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Volume 6, Issue 25, Nov 6, 2023
 Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce, Eau Claire, Wis.
Published the first business day of each week
Business Advocate Past Issues
Public Meetings Calendar
Chamber Events Calendar
The Chamber's Advocacy Principles
The Chamber's Business Issues Agenda
"Talking Po!nt" Podcast
Contact: Scott Rogers, VP Governmental Affairs


Eggs & Issues: Charles Franklin, Marquette Poll
Charles Franklin, long-time Director of the Marquette Law School Poll and one of Wisconsin's top experts on public opinion, will bring new insights off just-released Wisconsin and national polls. We'll explore what polling says about the current mood of Wisconsin public opinion, and what that tells us about the future of key policy issues and next year's elections.  
  Friday, Nov 17, 7:00-8:30 a.m., CVTC Business Education Center
    Click here for details and to register

Also for your calendar:
 •  Tuesday, Nov 14:
Economic Outlook Luncheon
    Wim Vandenhoeck Senior Portfolio Manager Invesco US, New York
 Wednesday, Nov 15: Workforce Solutions Summit
     Practical solutions  to solve immediate and long-term workforce challenges

Chamber Business Hours:
Mon-Thu 7:30a-5p, Friday 8a-2p  Lobby Hours: Mon-Fri 10a-2p

In this issue:
 • City of Eau Claire seeks proposals for Affordable Housing Fund
 • Menomonie Eggs & Issues tackles education, workforce gaps
 • Jerry Jacobson re-elected to Minneapolis Fed Board
 • Hurd leads Task Force on Childhood Obesity
 • DOL proposes 70% increase in exempt employee threshold for overtime pay
 • Food for thought
 • Mark your calendar
Note on article links: A subscription is required for those marked with "$"
Publications known to have article limits for non-subscribers are marked with "+"


Housing supply and affordability...
City of Eau Claire seeks proposals for Affordable Housing Fund
Up to $275,00 available
   The City of Eau Claire has released a Request for Proposals (RFP) to competitively award money from its Affordable Housing Fund (AHF) for the creation of work force or low-income housing. The City’s Housing Opportunities Commission has developed a Scoring Criteria matrix for the year 2023 for the City Council to evaluate proposals and award AHF dollars. The fund currently has about $275,000 available.

   Qualified developers are encouraged to review the criteria and submit proposals by the November 30 deadline. See the link below for details, scoring criteria, and the application.
   Previous recipients from the AHF have included The Eddy, which opened recently at Oxford and Madison streets, and Prairie Heights Residences, currently under construction at Birch and Galloway streets.
More information:
City Accepting Proposals for Affordable Housing Fund Project (Information with link to application and scoring criteria, City of Eau Claire)

City of Eau Claire seeking proposals for Affordable Housing Fund Project (WEAU 13 News)

Housing-related meetings and news...

Zoning Policy Advisory
Committee (ZPAC)
 • Monday, Nov 6, 4:00 p.m., LE Phillips Public Library Agenda

Housing Opportunities Commission
 • Wednesday, Nov 8, 5:00 p.m., City Hall, Agenda Packet

Local leaders meet to discuss affordable housing
(WQOW News 18)
The 6 Zoning Reforms Every Municipality Should Adopt (Strong Towns)
Eau Claire Population Shoots into Seventh Place in State (Volume One)
Proposed change for Eau Claire zoning could allow for accessory dwelling units (WEAU 13 News)
Report: Wisconsin Outpaces Nation in Trend Toward Smaller Households (Wisconsin Policy Forum)
Wisconsin's declining household size creates a housing 'mismatch,' report says (WPR)
Report: Wisconsin needs smaller houses to match shrinking households (The Cap Times)
Our View: Housing trends require new thinking (Leader-Telegram editorial $)

