by James DeChene
Before we get to what happened in Dover this week, a reminder that our networking event at the Delaware National Guard Joint Force Headquarters is a week away. This is your chance to:
And now onto Dover. This week the JFC continued to hold meetings hearing budget requests from state agencies. I attended the Departments of Insurance, Labor, and Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) hearings, and each secretary gave a good overview of what their offices are doing and plans for next year. A few items of note included the work the State Chamber, and others like ABC, DCA, Labor and legislators, have done to address issues related to the Workplace Fraud Act and how work is performed on construction sites. That work continues, and I’m thankful that we’re reaching consensus on some big issues that will have a positive impact on the industry and its workers.
Of note from DNREC, Secretary Garvin made the announcement of a website launch in the coming month that will track permit applications made to the department. As you know, the State Chamber has been working with agencies like DELDOT and DNREC on streamlining their permitting processes to help development projects become 'shovel ready' faster. This tracking mechanism, apparently similar to what DELDOT has created, will show not only delays, or speed, from the DNREC side but also track if applications are missing data, causing a slowdown from the business side. More to come once the website goes live.
Hope to see you next week at the Guard event.
by James DeChene
The CZA Regulatory Advisory Committee met earlier this week for the fifth time. During the meeting, reports were given from the various working groups focusing on individual components of the legislation’s requirements, including how to account for sea level rise, providing financial assurance, and how to monitor bulk product transfer. Of the reports, an agreement of sorts was reached on definitions related to bulk product transfer, while the other topics will be revisited in future meetings based on the amount of material needed to review. Regulations are to be finalized by 10/1/19, and with a little less than a year left, there remains quite a bit of work to be completed.
The State Chamber’s Healthcare & Employer Advocacy and Education Committees hosted a joint event focused on the legal and human resources issues of opioids, drugs and alcohol in the workplace. Attendees were presented with three case studies involving small, medium and large businesses, with a variety of circumstances surrounding employee behavior, benefits and worst-case scenarios.
Next week is the State Chamber’s “Developing Delaware” event taking place in Dover at the Modern Maturity center. Focused on how Delaware compares with surrounding states when reviewed by site selectors, looking at Delaware “By the Numbers” and hearing success stories from around the state, this is a great opportunity to learn about economic development activity happening in Delaware. With over 200 attendees already registered, it will be a great networking event, too. To register, visit: http://web.dscc.com/events/Developing-Delaware-Conversation-Collaboration-Innovation-2175/details
This week the State of Delaware signed an agreement with Gulftainer to run the Port of Wilmington. Under terms of the 50-year deal, Gulftainer has pledged to invest $600 million in upgrades and build a new container-handling terminal on the Delaware at Edgemoor. The deal also has the potential to double the number of jobs (currently around 5,700) in the coming years, providing a blue-collar job resurgence in an area in desperate need of those types of jobs.
Last night the State Chamber hosted its annual networking table top event at the Chase Center, in partnership with the Better Business Bureau of Delaware. Billed as the largest business to business networking event in the state, with over 100 exhibitors and over 600 attendees, the event was a successful matchup among Chamber members, highlighting the variety of businesses Delaware has to offer.
And finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t wish Rich Heffron a very happy birthday. Lucky for him it falls on a Friday this year, just in time for our Weekly Report to go out.
The Chamber would also like to wish James DeChene a happy birthday, as he and Rich were both born on September 21! Happy Birthday to them both!
by James DeChene
A number of bills were signed into law this week, as Gov. Carney spent the better part of two days signing bills on a range of topics. From establishing a clean energy financing program for the installation of energy efficiency technologies and clean energy systems, to marijuana charge expungements, to bills about service animals, over two dozen bills became law. Of particular note was HB360, which mandates sexual harassment training for employees, and specific training for supervisors. The most recent edition of the Chamber’s magazine has an article on the impact of the bill written by Lori Brewington from Richards, Layton & Finger. If you’ve not read it yet, I encourage you to do so.
Next week the Chamber will be spending time downstate. On 9/5, the Chamber will be holding a networking mixer at Dogfish Head in Rehoboth at 5:30, and the next day is the Chamber Chase golf tournament at King’s Creek. Also that day is Delaware’s Primary Election Day. Remember to vote. After you vote, be sure to watch the Eagles beat the Falcons.
