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State of Government Affairs at MBA: Democracy Is Not a Spectator Sport

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Eileen Anderson is the director of Government Relations for the Manufacturer & Business Association, which merged with SMC Business Councils in 2019. Contact her at 412/805-5707 or eileenanderson@mbausa.org.

The Manufacturer & Business Association’s (MBA) mission is to build a pro-business climate in Pennsylvania. While the second year of the pandemic has pushed employers down another challenging path with supply chain disruptions, inflation, vaccine mandates, labor shortages and wage hikes, the MBA Government Affairs Department is focused on these and other areas where it can have the most impact for members. Here is snapshot of the progress:

We conducted visits with newly elected legislators, including Representatives Jason Silvis, Carrie Lewis DelRosso, Abby Major, Robert Mercuri, Eric Davanzo, Tim Bonner, Jessica Benham, Emily Kinkead, Nick Pisciottano and Senator Devlin Robinson. Several were introduced to an MBA member company in their districts.

We also arranged visits with Pennsylvania House Majority Whip Donna Oberlander, co-chair of the Manufacturing Caucus, at four MBA manufacturers including Magee Plastics Company, Liquid Ion, Harmony Castings LLC, and Ace Wire Spring & Form Co. Attendees were educated on the how small manufacturers operate and where Pennsylvania can assist with policy.

We also partnered to create an opportunity for members to speak with 22 lawmakers — an extraordinary number — at the first Western Pennsylvania Annual Legislative Reception in September at CNX Resources in Southpointe. Pennsylvania Speaker of the House Bryan Cutler was an exciting guest speaker.

A Business Issues Forum preceded the reception and provided a venue for lawmakers and employers to learn where they share common ground. Thirteen roundtable discussions took place and answered “What keeps you up at night? We are now working to address some of the top issues identified — workforce and health care.

Additionally, we held several in person and virtual forums where members were able to speak with U.S. Senator Pat Toomey and U.S. Representative Mike Kelly. In 2022, we plan to host several meetings for Pennsylvania gubernatorial and U.S. Senate candidates, giving members an opportunity to be heard.

The MBA also has been represented at various events, meetings and coalitions too numerous to mention. Highlights include:

  • The Power PA Jobs Alliance is strongly opposed to Governor Wolf’s hard push to have the Department of Environmental Protection implement the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.
  • The perspective of smaller manufacturers was given at the Senate Committee on Community, Economic & Recreational Development hearing on “Government Barriers to Manufacturing Growth in Pennsylvania.’”
  • Representative Mercuri’s bi-monthly Business Roundtable.
  • The PA Coalition for Civil Justice Reform seeks covid liability protections.
  • “Vote Yes” primary ballot measure to establish checks and balances to limit the governor and empower our local elected representatives to terminate or extend a disaster emergency declaration. Both efforts passed!
  • Opposing the federal PRO Act.

We lobbied lawmakers on legislation pertaining to regulatory reform, taxation, workforce, energy and transportation. We worked diligently to pass association health plans, which will allow small groups to aggregate in large pools and enjoy the same benefits and cost reductions as larger companies.

Governor Tom Wolf also has not been spared: We sent a letter requesting Pennsylvania phase out participation in federal unemployment programs that paid unemployed claimants an additional $300 per week.

We provided education about the issues and communicated with members via policy group meetings, the Business Magazine, government newsletters and podcasts. A program based on the MBA’s “Health-Care Costs — A Resource for Employers and Employees” was held in the Cranberry Township office.

We also leveraged relationships with the television media to voice members’ positions. The MBA was heard loud and clear on President Joe Biden’s new pandemic rules, new tolls to Pennsylvania highways, employees returning to work, $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief legislation, Governor Wolf’s $15 an hour minimum wage jump, his startling budget address, wasteful spending, and how President Biden’s “Buy American” executive order will disrupt the supply chain.

Rest assured that the MBA Government Affairs team will continue to fight for our members in 2022. Democracy is not a spectator sport!

Read the full report: mbausa.org/services-and-benefits/government- affairs/