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U.S. Senate Commerce Committee Holds Hearing on Autonomous Vehicle Legislation

The hearing took place on January 24, 2018. Committee members addressed self-driving and other auto technologies as well as issues on the horizon for lawmakers and regulators.

Witnesses:

  • Dr. Randy Avent, President, Florida Polytechnic University
  • Mr. Tim Kentley-Klay, CEO and Co-Founder, Zoox, Inc.
  • Mr. Mike Mansuetti, President, Robert Bosch North America, Robert Bosch LLC
  • Mr. Luke Schneider, President, Audi Mobility U.S.

Click here to watch the hearing.

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Anti-Safety Inspection Bill Introduced in Missouri

Missouri Representative J. Eggleston (R-2) recently introduced House Bill (HB) 1444. If enacted, this legislation will repeal Missouri’s vehicle safety inspection program.

Missouri and other state studies have shown the value of these vehicle safety inspection programs in terms of saving lives, preventing injuries and damage to property. Regular vehicle safety inspections by a qualified technician can identify and repair most safety issues that arise from normal wear and tear on the vehicle. If enacted, this bill will eliminate a program specifically designed to protect the motoring public.

ASA encourages all interested parties in Missouri to click here to contact their state representatives in opposition.

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U.S. Department of Labor Announces Proposal to Expand Access to Healthcare Through Small Business Health Plans

The U.S. Department of Labor today announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to expand the opportunity to offer employment-based health insurance to small businesses through Small Business Health Plans, also known as Association Health Plans.

As proposed, the rule would:

  • Allow employers to form a Small Business Health Plan on the basis of geography or industry. A plan could serve employers in a state, city, county, or a multi-state metro area, or it could serve all the businesses in a particular industry nationwide;
  • Allow sole proprietors to join Small Business Health Plans, clearing a path to access health insurance for the millions of uninsured Americans who are sole proprietors or the family of sole proprietors.

The NPRM will be published in the Federal Register on Jan. 5, 2018, and be available for public comment for 60 days. For more information, click here.

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OSHA Solicits Public Comment on Servicing Multi-Piece and Single Piece Rim Wheels

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is currently soliciting public comments concerning its proposal to extend the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) approval of the information collection requirements specified in the Standard on Servicing Multi-Piece and Single Piece Rim Wheels. The paperwork provisions of the Standard includes a requirement that the manufacturer or a Registered Professional Engineer certify that repaired restraining devices and barriers meet the strength requirements specified in the Standard and a requirement that defective wheels and wheel components be marked or tagged.

For more information, click here.

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U.S. House Subcommittees Hold Joint Hearing on Fuel Economy and Emissions Standards for Motor Vehicles

Today, the Subcommittee on Environment and the Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection held a joint hearing entitled “Update on the Corporate Average Fuel Economy Program (CAFE) and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards for Motor Vehicles. Witnesses included:

Mr. Mitch Bainwol 
President and CEO, Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers

Mr. John Bozzella 
President and CEO, Global Automakers

Dr. Dave Cooke 
Senior Vehicles Analyst, Clean Vehicles Program, Union of Concerned Scientists

Mr. Forrest McConnell III 
President, McConnell Honda & Acura, on behalf of The National Automobile Dealers Association

In his opening statement, Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) stated, “We want to know how these different regulatory schemes impact consumers, and learn more about better ways to ensure the federal fuel economy standards are met, without creating unnecessary paperwork or administrative burdens that serve only to drive up costs for American families. As currently constructed, it has been estimated that these programs will raise the average price of a new vehicle by almost $3,000 – that is no small amount and one that will undoubtedly price many Americans out of the new car market. Although the goals of these varying programs are important, we must never forget that we do in Washington has a real impact on consumers across the country.”

To watch the full hearing, please click here.

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GAO Releases Report on Automated Vehicles

A new GAO report recommended that DOT establish a plan to combat safety and infrastructure challenges posed by self-driving cars and light-duty trucks.

The report noted that DOT recently created a group to lead policy development, but the agency has not announced a timeframe or delineated the type of work the group is expected to do.

GAO recommends that DOT develop a comprehensive plan to better manage departmental initiatives related to automated vehicles. DOT concurred with the recommendation. To see the full text of the report, click here.

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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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