Menomonie Eggs & Issues tackles education, workforce gaps
   UW-Stout, the Menomonie Area Chamber and Visitor Center, and the Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce conducted a Menomonie Eggs & Issues breakfast last Thursday at UW-Stout. 
   The content covered trends, innovative strategies, and opportunities to strengthen the talent pipeline and tackle today's workforce challenges. Panelists included Katherine Frank, UW-Stout Chancellor; Jeff Jaeger, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Chippewa Valley; Stanley Lichucki, Andersen Windows; Dan Lytle, CVTC; and Joe Zydowsky, School District of the Menomonie Area.
   “We have a really robust partnership model," Menomonie Chamber CEO Ashley DeMuth told the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram, highlighting the discussion that both cited wins and opportunities, as well as challenges.
More information:
Menomonie businesses and schools collaborate over eggs (Leader-Telegram $)

Evers tours UW-Stout polytech programs (Leader-Telegram $)

Meeting this week...

Altoona City Council
 • Thursday, Nov 9, 6 p.m. Links to agenda and info

Eau Claire Board of Education
 • Monday, Nov 6, 7 p.m. Board information and agenda
South Middle School breaks ground on two and a half year renovation project (Leader-Telegram $)
Work on South Middle School facilities begins (WEAU 13 News)
'Eau Claire truly supports their schools': ECASD working on referendum funded projects (WQOW News 18)

Eau Claire County Board
 • Tuesday, Nov 7, 7 p.m. Agenda Packet
Includes a public hearing on the 2024 County Budget
County Board district maps and Supervisors
2024 County Budget Website (Eau Claire County)

More local news...

City Council Prez to Congressman: ‘E.C. Embraces the Chance to Welcome New Immigrants’
(Volume One)
City Council President’s responds to Rep. Tiffany’s letter concerning the Chippewa Valley Refugee Resettlement (WEAU 13 News)
Berge responds to Congressman's letter about refugees (Leader-Telegram $)
Refugee information meeting at library prompts protest (Leader-Telegram $)

City Manager's Weekly Update - 11/3/23
(City of Eau Claire)

Security Monitor position posted by library
(Leader-Telegram $)

ECPD works to de-escalate violence as officer-involved shootings double in Wisconsin
(WEAU 13 News)

Carson Park firework safety concerns committee
(Leader-Telegram $)

CVTC district board approves decrease in tax rate for 2023-2024
(WEAU 13 News)

Altoona School board addresses concerns, plans of space during budget meeting
(Leader-Telegram $)

Chamber Young Professionals get together for annual Sponsor a Family event
(WEAU 13 News)

Downtown community celebrates local food co-op’s expansion
(WEAU 13 News)

Need for Meal Donations, Community Support Continues to Grow for Sojourner House
(Volume One)

Getting a look at the new Eau Claire County Humane Association shelter
(WQOW News 18)

Operations grants return for EC Community Foundation
(Leader-Telegram $)

Chippewa County levy set to increase less than one percent
(Leader-Telegram $)

Chippewa Falls schools' tax levy to jump 10%
(Leader-Telegram $)

Jerry Jacobson re-elected to Minneapolis Fed Board
   Gerald “Jerry” Jacobson, President of Northwestern Bank has been re-elected to
the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis’ board of directors for a second term beginning Jan. 1, 2024. He will serve a full three-year term.
   "It is an honor to be re-elected to the board and represent member banks from our district,” Jacobson noted. “I look forward to another term and the challenges and opportunities it will bring for our region.”
   The responsibilities of directors are broad, ranging from overseeing the general operations of the Minneapolis Fed to reporting on district economic conditions. The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis is one of 12 regional Reserve Banks that, with the Board of Governors in Washington, D.C., make up the Federal Reserve System, the nation’s central bank. The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis is responsible for the Ninth Federal Reserve District, which
includes Montana, North and South Dakota, Minnesota, northwestern Wisconsin, and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The Bank participates in setting national
monetary policy, supervises numerous banking organizations, and provides a variety of payments services to financial institutions and the U.S. government.
More information: 
Board of Directors (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis)

