Mo. Chamber Federation hopes to advance worker reforms

Wednesday, December 18, 2002

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- A collection of the state's strongest local chambers of commerce on Tuesday announced its goals for the coming legislative session.

Cape Girardeau Chamber of Commerce president John Mehner is the chairman of the new group, the Missouri Chamber Federation.

"We have put together an unprecedented, united force from which the employer community can affect change in the legislature," Mehner said. "It is through this force that we hope to advance basic reform in workers' compensation, budget and tax policy and identify real economic development tools that can stem the tide of Missouri's job loss."

Jackson also a member

Twenty-three local chambers representing 17,590 employer members plus the state chamber are members of the federation. The Jackson Chamber of Commerce is also a member of the group.

The federation's legislative priorities include changes in workers' compensation laws to more strictly define what constitutes a job-related injury and eliminate the statutory advantage the law gives employees in disputed cases.

The group also supports increased fund for job training and greater local control over economic development programs.

Finally, it proposes a 1 percent cap on state budget growth, after allowing for mandatory increases in spending, and other reforms in the budget process.

Dan Mehan, president of the state chamber, said the new group will help build grassroots influence for pro-business initiatives.

"These people are on the front lines of economic development," Mehan said. "These are the people who make things happen in our communities."

mpowers@semissourian.com

(573) 635-4608

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