Issues

Small Business

Small Business Administration to Host Series of Webinars in May

The U.S. Small Business Administration and SCORE Association will host a free, 3-Day Virtual Conference during National Small Business Week. The conference will take place Tuesday, May 1 – Thursday, May 3 between 12:30 pm ET – 6:30 pm ET each day.

The Virtual Conference will feature 12 educational webinars, free business advice from mentors, free information and resources from sponsors and networking opportunities with fellow business owners.

The webinars include:

  • Hug Your Haters: How to Embrace Complaints & Keep Your Customers
  • Simple Steps to Choosing the Right Financing
  • Addressing Discrimination and Harassment in the Workplace
  • Sharing Your Story Through Video
  • Pop & Play: How Opening a Pop-Up Shop Can Help Launch Your Retail Brand
  • How Changing Consumer Behavior Impacts Your Business
  • How to Get New and Repeat Business On Autopilot with Email Marketing
  • Cybersecure Your Small Business
  • Managing Your Finances in the Cloud
  • Creating and Sustaining a Strong Social Presence
  • The U.S. Economic Outlook and Its Impact on Small Businesses
  • Grow Your Business in 2018

For registration, click here.

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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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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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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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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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