"It's typically a specific bill or issue that brings small business owners to Legislative Hall and it's intimidating. It's great to have the Chamber on your side for this," said Kim Gomes of The Byrd Group.
As a small business owner, we recognize that you may not have the ability to go to Dover for every piece of legislation. But the State Chamber does and we're here for you. Capitalize on the membership benefit of having a full time lobbyist for your business interests through DSCC.
Our annual Small Business Day in Dover on May 10, kicked off with a panel discussion featuring Kim, Rick Deadwyler of DuPont, Lincoln Willis of The Willis Group and Kim Willson of Ruggerio Willson & Associates. Our lobbyists shared with attendees advice and best practices for navigating Legislative Hall and working alongside their legislators. Some key takeaways:
Following the panel, we participated in the House Small Business Caucus meeting, chaired by Representatives Quinn Johnson, Daniel Short and Michael Ramone. Guests heard from Dr. Kara Odom Walker from the Department of Health and Social Services who provided an update on the state of health care in Delaware.
Our 80 attendees were then able to tour Legislative Hall and meet with their legislators in person.
Thanks to sponsors MilliCare by EBC, Environmental Alliance, Inc., Offit Kurman Attorneys at Law, Santora CPA Group, Vandemark & Lynch, Inc., and the Delaware Division of Small Business.
by James DeChene
BREAKING: Obama DOL's Overtime Rule Struck Down
A Texas federal judge on Thursday invalidated the Obama administration’s controversial rule expanding overtime protections to millions of white collar workers, saying the U.S. Department of Labor improperly used a salary-level test to determine which workers are exempt from overtime compensation.
In other news, the Adult Use Cannabis Taskforce meets for the first time next week in an effort to learn more about the possibilities and ramifications, positive and negative, of legalizing recreational marijuana. The State Chamber has a representative on this taskforce, and if you have questions, concerns, feedback on the issue, send it to me, and I will pass it along. The Chamber has expressed concerns related to labor law, including increased workplace-safety problems, higher worker-compensation costs, reduced productivity/attendance issues, and practical issues such as how to test for “under the influence” (or “impairment”).
An Executive Order by Governor Carney to create an offshore wind taskforce was signed this week. There will be a business representative (unnamed as of yet) on the taskforce, and the State Chamber will be monitoring its progress.
Next week is ChamberChase, the Chamber’s golf outing. Wednesday night before there will be a networking event at Lucky’s Alley & Eats. If you’re in Lewes, or nearby, come join us. We’re fun.
And from Forbes this week, “If you live in Delaware and you compare your current paycheck with one from a year ago, you might notice that you've made a couple of extra bucks. Over the past year, Delaware was the U.S. state that recorded the greatest growth in hourly earnings. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, people employed in private industry in Delaware saw their average hourly earnings increase 11.7 percent from $23.85 to $26.64 between July 2016 and July 2017.”
On August 1, 2017, The Mill and Innovincent presented the first Millenial Summit (#MillSummit), a full-day event held at the Chase Center on the Riverfront. Over 250 attendees, representing a variety of industries and passions, came together to network, learn from topic experts and explore the diverse community that Wilmington has to offer. The Delaware State Chamber of Commerce was pleased to have its Delaware Young Professionals Network involved with the event's planning committee.
The event kicked off with Sara Fischer, Axios media reporter, who took the audience through the data and trends of technology use among millennials. A panel on crafting one's personal brand followed, with Governor Carney giving closing remarks for the morning session. The keynote address was given by Ambassador Vlora Citaku, Ambassador of the Republic of Kosovo to the U.S. Her compelling journey from refugee to ambassador made for an inspiring speech, and a dynamic Q&A session with the audience.
Multiple breakout sessions and panels were held throughout the day. DSCC's Events Manager and Program & Communications Specialist, Kelly Wetzel, served as a panelist on leadership through nonprofit and community involvement; and James DeChene, Senior VP Government Affairs, moderated an afternoon discussion with some of the youngest elected officials in Delaware about political and legislative engagement. To see the day's full lineup of panels and speakers, visit millsumit.com.
A message from the DSCC Chairman of the Board, Chip Rossi
Click here to read this message in the September/October issue of Delaware Business magazine!
