Issues

U.S. House Subcommittee Holds Hearing on the Oversight of the Federal Trade Commission

On May 8, 2019, the Chairman and four Commissioners from the Federal Trade Commission testified in front the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce in a hearing entitled, “Oversight of the FTC: Strengthening Protections for Americans’ Privacy and Data Security.” The FTC’s mission is to protect consumers from unfair or deceptive practices, however, as Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) pointed out in his opening statement, the “FTC has fewer employees today than it did in the 1980’s when the Internet did not exist. It has just over 40 employees responsible for protecting the data of 300 million Americans.” Chairman Pallone, Chairwoman of the Subcommittee Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Ranking Member Greg Walden (R-OR), and Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), all echo similar sentiments in their opening statements acknowledging the need to pass comprehensive consumer privacy legislation, and working with the FTC to learn how Congress can assist the FTC with increasing resources and in fulfilling their mission of better protecting consumer data privacy, competition, and innovation.

To view the hearing in its entirety, click here.

ASA Discusses Periodic Motor Vehicle Inspection Programs & OEM Repair Procedures

During the Automotive Service Association’s Annual Business Meeting & Conference, Bob Redding, ASA Washington, D.C. representative, sat down with Tom Piippo, AMAM, Mechanical Division Director, and Scott Benavidez, AAM, former Collision Division Director, and the current ASA Secretary/Treasurer, to discuss the importance of Periodic Motor Vehicle Inspection Programs and OEM repair procedures.

To view the video on Periodic Motor Vehicle Inspection Programs, click here.

To view the video on OEM repair procedures, click here.

U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee holds Hearing on Automobile Loans and Insurance Industries

On May 1, 2019 Chairman Al Green (D-TX), Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, convened a hearing entitled, “Examining Discrimination in the Automobile Loan and Insurance Industries.” In a memorandum to the subcommittee, the Financial Services Committee Majority Staff provided background information on the issue, stating, “auto loan debt is the third largest category of household debt, after mortgages and student loans. Nearly all American households own at least one vehicle, and most Americans must borrow money in order to purchase a car. Auto borrowing varies by income, age, and state.” As vehicles are becoming increasingly sophisticated, it makes sense that their price tag would reflect those technological advancements. A monetary increase of any product has the propensity to impact any American family; research unveiled in the memorandum highlights that non-white borrowers were charged significantly more than white consumers. The memorandum also noted that due to a lack of data collection of discriminatory practices in auto finance, it is difficult to make any significant progress in abetting the issue. Opening statements from Committee Members highlight that it is unacceptable that there is discrimination in this industry.

Witnesses:

  • John W. Van Alst, Attorney, National Consumer Law Center; Director, Working Cars for Working Families, and NCLC project
  • Rachel J. Cross, Policy Analyst, Frontier Group
  • Kristen Clarke, President and Executive Director, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
  • Joshua Rivera, Policy Advisor, University of Michigan, Poverty Solutions
  • James Lynch, Chief Actuary, Vice President of Research and Education, Insurance Information Institute

To view the hearing in its entirety, click here.

U.S. House Transportation Committee Holds Hearing on Highway Safety

This morning the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Highways and Transit held a hearing titled, “Every Life Counts: Improving the Safety of our Nation’s Roadways.” In a press release, Chairwoman Holmes-Norton (D-DC) states the purpose of the hearing is to “look to modernize traffic flows and infrastructure, [as] we must confront the chronic federal underinvestment that has left our roads more dangerous to pedestrians and drivers alike.” In 2017, it was recorded that there were over 37,000 deaths on roadways. Witness testimonies touch on numerous ways to improve road safety such as increasing funding, decreasing the BAC limit, developing complete streets policies and practices, and updating the Highway Safety Improvement Program.

Witnesses:

  • The Honorable Jennifer Homendy, Member, National Transportation Safety Board
  • The Honorable Fred Jones, Vice Mayor, City of Neptune Beach, Florida on behalf of Transportation for America
  • Michael L. Brown, Chief of Police, City of Alexandria
  • Jay Bruemmer, Vice President, K & G Striping, Inc. on behalf of the American Traffic Safety Services Association
  • Mike Sewell, Active Transportation Service Line Leader, Gresham Smith on behalf of The League of American Bicyclists
  • Nicholas Smith, Interim President and Chief Executive Officer, The National Safety Council

To view the subcommittee hearing in its entirety, click here.

