Legislative Wrap Up 2011: SBAC Advocacy Efforts in 2011 a Success – But Only the Beginning

While not even one and half years old, the SBAC has had remarkable success in 2011 advancing legislation in support of small business issues. Through grassroots and advocacy efforts, individual members of the SBAC have truly made a difference in outcomes by simply reaching out to their legislators to request support and sponsorship of small business legislation and collaborating with other like-minded business groups and consumer organizations to expand coalitions and influence.

While major initiatives such as the designation of 10% of state procurement contracts to small business and getting the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation to post small business lending statistics by bank on their web site were accomplished in just the first year under the leadership of SBAC lobbyist Dan Johnson, the SBAC can claim additional triumphs in the government affairs realm.

Though HB 3236 wasn’t passed this year, the advocacy and lobbying efforts to implement health care cooperatives were remarkably successful in getting senators on board and building large coalitions. And it should be noted these efforts will be continued next session in anticipation of the legislation being signed into law.

The SBAC was also asked to sit at the table with other prominent state and national business groups to testify in front of bi-partisan legislative committees on the subject of corporate income tax, CME/Sears special tax breaks and the impact on small business.

To continue to be effective in advocating for small business initiatives, SBAC members must proactively participate in the legislative process. The Legislative E-Newsletter will be sent on a monthly basis to keep you up to speed on legislative initiatives and updates. And if you don’t know your legislators, go to the Illinois State Board of Elections web site right now to find out who they are. If you know who your legislators are but don’t know them personally, call the district office and schedule an appointment to introduce yourself, talk about your business and share your concerns. Legislators want to know their constituents and want to vote in a manner that reflects their constituencies so it’s important to take the initiative and make your views known.

In addition to expanding advocacy efforts on behalf of HB 3236 and spearheading new legislation to allow unemployment recipients to focus on starting small businesses in 2012 (look for more information on this initiative in the SBAC Blog and Legislative E-Newsletter in the future), the SBAC will continue to be a voice for small business in the legislative process and work with and expand coalition groups to effectively advance small business interests.

Do you have a question about how to approach a legislator or want to share an advocacy success story? Share your comments below!