Policy Forum Process and Rules

Policy Position Adoption Process
Instead of adopting an entirely new slate of positions each year during the Policy Forum, all current policy positions of the Alaska Chamber, regardless of when they were adopted, remain positions of the Alaska Chamber until updated or reconsidered.

Quorum Abstention
A quorum will be established at the beginning of the Policy Forum. In order for a position to be adopted during the Policy Forum, a majority of members constituting the quorum must vote in favor of adoption.

Position Selection
The Alaska Chamber bylaws place the responsibility to manage all affairs of the corporation with the Board of Directors. There is no provision in the bylaws for member selection of position priorities. For this reason, priorities will be selected by the Board during its meeting following the Policy Forum.

Single Capital Position
The Alaska Chamber returned to its founding principles and does not consider positions on specific capital projects. Instead, the general membership adopted generic capital position that states, “The Alaska State Chamber of Commerce supports state capital projects that facilitate resource and economic development in a cost effective manner.” Supporting some projects over others without due diligence jeopardizes the Chamber’s credibility in Juneau diminishing advocacy success on the many issues upon which Alaska Chamber members are firmly united. Local chambers are best positioned to advocate for regional projects. Not taking positions on capital projects is consistent with the Alaska Chamber’s long-standing principles of “state unity”, “statewide action” and “local controversies” adopted in 1960.

Alaska Chamber Principles

State Unity
Unity of purpose and unity of performance can best advance the objectives for which the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce was formed. The Alaska Chamber pledges to work for State unity by promoting a better understanding of Alaska’s problems, by clarifying regional misunderstanding, by bringing to the business and professional leaders a statewide viewpoint of their problems, and thus, provides an agency for united action.

Statewide Action
Except in cases of emergency - to be determined by the Board of Directors - the Alaska Chamber shall act on matters of statewide importance only after all regions of the State have had an opportunity for expression, either through appropriate committee action of the Board of Directors and after principal interests have been provided an opportunity to present their facts and views for the Board of Director’s consideration and action.

Local Controversies
The Alaska Chamber was formed to study and act upon matters of statewide importance and shall abstain from becoming involved in controversies between localities unless in the judgment of the Board of Directors, such mediation gives promise of constructive benefits to the State as a whole.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why have changes been made to the way the Chamber adopts policy positions?
Modifying or changing the slate of positions semi-annually is confusing for elected officials and erodes the Chamber’s credibility.

What do these changes mean for the 2016 Policy Forum?
It means that the slate of current positions (adopted in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015) were reviewed by the Legislative Affairs Committee (LAC) and all adopted positions automatically roll forward. Members need not vote on these positions again during the 2016 Policy Forum on October 13, 2016.

What if a policy position has been addressed or resolved?
The LAC reviewed all current positions. Positions that no longer require action and are resolved and remain positions. This allows the Chamber to respond quickly when a position is threatened.

What if the Board decides a position needs to be reconsidered?
The sponsor will be contacted and then will need to decide whether or not to advance the position for reconsideration. If the sponsor resubmits the position the original submission may be used, or an updated submission may be advanced. NOTE: To date the Board has not brought forward any policies for reconsideration.

Do members select position priorities?
No, as always, the Board ultimately has the authority to establish policy priorities. Members adopt policy positions and the Board establishes priorities.

Do members get to provide input on priority selection?
Yes, members should proactively discuss desired priorities with fellow members and members of the Board. Additionally, members participating in the Policy Forum should be prepared to share their priorities for the Board’s consideration.

What are the Chamber’s current advocacy positions?
2016 Priorities and Positions

What is the role of the Legislative Affairs Committee in the Policy Forum?

The Legislative Affairs Committee (LAC) has the responsibility to review each proposed new position and provide a recommendation to either adopt a position or not. The LAC may also take no position prior to the Policy Forum. In any circumstance, the LAC must justify its action with a written statement attached to each position.

What is the role of a position sponsor(s)?
Position sponsors need to be available to support their positions as the LAC reviewed it. Position sponsors must attend the Policy Forum and be prepared to provide a brief 
presentation of the position and answer member questions prior to members voting on adoption of a position. Alternatively, a position advocate, named by the position sponsor may represent the position during the Policy Forum. All position sponsors and advocates must be Alaska Chamber members.

Who can participate in the Policy Forum (October 13, 2016)?
All Alaska Chamber members, dues must be current as of September 30, 2016. All designated representatives of Alaska Chamber business members.

Only one member per Alaska Chamber business member may vote. How is voting conducted at the Policy Forum?
Voting delegates will receive an electronic keypad for private balloting. What is the desired outcome of the Policy Forum? New positions to add to the Chamber’s advocacy platform.

Who selects the Chamber’s position priorities?
The Board selects the Chamber’s top state and federal priorities for the year. Members are encouraged to communicate with Board members directly and actively participate in the Policy Forum and other Chamber committees, activities and events.

How long will positions be discussed?
Members will discuss positions during the Policy Forum. By design, position presentation and discussion must be limited considering the sheer volume of positions needing attention, the advance work done by the sponsor and the LAC, and the limited time available.

Who runs the Policy Forum (a general membership meeting)?
The introduction, discussion and voting on positions will be moderated by the Legislative Affairs Chairman and/or Vice Chairman with assistance from the Alaska Chamber President and CEO.