Issues

Small Business

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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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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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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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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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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OSHA Updates Guidelines for Safety and Health Programs

OSHA has recently updated the Guidelines for Safety and Health Programs it first released 30 years ago, to reflect changes in the economy, workplaces, and evolving safety and health issues. The new Recommended Practices have been well received by a wide variety of stakeholders and are designed to be used in a wide variety of small and medium-sized business settings. The Recommended Practices present a step-by-step approach to implementing a safety and health program, built around seven core elements that make up a successful program.

See more here.

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California Air Resources Board Issues Notice to Distributors of Automotive Refrigerant

The sale of automotive refrigerant is regulated in California, and retailers  must ensure that all requirements pertaining to the sales of certified products are met. In addition, distributors handling this product have regulatory requirements to meet as well. Penalties may be assessed for a violation of this regulation pursuant to the Health and Safety Code. To view the exact requirements for California retailers, please click here.

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OSHA Finalizes Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illnesses Rule

OSHA is issuing a final rule to revise its Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illnesses regulation. The final rule requires employers in certain industries to electronically submit to OSHA injury and illness data that employers are already required to keep under existing OSHA regulations. The frequency and content of these establishment specific submissions is set out in the final rule and is dependent on the size and industry of the employer. See the full text of the rule here.

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