U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship holds First Mark up of 116th Congress

On March 27, 2019, the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship held its first markup of the 116thCongress approving three bills. Two of these bills address the need for better cybersecurity for small businesses; S. 771, the Small Business Cyber Training Act, and S. 772, the SBA Cyber Awareness Act.

S. 771 would create a program that trains counselors at the Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) across the country in cyber strategy assistance by establishing a cyber counseling program, requiring 10 percent of total employees at lead SBDCs to become certified in cyber counseling and requiring the SBA to reimburse SBDCs for costs of the program.

S. 772 would ensure that the information technology systems at the Small Business Administration are protected from cyber criminals by assessing its internal cybersecurity, developing an agency cyber strategy and to report that strategy to the Senate and House Small Business Committees after enactment, and requiring the SBA to report to the Senate and House Small Business Committees on the specific actions taken to secure agency data and threats.

To view a one pager from Chairman Rubio on S. 771, click here.

To view a one pager from Chairman Rubio on S. 772, click here.

SBA Office of Advocacy holds 3 Small Business Roundtables on DOL’s Proposed Overtime Rule

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), Office of Advocacy will be hosting three roundtables to discuss the Department of Labor’s proposed Overtime Regulation under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The proposal would be updating the 2004 rule and increase that salary threshold from $455 to $679 per week ($35,308 annually). The Office of Advocacy hopes to hear from small businesses about the impact of the rule.

The proposal is now open for public comment and will remain open for public comment for 60 days. To submit a comment, click this link, in the rule-making docket RIN 1235-AA20.

More information about the rule can be seen here.

The roundtables will be held in Tampa, FL, Washington, D.C., and Mobile, AL. Information about the location and times can be seen below:

Tampa, Florida
Thursday April 4, 2019 – 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm (EDT)
Florida SBDC at the University of South Florida Port Tampa Bay
Building 1101 Channelside Dr., Suite 210 Tampa, FL 33602

Washington, DC
Thursday April 11, 2019 – 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm (EDT)
SBA Headquarters, Eisenhower Room B
409 Third Street SW Washington, DC 20416
(Call-in option available).

Mobile, Alabama
Tuesday April 30, 2019 – 9:00am – 11:00 am (CDT)
Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce
451 Government St.
Mobile, Alabama 36602

To RSVP, email Janis.Reyes@sba.gov.

ASA’s Washington Watch

On March 20, 2019, the Automotive Service Association hosted a webinar highlighting key legislative issues within the automotive industry, at the Federal and State levels, specifically covering Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) repair procedures and vehicle safety inspections. Leading the conversation was ASA’s, Robert Redding, along with guest speakers Aaron Schulenburg, Executive Director at Society of Collision Repair Specialists, Thomas Tucker, Director of State Government Affairs at Auto Care Association, and Roy Littlefield, CEO at Tire Industry Association.

To view the webinar in its entirety, click here.

U.S. Department of Labor Announces Proposal to Increase Eligibility for Overtime Pay

On March 7, 2019 the U.S. Department of Labor announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to make more than a million Americans eligible for overtime pay. Under current law, Americans making $455 per week (23,660 annually) must be paid overtime if they work over 40 hours a week. The proposal would be updating the 2004 rule and increase that salary threshold from $455 to $679 per week ($35,308 annually) bringing higher wages to Americans.

As proposed, the rule would:

  • Increase the minimum salary required for an employee to qualify for exemption from the currently-enforced level of $455 to $679 per week (equivalent to $35,308 per year).
  • The proposal increases the total annual compensation requirement for “highly compensated employees” (HCE) from the currently-enforced level of $100,000 to $147,414 per year.
  • Commit to periodic review to update the salary threshold. An update would continue to require notice-and-comment rulemaking.
  • Allow employers to use nondiscretionary bonuses and incentive payments (including commissions) that are paid annually or more frequently to satisfy up to 10 percent of the standard salary level.
  • Not change overtime protections for:
    • Police Officers
    • Fire Fighters
    • Paramedics
    • Nurses
    • Laborers including: non-management production-line employees
    • Non-management employees in maintenance, construction and similar occupations such as carpenters, electricians, mechanics, plumbers, iron workers, craftsmen, operating engineers, longshoremen, and construction workers
  • Not change to the job duties test.
  • Not make automatic adjustments to the salary threshold.

The proposal is now open for public comment and will remain open for public comment for 60 days. To submit a comment, click this link, in the rule-making docket RIN 1235-AA20.

More information about the rule can be seen here.

 

 

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