LEGISLATIVE NEWS & RESOURCES FOR BUSINESS PEOPLE
RHODE ISLAND CHAMBER OF COMMERCE COALITION
The East Providence Area Chamber is a partner in the Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce Coalition with ten chambers of commerce. It is one of the largest business advocacy organizations in the state; representing 7,500+ businesses. "The Coalition" is represented by a lobbyist at the Rhode Island State House. Participating chambers include: East Providence Area, Central Rhode Island, East Bay, East Greenwich, Newport County, Northern Rhode Island, North Kingstown, Ocean Community and Southern Rhode Island.
Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce Coalition Background
The Chamber of Commerce Coalition is an expansion of a lobbying partnership that began in 1996. At that time, the Northern Rhode Island and Central Rhode Island chambers formed a partnership that provided the opportunity to combine the member voices of both chambers in a lobbying effort.
The Coalition was formed as the chambers recognized that Rhode Island needed an advocate at the State House to speak for the interests of business. While laws impact both large and small companies, most business owners and managers don’t have time to attend committee hearings and offer testimony on proposed legislation. By having their chambers of commerce act as their voice, company officials can easily have a say in the business of government. By unifying chambers throughout the state, the voice of business becomes louder and stronger.
A Government Affairs Committee, made up of representatives from each of the ten chambers, governs the Chamber of Commerce Coalition. Each chamber has three voting position on the Government Affairs Committee, plus the Chief Executive from each Chamber.
The Government Affairs Committee establishes the Legislative Agenda one month prior to the start of the new legislative session, for ratification by the respective Chambers of Commerce. The Government Affairs Committee also makes policy recommendations on issues that are forwarded to the various Chambers for their review. In order to respond quickly to issues, the Government Affairs Committee is fully empowered by the respective Chambers to determine Chamber positions on issues and take action on them.
In the event the Chamber of Commerce Coalition adopts a legislative position that is in conflict with any partner Chamber(s), the Chamber of Commerce Coalition will not testify on behalf of said partner Chamber(s) and will note the difference of opinion for the record.
The Chamber Coalition works because of the respect that the participating Chambers have for each other, and their needed autonomy. The lobbyist for the Chamber Coalition is Lenette Forry for the Northern Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce.
The Coalition grows in strength and numbers to become the largest lobbying voice for business in Rhode Island. Coalition members invite companies throughout the state to join their local Coalition member and become part of this group that is working to make Rhode Island a better state in which to do business.