NORMAN — The Norman Chamber of Commerce is serving breakfast — and a meaty legislative agenda — to local lawmakers this morning at the Hilton Garden Inn. State Sens. John Sparks, D-Norman, and Rob Standridge, R-Norman, along with State Reps. Emily Virgin, D-Norman, and Scott Martin, R-Norman, have confirmed their attendance.
“We are serving breakfast and we will get into the meat of sharing our goals for the upcoming legislative session, and then we’ll hear their ideas of what the upcoming session will look like,” said John Woods, chamber president and CEO. “We did it last year for the first time at the chamber, and we’ve changed location to have a larger capacity.”
Board members approved the legislative priorities. At the top of the chamber’s wish list is legislation to restructure Oklahoma’s workers’ compensation laws. That was a No. 1 priority to Chamber members polled on significant issues for Oklahoma businesses.
“One of the most important issues facing the legislature this session is workers’ compensation reform,” Woods said. “We’re paying three times as much in workers’ compensation costs as our surrounding states, and we want the legislature to address that.”
In the area of economic development the chamber supports:
· Economic development incentives that create and maintain jobs and investment in Oklahoma.
· Policies that will grow technology and knowledge-based industries.
· Funding for the Oklahoma Quick Action Closing Fund to attract new jobs.
“That (the Quick Action Closing Fund) is the governor’s fund that incentivizes businesses to come to Oklahoma,” Woods said. “It’s one of many tools that we as a state should be able to offer if we have the opportunity to bring in high-skilled, high-paying jobs.”
In education and work force development, the chamber supports:
· Development of a healthy and skilled work force and advocate for an environment that attracts such a group.