State Chambers are a network of local businesses that advocate for their members, work with state lawmakers, and shape legislation. They represent business interests across the nation. Their focus is on statewide advocacy, but there is some crossover with national organizations.
There are different types of chambers and their membership is wide-ranging. Small businesses can join as members, while larger firms can become members of more than one chamber. The most common type of member is a company. However, there are also other options, such as non-profits and quasi-public entities. Some organizations provide specific services, while others are more like trade associations. These associations may have a low cost or no cost for membership, and may offer personalized services.
Typically, a chamber’s board of directors hires a chief executive and a staff. A chamber’s executive committee determines the organization’s policies and priorities, and the board appoints a president. In general, chambers take positions on issues based on the recommendations of state and national organizations, and a majority vote of the board of directors.
The US Chamber of Commerce has a lobbyist team that works on a variety of issues, including global warming, free trade, and offshore oil drilling. It has an Institute for 21st Century Energy that promotes expanding coal and nuclear energy production.
While the US Chamber has a large network of lobbyists, its state chambers are more subservient to transnational corporate interests. For example, 10 out of the 12 members on the board of COSC are state chamber CEOs. This is despite the fact that many state chambers receive funding from billionaires like the Koch brothers.
State Chambers of Commerce are a powerful way to speak for business and for the community. The business community is important to the overall economic growth of a community. A chamber can help protect business owners’ rights, increase global awareness of individual businesses, and provide a platform for broadcasting business information to the public.
A chamber’s members have the opportunity to participate in a wide range of initiatives, from promoting economic development to offering training opportunities for workers. As part of their work, chambers often sponsor events that help spread the word about their members. Members can contribute to a community calendar, a business directory, or even host a public forum.
Chambers also serve as self-regulating organizations. Member companies have the opportunity to choose how they contribute to the chamber’s general fund, which is strictly regulated. The funds can be used for business-related expenses, such as employee training or community development, or for other activities, such as a new building.
The US Chamber is part of the Council of State Chambers (COSC), a network of state chambers that promotes cooperation among its member organizations. Its mission is to provide leadership for the state chambers of the U.S. and to encourage the expansion of the state chambers movement across the country.
State Chambers have a number of specialty practices, such as Public law and Human Rights. They are also well-connected with the Federal Courts, and are close to the Supreme Court.