Issues

Small Business

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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U.S. House Small Business Committee Holds Hearing on the EMV Deadline

The Europay, Mastercard, Visa (EMV) chip payment system will be implemented nationwide this October. The upgraded technology is designed to protect against cybercrime and fraud. According to a recent study, less than forty-nine percent of small businesses are aware of the looming deadline and liability shift. The hearing examined the implications of the EMV chip deadline for small businesses and the efforts that are being made to ensure America’s small businesses are in compliance with their financial service providers. For more information, click here.

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U.S. House Bill Would Allow Exemption from Certain Group Health Plan Requirements for Small Businesses

On June 25, 2015, U.S. Congressman Charles Boustany (R-LA) introduced H.R. 2911, the Small Business Healthcare Relief Act. This bill will:

  • Ensure that small businesses and local municipalities with fewer than 50 employees are allowed to continue using pre-tax dollars to give employees a defined contribution for healthcare expenses;
  • Allow employees to use HRA funds to purchase health coverage on the individual market, as well as for qualified out-of-pocket medical expenses if the employee has qualified health coverage;
  • Protect employers from being financially penalized for providing this cost-sharing option to employees.

H.R. 2911 is currently before the U.S. House Committees on Energy and Commerce, Ways and Means, and Education and the Workforce. To see the full text of the bill, please click here.

 

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