Legislative Committee Meeting Notes 9-17-18 – Harford County Chamber of Commerce
September 17, 2018
As the new political cycle comes into fold, major changes are happening on the county, state, and federal level. On the county level, the city of Havre de Grace enjoyed a successful 5k and food truck event over the weekend. The city had over 1300 runners and 5,000 people come out to the race and food truck event respectfully. The county plans on continuing an action-packed September with business Appreciation Week. Business Appreciation Week kicks off tonight with the highly anticipated Harford Awards, and will continue with events throughout the week.
Furthermore, The Harford County Community Action Committee is collecting drinking water for areas hit by Hurricane Florence. So, if you have any drinkable water you would like to donate please visit their website.
Harford County may have dodged Hurricane Florence but, cleanup efforts are still underway for areas impacted by flooding. Several residents were forced to evacuate their homes when a group of severe storms rolled through the county. The Harford County Government is in the process of aiding those individuals impacted by the flood and providing additional support. The county government is also keeping the candidate’s race a primary focus. With only a couple weeks left, this year’s election will come down to the wire for several candidates.
On the state level, Maryland is preparing for a very exciting year. House Bill One, a $15 minimum wage, and the election are all upcoming issues that will drastically impact the state of Maryland. An immediate focus from the Maryland Chamber has been on the tariff war. New tariffs in agriculture and the steel industry may lead to escalated costs for US exporters. There is a growing fear that as the Trump Administration creates tariffs for other countries, those countries will retaliate and create tariffs of their own. To find out more about the tariffs will impact on Maryland, you can go to https://www.uschamber.com/tariffs.
On the national level, the federal government is in the process of making several changes. The change with the largest implications for business owners is updating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). NAFTA was originally established by the Clinton Administration to encourage trade among Canada, Mexico, and the United States. This is the first time NAFTA has been updated since it was originated in 1994. The update aims to incorporate technological and economic advancements that have occurred over the last 24 years. Mexico and the United States have come to an agreement. However, the United States and Canada are still in the final stages of negotiation. Canada has a primary focus on media security. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is worried about United State TV networks controlling Canadian media outlets. On the other hand, the Trump Administration believes negotiations in the dairy field need to be discussed. Furthermore, the three parties are negotiating the sunset clause. The sunset clause would require NAFTA to be renewed every five years. The Trump Administration believes this is the best way to keep all parties accountable. The Canadian and Mexican government agencies believe the clause is unnecessary and too time consuming.
It is believed that the three countries will work out a deal by the end of the month. However, Trudeau has already expressed his desire to prolong negotiations if an agreement cannot be reached. There are still several questions for an updated NAFTA. Nevertheless, it is beneficial for all parties involved to come to an agreement.
In Supreme Court news, Candidate Kavanaugh was anticipated to replace Justice Kennedy by the end of the month. However, a possible scandal has come to light and may delay the process. While all information is still not available, Judge Kavanaugh may no longer have the support from Congress to be approved as the new Justice. Kavanaugh is favorable to the business. In 16 cases involving the US Chamber, Kavanaugh has agreed with the Chamber 12 times.
Finally, Data Privacy has become a developing issue. Many European countries and some states have begun drafting data privacy policies. Templates and guidelines have been uploaded to the US Chamber website in an attempt to get a jumpstart on any federal data privacy policies. Data privacy will be one of the primary issues in 2019. So, it is important to have as many examples, and drafts as possible.
- September 22, Badges and Ladders – Harford County Fire and Harford County Law enforcement will being play a softball game at Ripken Stadium.
- September 25, Economic Development Luncheon with the City of Aberdeen – Networking opportunity for business owners in Aberdeen.
- October 17, Policy and Platforms – During the morning, staff from the US and State Chamber will give updates and possible business initiatives for Harford County businesses. Then, this year’s candidates will discuss their pro-business platform by focusing on questions asked by the Harford Chamber.
- November 6, Maryland Election – Don’t forget to mark your calendars and find your voting locations.