The time to realise US jewelers’ security

Oct 09, 2023

Jewelers of America, the national trade association for businesses serving the fine jewelry marketplace, returned to Capitol Hill, meeting with lawmakers to discuss policies and issues that are impacting their businesses. The annual fly-in, led by the Jewelers of America Political Action Committee (JAPAC), was held.

At the top of this year’s legislative agenda for jewelers are measures to reduce crime, which has gone up sharply over the past few years. JA members shared personal experiences, as well as key data from the Jewelers Security Alliance and Jewelers Mutual indicating the sharp increases in crime, as rates saw some of their biggest spikes in jewelry-related crime ever reported.

“Crime against jewelry businesses and customers has skyrocketed,” says Jewelers of America President & CEO David J. Bonaparte. “We wanted to ensure lawmakers understand how this issue threatens jewelers’ security and livelihoods.”

In fact, the delegation met with members of congress who have been actively pushing for stronger measures to fight rising crime. This included Rep. Young Kim, who is a sponsor of the “Improving the Federal Response to Organized Retail Crime Act of 2023,” which is one of several bipartisan bills introduced earlier this year that focus on retail crime.

Kim joined the group for lunch, along with members of Republican leadership including Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Rep. Elise Stefanik. Rep. Darrell Issa, who has also advocated for stronger legislation to fight crime was the guest at dinner on Wednesday night.

There were about 15 other prominent members of Congress JA members connected. In addition to emphasizing the need for action to fight jewelry related crime, the delegation of jewelers emphasized the following issues to Congress:

1: The need for Credit Card Reform, with a lack of competition causing credit card swipe fees to rise year after year. This lack of competition costs American businesses and consumers an estimated $15 billion per year.

2: The need for pro-growth tax policy that makes U.S. companies competitive in the global economy and provides a level playing field among all sectors of the economy and all sectors of retail.

3: Protection of the last-in, first-out (LIFO) inventory accounting method, which is considered an attractive revenue-raising option by lawmakers. Repeal would deal a potentially fatal blow to companies in the jewelry industry that use LIFO.

The delegation was led by Jewelers of America President & CEO David J. Bonaparte and JA’s Director of Marketing & Communications Molly Fallon, along with Tim Haake, Managing Director of Haake & Associates, JA’s long-term government affairs firm. Jewelers of America also welcomed leadership from the American Gem Trade Association as CEO John W. Ford joined the fly-in for the second year in a row.

Jewelers of America also hosted a D.C.-Member Meet-up the day before the fly-in which included a tour of the Library of Congress and a cocktail party featuring renowned political pollster Ed Goeas, President and CEO of The Tarrance Group.

Goeas shared insights from his book, “A Question of Respect: Bringing Us Together in a Deeply Divided Nation,” co-authored by his frequent collaborator from across the aisle, Celinda Lake.

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