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Member Advocacy

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Members of OH SHRM before heading to the Capitol.

Across the country earlier this month, various state affiliates of SHRM hosted “Hill Days” in their respective state capitols where HR practitioners conducted face-to-face meetings with state representatives and staff members.  These efforts compliment the main thrust of SHRM’s national federal effort coined the “Advocacy Team” (or A-Team), to inform elected officials about the HR profession and how certain public-policy issues will impact the workplace in their states. SHRM understands how vital member participation is to advancing the views of the profession and applauds these state affiliates for seizing the opportunity to “put a face” behind HR and to let their voices be heard.

Tallahassee, Fla.

HR Florida hosted its third annual “Day on the Hill” event in Tallahassee on April 17 and 18. Approximately 30 HR Florida members attended an employment law seminar where Don Works, Esq., Florida’s State Legislative Affairs Director, and Ignacio Garcia, Esq., Florida’s Federal Legislative Affairs Director, provided an overview of effective advocacy and a briefing on pending legislative proposals of relevance to the HR sector. One state issue that was discussed (S.B. 100) would prohibit most Florida employers from using credit reports or credit history in making employment decisions (with a few exceptions), and two other bills that would create a cause of action for an “abusive workplace environment.”

Sacramento, Calif.

On April 18, over 60 HR professionals from throughout California ascended on the state capitol in Sacramento to discuss two workplace issues pending before the legislature. The visits, which were part of the two-day CalSHRM Legislative Conference, provide participants the opportunity to share the HR perspective in support of legislation designed to foster workplace flexibility for nonexempt workers in the private sector (see related story) and in opposition to the expansion of protected groups under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act to include “familial status” for individuals who provide “medical or supervisory care” to a family member.

Other HR issues addressed during the conference included an update on the approaching rollout of the California health care exchange named Cover California planned for this fall, a detailed update on a number of federal HR issues making their way through Congress, and addresses by SHRM President and CEO Henry “Hank” Jackson and noted Washington political analyst Ron Brownstein.

Columbus, Ohio

On April 23, Ohio SHRM hosted approximately 75 HR professionals from across the state at its annual Legislative Conference in Columbus.  During the one-day conference meeting, participants heard from Tony Fiore, Esq., Ohio SHRM Legislative Director, about state HR issues that will impact Ohio businesses, as well as how to develop effective relationships with hometown legislators in the Ohio legislature. Other notable speakers addressed other issues of importance to Ohio’s employer community with a focus on developments with the state’s workers’ compensation program.

At the conclusion of the conference, attendees visited the Ohio capitol and conducted meetings with their state representatives where they discussed various HR issues including workplace flexibility and compensatory time, unemployment tax and worker retraining and health care.

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