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Legislative Agenda & Advocacy

The Tennessee Chamber is the preeminent voice for business in the halls of our Capitol. Since 1912 the Tennessee Chamber has engaged business leaders across our state to impact public policy in the Tennessee General Assembly. There is no issue that we are not involved in, if it impacts business we engage to oppose, support or modify the proposal so it does not harm our members or Tennessee’s economic growth.

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2018 Tennessee Chamber Legislative Policy Agenda

The Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry is proud to present our annual legislative and policy agenda for 2018.  As a statewide organization, the Tennessee Chamber maintains members in legislative districts all across our great state consisting of small, medium and large businesses, local chambers of commerce, and economic development professionals.  We also serve as the Tennessee Manufacturers Association and the official state affiliate for the National Association of Manufacturers.  Our agenda is generated with survey results and feedback from our members businesses and focuses on ensuring that Tennessee remains one of the best states in our nation for business and economic growth.  We seek to accomplish this goal by focusing on member-driven policies that responsibly reduce employer costs and provide economic opportunities for all Tennesseans, maintaining our status as the premier destination for business growth, expansion, and tourism.  


Enhancing Tennessee’s Workforce To Ensure Career-Readiness

Strengthening Tennessee’s Career and Technical Education K-12 Programs and Work Based Learning Partnerships- Chamber members consistently cite the lack of a skilled workforce and ongoing staffing challenges as a top concern for their businesses. The evolving demands of a modern, globally-competitive labor market necessitate a continued emphasis on rigorous academics, career preparation, and skill development in our state’s schools.  Anticipated shifts in the distribution of current jobs due to technology require that both our K-12 education and higher education systems proactively work together to equip students with the educational tools they need that align with the high-skill demands of the jobs of the future.

The Tennessee Chamber supports the following K-12 education policies that set a firm academic foundation for postsecondary success and career-ready knowledge and skills:

  • K-12 Career and Technical Education (CTE) – Support the enhancement and increased utilization of Tennessee’s K-12 CTE programs with opportunities that align with to industry standards and needs.

  • Work Based Learning (WBL) – The Tennessee Chamber is supporting legislation that limits employer liability and provides a tax credit for participating in student WBL programs. These partnerships are key to Tennessee’s long term economic success providing industry and students opportunities to focus on technical careers.

  • K-12 Career Learning and Information – Students need to know and understand the career paths and opportunities that are available in today’s workforce. The Tennessee Chamber will support funding efforts to establish Career K-12 focus in targeted communities to help children learn and identify career paths.

  • Tennessee Reconnect / Drive to 55 – The Tennessee Chamber will work across the state to boost knowledge and utilization of Tennessee Reconnect that provides tuition for adult learners to attain a certification or degree. Tennessee Reconnect presents a great opportunity for adult learners and will help Tennessee to achieve our Drive to 55 goals.

  • Tennessee Work Ethic Diploma – The Tennessee Chamber is advocating for the increased utilization by school districts of the Work Ethic Diploma that encourages the development of employability skills that help our youth to develop the necessary skills for employment and life success.

  • LEAP – Continue to support continued investments in Tennessee’s LEAP program that contributes substantially to the efforts of local communities to develop workforce and industry partnerships and facilitate advanced placement, dual enrollment, and industry certifications


Keeping Tennessee Competitive - Setting A Climate For Growth

In addition, The Tennessee Chamber will work in the following areas to advance and address policy:

  • TAXES and ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT – With Federal Tax Reform a reality, Tennessee is poised for economic growth. To ensure this growth becomes a reality we will work to ensure Tennessee business receive the full benefit of federal tax reform and protect and defend the utilization of economic development incentives. With fierce competition, Tennessee must remain competitive and work to ensure we are a welcoming state for all business and their employees. 

  • MANDATES and REGULATION – The Tennessee Chamber will work against overly-burdensome or costly government mandates, regulation or additional insurance mandates that result in increased costs. In addition, we will support efforts to enhance the health of Tennessee’s population and sustainable healthcare policies that contribute to the growth and stability of our healthcare providers and overall industry.

  • BATTLING DRUG ABUSE – Opioid abuse is a problem that negatively impacts our citizens and also challenges Tennessee’s economic growth and our workforce. The Tennessee Chamber will work to enact legislation that seeks to address these problems and offer solutions. In addition, the Tennessee Chamber will closely monitor proposals that expand the use of medicinal marijuana for unexpected consequences to our workforce.

  • ENVIRONMENTAL and WORKPLACE SAFETY – The Tennessee Chamber and our members demonstrate that we work toward environmental compliance and workplace safety. We will work to ensure a fair and balanced approach for existing regulations, the protection of our natural resources and the total economic costs incurred to industry. The Tennessee Chamber will work to ensure that business are shielded from the permits they obtain and our workers’ compensation, unemployment and occupational health and safety programs are predictable and work to ensure compliance and reduce unnecessary costs.  

  • INFRASTRUCTURE and TELECOMMUNICATIONS – Economic growth is directly tied to both strong infrastructure and telecommunication systems. The Tennessee Chamber will support efforts to streamline and enhance the deployment of advanced wireless broadband networks and continue to monitor the implementation of broadband grants across Tennessee to enhance economic growth and competitiveness.


How The Tennessee Chamber Formulated Our Agenda

The Chamber’s 2018 agenda is developed with input from regional meetings we hosted across the state with local businesses and chambers of commerce, input from the Chamber Board of Directors, and member surveys.  Throughout our legislative agenda, we reiterate the Tennessee Chamber’s core principles of free enterprise and removing obstacles that impede job creation and slow economic growth.  Our members provided input on policy and legislative strategy through workgroup conference calls and surveys on tax, human resources, health care, legal reform, education & workforce development, and environmental and energy policy issues. Throughout our process, business leaders from across the state have shared their concerns, and we are proud that the 2017 legislative agenda is reflective of those views.

The Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry is the exclusive state affiliate for our proud national partners.


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