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Business Liability Protection

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Business Liability Protection

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POSITION STATEMENT

During this unprecedented time, our local businesses face substantial uncertainty and ever-changing guidance in how to safely operate during an ongoing pandemic. A large part of that uncertainty stems from the threat of legal liability from customers and employees alike who might assert claims that a business exposed them to COVID-19 or failed to take adequate action to guard against the risk of exposure.

Litigation will also include personal injury tort actions premised on customers’ claimed COVID-19 exposure while patronizing a business. Although all lawsuits will face the substantial hurdle of showing the customer’s illness was caused by the business’s conduct, even weak legal claims may stigmatize the business and be persuasive to juries, on top of being costly to defend. If the goal of reopening Florida is to jumpstart the economy, Florida’s businesses need greater assurance that they may do so without risking an onslaught of litigation tied to COVID-19.

We are asking the State of Florida to support businesses and employers who take reasonable steps to protect their employees and customers while following public health and safety guidelines. Specifically, legal protections should cover the following:

  • Businesses that work to follow government guidelines against COVID-19 exposure.
  • Healthcare providers and facilities on the front lines of the COVID-19 response.
  • Manufacturers that repurposed production and distribution to provide PPE, sanitizers, and other needed equipment and supplies.
  • Companies that have donated their stock of supplies to hospitals and medical professionals.

The Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce supports the consideration of these lawsuit abuse reforms that will allow Southwest Florida businesses to reopen safely and without the fear of lawsuits when trying to do the right thing in response to COVID19.

The Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce supports bipartisan policy cooperation on this issue to ensure Florida emerges from the pandemic as quickly and strongly as possible.

Position STATEMENT Business Liability Protection

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Visit Florida Continued Funding

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Visit Florida Continued Funding

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POSITION STATEMENT

Lee County, where tourism employs 1 out of every 5 people, understands the significant impact Visit Florida has on our community. Based on the overwhelming economic evidence in Florida and other states, the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce supports the continued full funding of Visit Florida.

Whereas the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce supports the growth of business for its members and community;

Whereas Visit Florida promotes long term growth for the state of Florida and the invaluable tourism industry;

Therefore, the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce supports the full funding and reauthorization of Visit Florida.

Position STATEMENT Visit Florida Continued Funding

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Mandated Minimum Wage

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Mandated Minimum Wage

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POSITION STATEMENT

The Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce recognizes the challenge of earning a living wage. We believe compensation should be based on what the local market will bear. Therefore, the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce does not support government mandated minimum wage increases.

LEARN MORE

Tipped Employee Video

Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association Minimum Wage Page

Amendment Two Hurts You

Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association Minimum Wage Talking Points

Target Raised Wages, But Workers are Struggling

A story specifically concerning Target, Inc. who raised their employee wages, but the employees themselves are not necessarily profiting off of this venture. This shows how a jump in wages may not mean more money in the bank.

New York City Businesses Struggle After minimum Wage Increase

Fox News showcases a few case study businesses and what has happened to them as a result of forced $15 minimum wage went into effect in New York City.

Minimum Wage Hikes are Causing Businesses to Cut Jobs

This article discusses what companies are doing to compensate for the rising costs of employees. Things like technological automation, cut hours, and loss of overtime are all potential effects of a minimum wage hike.

NEWS COVERAGE

December 2019 Southwest Florida Business Today

Florida Minimum Wage Hike Would Hurt Lee County Small Businesses

CHAMBER ARTICLES

Opportunity Cost

Focusing squarely on the minimum wage debate, the goal here is to get people to see beyond the “dollar signs” of a raise and understand the intended and unintended consequences of a forced minimum wage hike.

Position STATEMENT Mandated Minimum Wage

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Water Quality

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Water Quality

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POSITION STATEMENT: WATER QUALITY

  1. We support developing policies that effectively deal with stormwater and wastewater pollution at the source.
    1. Septic to sewer conversions
    2. Sewer discharges
    3. Basin management
    4. Agricultural runoff
  2. We support sustained funding levels to accomplish Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) projects and critical infrastructure projects north and south of Lake Okeechobee.

POSITION STATEMENT: “SAVINGS CLAUSE”

The leadership of the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce opposes adding language to the 2020 Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) that would make the “Savings Clause” from section 601(h)(5) of Public Law 106-541 (WRDA 2000) applicable to the Lake Okeechobee Systems Operating Manual (LOSOM) and direct the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to use the December 2000 lake regulation schedule as the basis for updating the schedule.

It is our understanding that the Savings Clause only applies to Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) projects.  The lake regulation schedule is not a CERP project, and the Savings Clause was never intended to apply to lake operations.

Applying the Savings Clause and an outdated and unsuccessful lake regulation schedule to current planning efforts will undermine Everglades restoration and prevent the Corps from balancing current and future water needs, resulting in continued negative environmental and economic consequences for Southwest Florida businesses and residents alike such as harmful algal blooms, tourism depression, and various health side effects.

It is more important than ever to abandon outdated water regulation practices and adapt to current challenges to protect Florida’s water for all who depend on it. Lake management strategies must be adopted based on sound science and a balanced approach that does not prioritize one water supply interest over another.

SUCCESS!

This language was left OUT of the 2020 water bill. This issue is now complete and turned out to be a great success, which included the Greater Fort Myers’ Chamber of Commerce connecting with partners and intended parties and advocating for the exclusion of the edited language.

ARTICLES

Special interests attempt to reconfigure Lake O schedule to their benefit
Including a video to discuss their thoughts on the savings clause, Captains for Clean Water shares what they see as disastrous consequences should the savings clause language be edited to force the December 2000 regulation schedule. They also include a discussion with Congressman Brian Mast and some options on how you can fight against it.

Florida environmental groups oppose water-savings clause in Lake Okeechobee plan
In an effort to keep the water levels in Lake O higher during the dry season, U.S. Sugar and others are proposing adding language into the 2020 water bill that would force regulations based on data and recommendations from 2000. This would be a detriment according to many environmental groups in the region.

DOCUMENTS

Savings Clause Letter
This is a letter written to the South Florida Water Management District Board to request edits to the savings clause in the bill. This is the request that the Chamber is advocating against.

Letter Opposing Proposal
This letter, to the Florida Congressional Delegation, is the request to reject the proposal of edited language. This is what the Chamber supported and advocated towards their benefit.

WRDA Objection
This letter was written to explain the details and legal objections as to why people should oppose the savings clause edits.

Position STATEMENT Water Quality

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Legislative Priorities

Position STATEMENT Legislative Priorities

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