Chamber Supports Iowa Pro-Business Legislation

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April 24, 2003

WASHINGTON, DC, April 25, 2003 - The United States Chamber of Commerce today endorsed a comprehensive business-climate enhancement bill under consideration by the Iowa House of Representatives. The Iowa Senate previously endorsed the plan, as did the Commerce Committee of the Iowa House.

We commend the state of Iowa for making a bold statement about its intentions to foster a business climate that can be competitive, said Thomas Donohue, President and CEO of the U.S. Chamber. This is the kind of leadership and action that gets the attention of CEO s and others who are seeking to expand businesses and create job opportunities.

The bill, Senate File 344, contains many pro-business provisions, changes in unemployment compensation, workers compensation, occupational safety and financial services. The bill also addresses public works contracts and environmental excesses.

Donohue was particularly supportive of the bill's provisions dealing with liability reform, a major priority of the U.S. Chamber's Institute for Legal Reform.

While the U.S. Supreme Court recently limited outrageous jury awards in federal cases, and momentum is building for class action reform in Congress, legal reform is simultaneously needed at the state level, said Donohue. We especially support language in the bill that would cap punitive damages at $250,000, mandate proportionate liability for defendants, and calculate fair and reasonable attorney fees, among other changes.

Donohue highlighted the Iowa bill as an example of the kind of positive action legislatures can take to improve business conditions and help get the economy moving.

Iowa is currently debating a three-pronged approach to economic development with this legislation, changes in the tax code and consideration of a fund to attract new businesses.