Chamber, state podcasts feature Manufacturing Month
   Not only does the latest episode of the Chamber's "Business Matters" podcast recognize the importance of manufacturing to our local economy, but also recent Republican and Democratic radio addresses from Warren Petryk (R-Town of Washington) and Governor Evers spoke about the same topic. 
More information:
"Business Matters" podcast - Manufacturing Month
   In this episode we speak with Aaron White, City of Eau Claire and Luke Hanson, Eau Claire Economic Development Corporation about Manufacturing Month and how business not only gets to our area but evolves within it. Recorded in the WIN Technology Studio. Media sponsor Royal Credit Union. Click below to listen:
Business Matters Podcast Season 2, Ep 2, "Manufacturing Month" (34:29)

Listen - Weekly GOP radio address: Rep. Petryk on October being Manufacturing Month
Listen - Weekly Dem radio address: Gov. Evers celebrates Manufacturing Month (1:38)


WMC Future Wisconsin Summit
   Bringing together the business community and other partners to address our state’s long-term systemic, economic challenges and develop solutions that will create sustained economic success.
 • Tuesday, Dec 5, Madison
    Click here for details and to register

Next area legislative forum...
Eggs & Issues: Holiday Legislative Breakfast
 • Friday, Dec 15, 7:00-9:00 a.m. CVTC Business Education Center
    Click here for details and to register

Hurd leads Task Force on Childhood Obesity
   State Rep. Karen Hurd (R-Fall Creek) has been serving as chairman of the Speaker’s Task Force on Childhood Obesity, along with vice-chair Rep. Robyn Vining (D-Wauwatosa), which began in September traveling throughout Wisconsin obtaining input and innovative ideas in order to compile recommendations with the goal of completing work before the end of the year.
   "Childhood obesity is a critical health concern that demands attention. The task force will study circumstances contributing to childhood obesity, including physical activity, nutrition, medical and other root causes and factors. Through research-driven initiatives and community engagement, the task force aims to combat obesity and its associated health risks among children, fostering a generation of healthier citizens," noted a news release from Hurd's office describing the purpose of the task force.
   The task force held its final hearing in Eau Claire this past Friday, and will be compiling its findings and considering possible legislation.
More information:
Representative Hurd Appointed Chairman of Childhood Obesity Taskforce (Office of Rep Karen Hurd)
Speaker's Task Force on Childhood Obesity (Wisconsin Legislature)
Hearing information and documents (Wisconsin Legislature)
Rep. Hurd leads task force fighting childhood obesity (Leader-Telegram $)
Childhood obesity task force holds final public hearing in Eau Claire (WQOW News 18)

More state and regional news...

Applications open for 35th annual Wisconsin Manufacturer of the Year (MOTY) awards program

Wisconsin's 'regional tech hub' designation opens doors to funding

Gov. Evers Sues Legislative Republicans for Violating Wisconsin Constitution
(Office of the Governor)
Evers sues GOP lawmakers for blocking UW employee raises, other 'legislative vetoes' (WPR)

Wisconsin Gov. Evers urges new maps before next election, calls current ones unconstitutional
(Channel 3000)

Evers doles out ARPA money for Iron District soccer stadium, Bronzeville Center for the Arts

Evers cast doubt on bill addressing PFAS, calls it 'questionable'
(Journal-Sentinel +)

Sens. Marklein, James, Reps. Moses, Summerfield: Circulate crisis urgent care and observation centers legislation for mental health services

Bipartisan bill would create regional mental health crisis centers in Wisconsin

Local lawmaker introduces voting rights bills
(WQOW News 18)

Voter education group works to pierce distrust in elections in Wisconsin, one meeting at a time
(Journal-Sentinel +)

Robin Vos brushes aside recall threat over Meagan Wolfe impeachment
(The Cap Times)
GOP lawmakers formally introduce resolution to impeach state elections head following ad campaign targeting Vos (WPR)

Wisconsin lawmakers want to make Brandy Old-Fashioned the state's official cocktail. For many, it already is
(Journal-Sentinel +)

Wisconsin Supreme Court drama absent from annual chief justice speech
(The Cap Times)

City of Waupun takes rare step to invest public funds in child care

Bus rapid transit: Madison now planning for north-south line
(The Cap Times)

An unprecedented look inside Foxconn's plant: What's happening and what's next?

