(NEW YORK) – Jewelers of America (JA), the national trade association for businesses serving the fine jewelry retail marketplace, has announced the expansion of its legislative advocacy capabilities to include state legislation tracking and state action campaigns at its website, www.jewelers.org. With the state advocacy expansion – made possible by a generous grant from the JCK Industry Fund – JA has updated the only online advocacy center of its kind in the jewelry industry, which is accessible to all retail jewelry professionals.
The new State Legislation Tracking Center – located in the “Legislation & Regulation” section at www.jewelers.org – allows visitors to track legislative issues that could affect jewelry businesses, by issue topic or state. Currently, the State Legislation Tracking Center monitors two important legislative issues: sales tax fairness bills and jewelry product-related bills, like those that limit cadmium or lead in children’s jewelry.
Visitors to the website will see an interactive map of the U.S. – the highlighted states are those with legislation JA is currently monitoring. Users can click on those states to see specific bills, read more information and, in some cases, take action. JA has plans to expand the Center’s coverage to other important state issues and welcomes input from industry professionals about state issues that are important to their businesses.
“Jewelers of America has long recognized the importance of fighting for the needs of jewelers on the federal level,” says JA President and CEO Matthew A. Runci. “In today’s complex political world, state-level legislation can also have a huge impact on jewelry businesses. Our new State Legislation Tracking Center gives the industry the ability to keep an eye on key state-level issues.”
In addition to the new state tracking capabilities, JA has expanded its online Legislative Action Center to include state-focused campaigns. Jewelry businesses can use JA’s pre-written action alerts and talking points to take action on federal and state issues. The Center also features a zip code search that helps visitors quickly identify and contact their state and federal representatives.
The association is working with the Manufacturing Jewelers and Suppliers of America (MJSA) in fighting to include fair measurement standards in state bills that limit levels of cadmium in children’s jewelry.
JA has also launched its second federal legislative action campaign of the year, asking jewelers to contact their legislators and push for a full and permanent repeal of the estate tax.
While the tax is fully repealed this year, on January 1, 2011, it will roar back to a maximum rate of 55% with a $1 million exemption. The threat of this high rate, combined with the uncertainty of what will happen to the estate tax going forward, makes it difficult for businesses and individuals to plan properly. Members and non-members can visit the Legislative Action Center’s estate tax action alert page to send personalized messages to Congress about this issue.
All retail jewelry professionals are invited to visit www.jewelers.org - Retail Jewelers or Suppliers - Legislation & Regulation, to use the Legislative Action Center
and the State Legislation Tracking Center
to help the industry influence state and federal legislation.