Issues

Issues

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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FCC and FTC Commissioners Outline Agency Agendas in New Administration

On Feb. 1, Center for Technology Innovation fellow Nicol Turner-Lee moderated a panel discussion at Brookings with FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn and FTC Commissioner Terrell McSweeny that focused on what they would like to see as the primary agendas for these agencies going forward. The commissioners expressed their views of how their agencies will proceed with pending decisions on net neutrality, consumer privacy, and expanding broadband internet access, along with potential challenges to each agency’s authority. See more here.

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Carbon Pollution Standards for Cars and Light Trucks to Remain Unchanged Through 2025

Today, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy finalized her decision to maintain the current greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions standards for model years 2022-2025 cars and light trucks. The final determination finds that a wide variety of effective technologies are available to reduce GHG emissions from cars and light trucks, and that automakers are well positioned to meet the standards through model year 2025 at lower costs than predicted.

“My decision today rests on the technical record created by over eight years of research, hundreds of published reports including an independent review by the National Academy of Sciences, hundreds of stakeholder meetings, and multiple opportunities for the public and the industry to provide input,”  said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.  “At every step in the process the analysis has shown that the greenhouse gas emissions standards for cars and light trucks remain affordable and effective through 2025, and will save American drivers billions of dollars at the pump while protecting our health and the environment.” For more information, please click here.

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Bill to Allow Federal Employees to be Reimbursed for Use of Ridesharing Services Passes U.S. House

On January 10th, 2017, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 274, the Modernizing Government Travel Act. If enacted, this legislation would allow Federal employees to be reimbursed for the use of “modern travel services,” including rideshareing applications such as Uber and Lyft.  When the Modernizing Government Travel Act first passed the House in 2016, the bill’s sponsor, Representative Seth Moulton (D-MA) stated, “Our bipartisan bill ensures that innovative and cost-effective modes of transportation are available to the thousands of federal employees in Washington and Massachusetts for official travel.” H.R. 274 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs for further consideration.

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Volkswagen to Recall 83,000 3.0 Liter Diesel Vehicles and Fund Mitigation Projects to Settle Allegations of Cheating Emissions Tests on Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche Vehicles

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Administration’s Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity Releases Final Report

In February 2016, President Obama established the Commission with Executive Order 13718. The Commission completed its report on Dec. 1, 2016, providing detailed short-term and long-term recommendations to strengthen cybersecurity in both the public and private sectors, while protecting privacy, fostering innovation and ensuring economic and national security. To develop their recommendations, the commissioners consulted technical and policy experts, solicited input from the public through open hearings and a request for information, and reviewed existing literature.

The report emphasizes the need for partnerships between the public and private sectors, as well as international engagement. It also discusses the role consumers must play in enhancing our digital security. The report categorizes its recommendations within six overarching imperatives focused on infrastructure, investment, consumer education, workforce capabilities, government operations and requirements for a fair and open global digital economy.

The Commission praised the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for its efforts to work with industry to develop voluntary and collaborative guidelines to secure IoT devices. For example, automotive manufacturers have called for a consistent set of federal guidelines for autonomous vehicles, and they have worked with the NHTSA on such rules.

To see the full text of the commission’s report, click here.

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EPA Moves to Ban Certain Aerosol Degreasers

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to ban certain uses of the toxic chemical trichloroethylene (TCE) due to health risks when used as a degreaser and a spot removal agent in dry cleaning.

“For the first time in a generation, we are able to restrict chemicals already in commerce that pose risks to public health and the environment,” said Jim Jones, assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “Once finalized, today’s action will help protect consumers and workers from cancer and other serious health risks when they are exposed to aerosol degreasing, and when dry cleaners use spotting agents.  I am confident that the new authority Congress has given us is exactly what we need to finally address these important issues.” See more here.

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