Ticket tax for American Family Field events, including Brewers games, could generate up to $6.5M, new analysis says
(Journal-Sentinel +)

Kohl’s downtown Milwaukee store opens

Milwaukee’s Stellantis facility would close under tentative UAW agreement

Mandel pulls plug on Cedarburg multi-family project
(Ozaukee County News Graphic +)

Town of Campbell residents sue city of La Crosse and chemical companies for PFAS contamination

S.S. Badger is ‘closer’ to resuming service from Manitowoc next year, company says

Election Day 2023: Minneapolis, St. Paul councils up for election

Audio: Northern Wisconsin agency talks challenges facing rural homeless populations
(WPR, 22:39)


US Dept. of Labor proposes 70% increase in exempt
employee threshold for overtime pay
US Chamber of Commerce encourages letters to DOL, Congress
   The US Department of Labor (DOL) has proposed changes to the white-collar exemptions to federal overtime pay requirements that could severely impact businesses and strip employees of workplace flexibility, warns the US Chamber of Commerce.
   The proposed rule would increase the minimum pay threshold of an exempt salaried employee from the current salary of $35,568/year, to $60,209/year – an increase of nearly 70%.  The threshold for highly compensated employees (HCEs) will increase from $107,432/year, to $143,988/year – an increase of 34%.  DOL is making these changes despite having last updated the thresholds only four years ago.  The proposed rule also includes an automatic escalator that will adjust these thresholds upward every three years.
We are concerned that such a dramatic increase – followed by automatic increases every three years – will hamper businesses with rising labor and administrative costs and ultimately result in many employees being reclassified as nonexempt, thus stripping them of highly-sought after workplace flexibility," notes the US Chamber in encouraging business people to contact the DOL and their Congressional Representatives. The US Chamber is part of the Partnership for Workplace Opportunity, a coalition providing information on the topic and an action portal.
More information:
Partnership for Workplace Opportunity (website)
Take Action: Portal to send letters to the DOL, Congress (Partnership for Workplace Opportunity)

More national and economic stories:

Fed holds rates steady, upgrades assessment of economic growth

U.S. payrolls increased by 150,000 in October, less than expected

Which Candidates Will Be on Stage for the Third Republican Debate November 8?

Trump takes the stand in civil trial over business fraud (Politico)

Tiffany, Van Orden vote against expelling George Santos (Leader-Telegram $)

D.C. analysis firm: Wis. Third Congressional District seat has more potential to flip than previous projection (News8000.com)

Biden administration approves largest offshore wind project in the US
(The Hill)

On a US tour, Ukrainian faith leaders plead for continued support against the Russian invasion

Food for thought...

The Flip Side: Both sides of important issues
(The Flip Side, daily digest)

Iowa’s Tax-Cut Triumph
(Editorial Board, Wall Street Journal $)
The Hawkeye State shows how to cut rates and grow revenue.
"The Iowa tax experience belies the claims of the left that cutting taxes produces deficits. In Iowa the tax cuts have helped to produce record surpluses that then can be used to cut income-tax rates further. [Governor Kim] Reynolds has also shown that you can cut rates across the board, even at the top, and succeed politically."

COVID-19 Resources:
Eau Claire County COVID-19 Information Hub (Eau Claire City-County Health Department)

Mark your calendar:

Economic Outlook Luncheon
 • Tuesday, Nov 14

Workforce Solutions Summit
 • Wednesday, Nov 15

Eggs & Issues: Charles Franklin, Marquette Poll
 • Friday, Nov 17

Eggs & Issues: Holiday Legislative Breakfast
 • Friday, Dec 15

Eau What A Night: The Chamber's 109th Annual Meeting
 • Wednesday, January 24, 2024

30th Annual Chippewa Valley Rally
 • Wednesday, Feb 28, 2024

Chamber Royale
 • Thursday, May 16, 2024

Golf Day in Eau Claire
 • Monday, Aug 5, 2024

Public Meetings Calendar
Click the link above for the our regularly updated schedule of public meetings.

Thanks for reading this issue of Business Advocate.
If you have comments or questions, contact Scott Rogers, Vice President G
overnmental Affairs, at 715-858-0616 or rogers@eauclairechamber.org

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