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U.S. House Passes H.R. 10, the Financial CHOICE Act

On June 8th, the House of Representatives passed sweeping legislation to strip and replace much of the financial regulations passed under former President Barack Obama after the 2008 financial crisis.

The House passed the Financial Creating Hope and Opportunity for Investors, Consumers and Entrepreneurs (CHOICE) Act, 233-186, along party lines. The bill is not expected to pass the Senate. For more information, click here.

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U.S. Secretary of Labor Withdraws Joint Employment, Independent Contractor Informal Guidance

On June 7, 2017, U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta announced the withdrawal of the U.S. Department of Labor’s 2015 and 2016 informal guidance on joint employment and independent contractors. The joint employer doctrine refers to cases in which a business can be said to effectively control the workplace policies of another company, such as when a company subcontracts to another business. Until 2015, the department said the doctrine applied only to cases in which the company had “direct control” over the other’s workplace. In 2015, the department under then-Labor Secretary Tom Perez changed the standard to the much more ambiguous “indirect control.” Companies, particularly ones that engage in franchising, feared they could be held liable for all manner of violations at workplaces they didn’t directly oversee.
For more information, click here.
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NHTSA to Host Tire Safety Twitter Event

In advance of National Tire Safety Week (May 28-June 3), NHTSA is hosting a Twitter chat on May 24 from 3 – 4 p.m. ET to provide information to consumers and vehicle owners on how to be smart when it comes to their tires. Experts will be available to answer questions while you are able to spread the word and encourage your followers to perform proper tire maintenance.

Who: NHTSA’s team of experts

What: #TireWise Twitter Chat

When: Wednesday, May 24, 3 – 4 p.m. ET

Where: www.twitter.com/NHTSAgov

How: Follow the conversation using the hashtag #TireWise.

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Regulatory Accountability Act Passes Committee

On Wednesday, May 17th, S. 951 the Regulatory Accountability Act of 2017 (RAA) was passed out of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC) – by a vote of 9-5 – and will now be sent to the Senate Floor.

The focus of the Regulatory Accountability Act is to make sure that agencies, for the most costly regulations, take the time to implement Congressional intent, not the intent of the agency. In short, it allows Congress and the public to reassert control over the federal regulatory bureaucracy by holding agencies more accountable for their decisions, and allowing for regulations that are better-tailored to achieve their purpose without unnecessary burdens on stakeholders.

On February 6th, ASA joined with 615 other associations in a letter to urge Senate leadership to support this legislation which is designed to bring transparency, accountability, and integrity to the rulemaking process at federal agencies.

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Texas Shops Urged to Contact Representatives to Save Safety Inspection Program

Texas Senate Bill (SB) 1588, introduced by State Sen. Donald Huffines, R-16, passed the Texas Senate by a vote of 27-4 on May 4, 2017. If enacted this bill would dismantle Texas’ safety inspection program and institute an “inspection program replacement fee” due at a vehicle’s registration or registration renewal. SB 1588’s House companion bill, HB 3995, was reported favorably by the House Committee on Transportation on May 2, 2017. This bill also calls for the elimination of the safety inspection program.

The time to stop these bills and save Texas’ safety inspection program is growing short. ASA encourages all interested parties in Texas to visit the “Alerts” section of TakingTheHill.com to contact their state legislators in opposition to these bills.

 

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U.S. House Passes Bill to Change Overtime Rules

On May 2, 2017, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1180, the Working Families Flexibility Act, by a vote of 229 to 197. If enacted, this bill would allow allow private-sector employers to give their employees the choice to receive paid time off instead of cash payments for each hour of time for which overtime compensation would otherwise be required. For more information on H.R. 1180, please click here.

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The Small Business Administration Announces Webinar Series for Small Business Week

The U.S. Economic Outlook and Its Impact on Small Businesses
Presented by Visa
May 2, 2017 | 2:00-3:00 pm ET
Register here
5 Fabulous Habits of Local Business Champions
Presented by YP
May 3, 2017 | 2:00-3:00 pm ET
Register here
How to Write Your Email Content in 15 Minutes or Less
Presented by Constant Contact
May 4, 2017 | 3:30-4:30 pm ET
Register here
Find the Hidden Money in America
Presented by Chase
May 4, 2017 | 5:00-6:00 pm ET
Register here
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Utah Governor Signs Bill to Dismantle Vehicle Safety Insepections

On March 25, 2017, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert signed HB 265 into law. This bill states that beginning in 2018, vehicle safety inspections will no longer be necessary to complete yearly registration of noncommercial vehicles. Utah was one of 16 remaining states that required a periodic automotive safety inspection.

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EPA to Evaluate Vehicle Emissions Testing Internal Controls

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plans to begin preliminary research to determine whether the EPA’s existing internal controls are effective at detecting and preventing light-, medium-, and heavy-duty on-road vehicle emissions fraud. This project is included in the OIG’s fiscal year 2017 Annual Plan. To see more information, please click here.

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Thune and Peters Announce Joint Effort on Self-Driving Vehicles

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), the chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, and Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) today announced a joint effort to explore legislation that clears hurdles and advances innovation in self-driving vehicle technology. Thune and Peters offered the following joint statement on this new partnership:
 
“More than any other automotive technology in history, self-driving vehicles have the potential to dramatically reduce the more than 35,000 lives lost on our roads and highways every year and fundamentally transform the way we get around. Ensuring American innovators can safely develop and implement this technology will not only save lives but also solidify our nation’s position as the world leader in the future of mobility. 
 
“As we seek to identify areas where Congress should assist innovators in bringing this new technology to our roads, we will work closely with our colleagues, interested safety and mobility advocates, and other leaders in automated vehicle technology to find solutions that enable the safe testing and deployment of self-driving vehicles and assure public confidence. We both recognize that public policy must adapt to this new, rapidly-changing technology to ensure the federal government maintains safety while leaving room for innovators to reach their full potential.

“Many current federal vehicle safety standards reference placement of driver controls and other systems that assume a human operator. While these requirements make sense in today’s conventional vehicles, they could inhibit innovation or create hazards for self-driving vehicles. Left on its own, the slow pace of regulation could become a significant obstacle to the development of new and safer vehicle technology in the United States. We are particularly interested in ways to improve regulatory flexibility for testing and development of self-driving vehicles without changes to regulations that would affect conventional autos. Our effort will also include a discussion on the existing patchwork of laws and regulations and the traditional roles of federal and state regulators.
 
“We both put a premium on building consensus with our colleagues, and we certainly expect to have opportunities to update the public on our work. While we don’t have a specific timetable for producing legislation, we aim to propose a joint bill this year.” For more information, please click here

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