Your Chamber at Work - July 9, 2019


Tobacco 21 - the KC Chamber’s effort to raise the age of sale for tobacco and e-cigarettes from 18 to 21 – has had a victory in court. The Kansas Supreme Court ruled unanimously that Kansas cities have the authority to implement Tobacco 21 legislation.

So far, the Chamber’s efforts have resulted in 29 cities (in both Kansas and Missouri) raising the age of sale. Vape shops in Topeka had challenged Topeka’s right to do so, but Supreme Court Justice Caleb Stegall wrote nothing in the state’s home rule law expressly forbids cities from such action.

Needless to say, we’re ecstatic by the ruling. Tobacco 21 has been a priority of our Healthy KC initiative, as we work to make our community healthier and lower health-related business costs. Nationally, more than 470 cities and counties in 29 states, as well as 17 states, have implemented Tobacco 21 legislation. And the movement continues to grow.

Raising the age of sale of tobacco products reduces smoking and vaping among our young people. As the president of Tobacco 21, Dr. Rob Crane, says, “What people understand is that their kids are getting addicted and they have to do something.”

The Kansas Supreme Court’s decision is a victory for health and local control. And the Chamber will continue to work with area cities to implement their own Tobacco 21 legislation.



Mark your calendars. You’re invited to our next Neighborhood Networking event, Friday, July 12 to not only make great connections, but to celebrate the new chapter of one of Kansas City’s best-known brands. It’s the official Ribbon Cutting for J. Rieger & Co.’s new distillery and visitor experience. Spend the first half hour enjoying a traditional Neighborhood Networking, then celebrate the main event and join Rieger officials and Chamber staff for the ribbon cutting and opening of the new facility at 2700 Guinotte Ave. We will start gathering outside their new distillery at 8:30am with doors opening at 9:00 immediately following the Ribbon Cutting. Register here. The event is free to members and just $15 for non-members. Thanks to our 2019 networking sponsors Mazuma, SS&C, and Sprint.


With the current low unemployment rate, recruiting skilled reliable talent can be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be. Join us for Hiring Veterans is Good Business 2.0 -- Developing a Diverse and Inclusive Workforce for a Competitive Advantage, Friday, July 19 at noon in the KC Chamber Board Room, in the southeast corner of historic Union Station, 30 W. Pershing Rd. Veterans bring unique assets to the workforce, and often prove faster to hire and easier to train. You’ll learn ways to attract and recruit members of this highly skilled group. The event is free, but please register to make sure we have enough lunches and seats. Hiring Veterans is Good Business is a series of workshops sponsored by Grantham University.


Hiring Our Heroes is a nationwide initiative to help servicemen and women find meaningful employment opportunities. They spend several months in a corporate fellowship program with area businesses that value their unique assets. Come support and celebrate these fellows at their upcoming graduation ceremony. More than half of the graduates are from the KC metro area. Join Chamber staff, members of the Chamber’s Military Affairs Committee, and other regional businesses for the upcoming graduation at Cerner World Headquarters Kansas City Experience Center at 2951 Rock Creek Parkway. The event, presented by Cerner, is 9 am to 11 am on July 25. Attendance is free. This is the second of three graduation ceremonies for 2019.


It’s no secret that companies prioritizing diversity and inclusion have a stronger bottom line. Join us Wednesday, July 24 at the annual POWER of Diversity Breakfast at the Sheraton Crown Center, 2345 McGee, to celebrate companies and organizations leading the Metro in D&I practices. The Chamber will present the Champion of Diversity Award, the ACE Awards, and the Supplier Diversity ACE Award. This year we will also spotlight the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion Pledge. More than 38,000 CEOs nationwide have pledged to advance diversity and inclusion in the workplace through a specific set of actions. Hear from local CEOs who have already pledged and find out how your company can get involved. We’ll also ask attendees to share their photos and insights on our social media wall with an assigned hashtag. This event is $40 for non-members and $50 for members. Register now before it fills up.