BUSINESS IMPACT      Los Angeles is the nation's epicenter for chronic homelessness which hurts storefront businesses and contributes to crime. PSH costs taxpayers 42 percent less than usual public services for chronically homeless. This unique partnership between the Chamber and United Way is a national model for business/nonprofit collaboration. 
       
STATUS     Task force staffed by the Chamber and United Way of Greater Los Angeles has produced a set of recommendations on how to best address the issue of homelessness.  We are working with City and community leaders to implement these proposals.
       
COMMITTEE/
STAFF 
    Land Use, Construction & Housing
Director of Public Policy Jessica Duboff
       
EDUCATION & WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT   
ISSUE       AB 130 (Cedillo) Dream Act (Support)
       
BACKGROUND      Allows students on a path to citizenship to receive state financial aid to attend California universities and community colleges
       
BUSINESS IMPACT       Supports student access to our higher education system and increase our educated workforce population to rebuild and sustain our economy
       
STATUS     SIGNED
       
COMMITTEE/
STAFF 
    Education & Workforce Development
Education Policy & Public Affairs Manager Sonia Campos-Rivera

ISSUE      AB 250 (Brownley) Common Core Standards [Chamber-Sponsored Legislation]
       
BACKGROUND     Establishes clear goals for learning in order to prepare students for success in college and careers.
       
BUSINESS IMPACT     Creates a framework for California to establish education standards for 21st century competitiveness.
       
STATUS     SIGNED
       
COMMITTEE/
STAFF 
    Education & Workforce Development
Policy and Program Manager Chelsey Rask

ISSUE      AB 790 (Furutani) Linked Learning Pilot Program  [Chamber-Sponsored Legislation]
       
BACKGROUND     Establishes a Linked Learning high school pilot program that would allow participating districts to implement a district-wide Linked Learning approach in all high schools, incorporating strategies such as small schools, problem-based instruction methods and applied learning throughout all subject areas. 
       
BUSINESS IMPACT     Linked Learning transforms students' high school experience by bringing together strong academics, demanding technical education and real-world experience to help students gain an advantage in high school, postsecondary education and careers.
       
STATUS     SIGNED
       
COMMITTEE/
STAFF 
    Education & Workforce Development
Education Policy & Public Affairs Manager Sonia Campos-Rivera
       
 ISSUE      AB 1304 (Block) Linked Learning [Chamber-Sponsored Legislation]
       
 BACKGROUND     Supports teacher development, understanding and implementation of applied learning strategies in the classroom, as well as creates a visible teacher pipeline for Linked Learning pathways throughout California.
       
 BUSINESS IMPACT     Improves preparation and professional development of teachers that provide instruction in applied learning programs and would improve existing teacher training programs. This approach will help educate a more highly trained, flexible workforce. 
       
 STATUS     SIGNED
       
 COMMITTEE/
STAFF
    Education & Workforce Development
Policy and Program Manager Chelsey Rask
       
 ISSUE      SB 650 (Lowenthal) College Promise Act (Support)
       
 BACKGROUND     Ensures the intent of the Long Beach College Promise, a nationally-recognized educational partnership between Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD), Long Beach Community College (LBCC) and California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) to provide students with an aligned sequence of rigorous high school coursework leading to capstone college courses.
       
 BUSINESS IMPACT     Supports student access to our higher education system and identifies unique and creative ways to enable, support and perpetuate Long Beach College Promise-like partnerships to improve education outcomes for all students.
       
 STATUS      SIGNED
       
 COMMITTEE/
STAFF
    Education & Workforce Development
Education Policy & Public Affairs Manager Sonia Campos-Rivera