The most important role of any chamber of commerce is to help its members succeed. Earlier this year, we asked all of you what you wanted from your state chamber of commerce. While most of your responses aligned to topics that we are working on today, we learned a few things that are helping us better serve you in the future.
You told us that the most important area of support is the role that we play advocating for legislation on key issues. Whether discussing the commercial impacts of the Coastal Zone Act or encouraging legislation that provides greater access to capital for small business owners, we strive to be a consistent voice at the legislative table. These discussions, and others like it, ensure that the interests of our members are represented in the legislative debates that affect how Delaware does business.
You also asked us to continue to work with the state to find new ways to drive sustainable revenue growth in Delaware. The budget shortfall continues to widen as the Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council (DEFAC) reduces revenue projections faster than the state assembly can identify ways to reduce spending. This is an opportunity for us, as business advocates, to continue to encourage state and local leaders to tackle the difficult decisions that need to be made today to continue to attract and retain businesses across the state.
Finally, you told us that you appreciate and enjoy the networking and learning opportunities that we offer. To build on that, this year we hosted multiple meetings with key elected officials to discuss legislation affecting small businesses and ideas for improving the Delaware economic climate. In addition, we created the inaugural John H. Taylor Jr. Education Leadership award that was presented to Jack Varsalona, president of Wilmington University, during our 2016 Superstars in Education ceremony in May.
It is important to remember that this work takes time. We may not see the results we want from every legislative session or key vote, but we remain committed to working on the things that will help our state – and our members – thrive and grow. On behalf of the board and the staff, thank you for the opportunity to continue to work on the issues that you have told us are important to you.
Louis L. Redding City/County Building
800 N. French Street
Wilmington, DE 19801-3537
phone: (302) 576-2140
fax: (302) 571-4071
We are pleased to invite you to attend the City to Work Job Fair. Please mark your calendar now to join us on Wednesday, September 7, 2016, for this opportunity to recruit leading candidates in all fields. The job fair will be held at the Louis L. Redding City/County Building from 10am-5pm.
The purpose of this event is to connect you, the employer, with potential employees – our residents. Our residents are an educated, talented and skilled workforce. City to Work is our way of connecting Wilmington residents to employable opportunities while also reducing the cost of businesses to advertise vacant positions. The City of Wilmington hosts a FREE job platform to leverage social recruiting for locally based companies. Please visit Wilmington.TweetMyJobs.com to register your business and post your job openings at no cost.
We look forward to seeing you at the upcoming job fair. You will be provided table space and chairs for your business display (if needed). Let us know if you have any other needs including access to electrical outlets or signage upon confirming your attendance. Please confirm your attendance to Edythe Pridgen at firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, August 19, 2016.
City to Work Job Fair
Wednesday, September 7, 2016
Louis L. Redding City/County Building
800 North French Street
Wilmington, Delaware 19801
Councilman Darius J. Brown
Third Disctrict, Wilmington City Council
On April 11, 2016, White House officials in Washington launched the Fair Chance Business Pledge, which represents a call-to-action for all members of the private sector to improve their communities by eliminating barriers for those with a criminal record and creating a pathway for a second chance.
Click here to read the Fair Chance Business Pledge.
Quite simply, we focus our core initiatives to address the concerns of the entire business community.
The Delaware State Chamber of Commerce is the preeminent statewide business organization promoting a strong business climate in Delaware. We strive to create a statewide economic climate that enables all businesses to become more competitive. Our team consistently meets with Delaware’s Congressional delegation and plays a leading role on issues before the General Assembly. Our Board of Directors, Board of Governors and committee engagement assist in promulgating rules and regulations stemming from the various federal, state and local agencies that oversee business activity.
We are proud to be leaders on the policy front. Recent achievements include:
The DSCC is a nonprofit organization. We depend on the support of our members to accomplish our mission. We partner with other advocacy groups and serve as the leading voice of the business community. Our leadership helps create jobs, promote business and improve the quality of life for all Delawareans.
Your membership dollars and your support through programs like the Annual Dinner, Superstars in Education, Superstars in Business and our Legislative Brunches allow the State Chamber to be your dedicated voice in Dover.
We are proud to advocate on your behalf addressing the challenges of today and exploring the opportunities of tomorrow.
James DeChene is the Chamber's Senior Vice President of Government Affairs.