Issues

Issues

Waymo Begins Public Testing of Self-Driving Vehicles

Waymo,  a self-driving technology company founded by Google, has launched their “early rider program” in Phoenix, Arizona. Until now, Waymo’s and Uber’s self-driving cars have had a person in the driver’s seat ready to take control if necessary. For more details, click here.

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U.S. House Republicans Release Tax Reform Plan

House Republicans unveiled plans Thursday for a sweeping overhaul of the tax system calling for fundamental changes in business and individual taxes, including big cuts in rates and new breaks for families.

It also includes a new limit on the mortgage interest deduction. People could only deduct interest on the first $500,000 of their loans for newly purchased homes, down from the current $1 million limit.

While big companies would get a significantly lower 20 percent corporate rate, down from 35 percent, they would face new limits on their ability to deduct interest on their loans, a new global minimum tax on their overseas earnings, and new taxes on U.S. companies heading abroad.

For more information, click here.

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U.S. Small Business Administration to Host Twitter Chat on Cybersecurity for Small Businesses

In honor of National Cyber Security Awareness Month, the Small Business Administration (SBA) will host an interactive Twitter chat on October 10 at 3:00 pm ET featuring cybersecurity tips for small businesses. In addition to helpful advice, tips, and tricks, the SBA will be be asking leading experts about emerging threats every small business owner needs to know about. Follow along and share your ideas using the hashtag #SBAchat.

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U.S. Senate Committee Approves Federal Advisory Committee Language

On October 4th, 2017, the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation adopted an amendment to establish a federal advisory committee comprised of aftermarket representatives and other stakeholders. The amendment, offered by U.S. Senator Inhofe (R-OK), was added to S. 1885, the American Vision for Safer Transportation Through Advancement of Revolutionary Technologies (AV START) Act.

Included in the scope of the Committee is a review of data access and cyber security issues. In consultation with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Committee will produce a comprehensive report on vehicle data, intellectual property protections, customer privacy, cybersecurity, vehicle safety, etc., within two years. To see the full text of the amendment, click here.

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EPA to take Direct Final Action on Substitute Refrigerants

EPA is taking direct final action to correct an editing oversight that led to a potential conflict in a prior rulemaking as to whether or not containers holding two pounds or less of non-exempt substitute refrigerants for use in motor vehicle air conditioning that are not equipped with a self-sealing valve can be sold to persons that are not certified technicians, provided those small cans were manufactured or imported prior to January 1, 2018. This action clarifies that those small cans may continue to be sold to persons that are not certified as technicians under sections 608 or 609 of the Clean Air Act.

This rule is effective on December 27, 2017 without further notice, unless EPA receives adverse comment by October 30, 2017. For more information, click here.

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Republican Tax Plan Released

The Administration, the House Committee on Ways and Means, and the Senate Committee on Finance have developed a new tax reform framework. This framework outlines a tax code that focuses on economic growth and relief for middle-class families.  To see the full framework, click here.

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Federal Judge Invalidates Obama-Era Overtime Rule

On August 31, 2017, U.S. District Court Judge Amos Mazzant granted summary judgment against the Department in consolidated cases challenging the Overtime Final Rule published on May 23, 2016.  The court held that the Final Rule’s salary level exceeded the Department’s authority, and concluded that the Final Rule is invalid.  The case was heard in the United States District Court, Eastern District of Texas, Sherman Division (State of Nevada, et al. v. United States Department of Labor, et al., No. 4:16-CV-00731).

Please note that the Department is still accepting comments on its Request for Information (RFI), published on July 26, 2017.  The RFI comment period ends at 11:59pm on September 25, 2017.

For the complete timeline, please click here.

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Bill in U.S. House Would Reform Insurance Claims Adjuster Licensing

.S. Representative David Kustoff (TN-08), a member of the House Financial Services Committee, introduced H.R. 3363, the Claims Licensing Advancement for Interstate Matters Act (CLAIM Act). The bill aims to help independent insurance adjusters file insurance claims more efficiently, ensuring consumers expeditiously receive the funds needed to repair and rebuild communities – particularly in times of disaster. The bill is co-sponsored by U.S. Representatives Bill Foster (D-IL), Ed Royce (R-CA), Steve Stivers (R-OH), Rod Blum (R-IA) and Phil Roe (R-TN). Read more here.

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Federal Court Strikes Down EPA’s Hydrofluorocarbons Rule

A federal court struck down a key piece of the Obama administration’s climate agenda on Tuesday by saying the Environmental Protection Agency does not have the authority to ban the use of certain chemicals used in air conditioners blamed for exacerbating global warming.

The EPA enacted the rule in question in 2015, responding to research showing hydroflourocarbons, or HFCs, contribute to climate change. See more here.

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ASA Sends Joint Letter to FTC and NHTSA Requesting Aftermarket Representation

Following a recent public workshop on connected vehicles, co-hosted by NHTSA and the FTC, several aftermarket groups noted that the panelists failed to adequately address the role of the aftermarket repairer when it comes to connected vehicles. In a letter submitted to FTC Acting Chairman Maureen Ohlhausen and NHTSA Acting Deputy Administrator Terry Shelton, these groups, including ASA, outlined their concerns about the future of vehicle technologies and their impact on repairers and, in turn, consumers.

The letter also requested a joint meeting between the groups and both NHTSA and the
FTC to more fully discuss this issue and how it will affect consumers and competition in the
vehicle repair industry. To view the full text of the letter, please click here.

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