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Weekend Wellness: Planning For A Storm

InteroMojo - Sat, 12/13/2014 - 8:00am

When we know a big storm is on the horizon or we plan on taking a trip “in” to a storm, we prepare for it. If our tires are bald, we consider new tires. We look at our windshield wipers, get new ones if needed, and we keep a blanket in the car.

For our homes we check any leaks which might need attending, we clean the gutters and stock up on candles.

If we know we are going to be out and about we bring our hats, gloves and umbrellas. We prepare for the storm as best we can.

What about when we wake up, expecting a sunny “emotional” day and an emotional storm hits us out of the blue. Are you prepared? Do you know how to calm yourself down to handle the chaos? Do you know how to move into “safety” mode and protect your family (i.e. how not to yell, have a breakdown, be grumpy, etc.)?

How about when you over indulge in food and even alcohol? Do you know how to ground yourself and be healthy again? Do you quickly drink more water and choose low salt, low sugar foods on quick reflex to reset your body; or do you go for the greasiest burrito you can find to keep the dark clouds brewing in your body?

We value the safety of our cars and homes in stormy fronts; do you think we should also create a plan of how to react and protect our health in times of internal winter weather?

I think it’s time for a health preparedness plan!

Categories: Latest News

A Key Ruling for Food Labeling Class Action Defendants Issued on “Reasonable Consumer” Standard

WLF Legal Pulse - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 10:30am
Guest Commentary by James D. Smith, Bryan Cave LLP In what seems likely to become a defining case on appeal, Northern District of California Judge Lucy Koh granted summary judgment this week in a long-running food labeling class action. The plaintiff in Brazil v. Dole Packaged Foods, LLC, No. 12-CV-01831-LHK (N.D. Cal.), alleges that 10 […]
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Cool Apps: Ship Smarter with Slice

InteroMojo - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 8:05am

I’m sure by now, you’re feeling good about your holiday shopping. Items are are starting to pile up in a corner of your house. Your Cyber Monday purchases slowly trickling in. Can you even remember what you ordered or where it’s from? Not to mention which shipping carrier to expect it from? Well, today’s app is going to help with all of that because going through your thousands of emails to find the tracking information to make sure grandma received the gift basket you sent can be a challenge and time consuming.

Slice works seamlessly with your email inbox to find and store the e-receipts from the stuff you buy storing all of the information in one simple app. It will track your packages from shipment to delivery sending you automatic alerts on the status of your purchases.

To make life even easier, the app doesn’t stop there. For retailers that honor price adjustments, Slice will send you push notifications when the price drops for one of your purchases so you can recoup the difference! It will also alert you if one of your products has a recall associated with it.

To take advantage of Slice, all you have to do is sign up and link your account to your Google, Yahoo, Hotmail or other email system. Slice will automatically find your receipts and track your packages. It really is just that easy. It takes less than 2 minutes! To check on your purchases, just go to the app and click on the item you want to view or set up automatic notifications so the app tells you when there’s an update with your order. What a great way to keep organized this holiday season and throughout the year. You’ll wonder how you managed without it!

Watch how it works in the below video.

Click here to play video

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Rockefeller, Thune Statement on Passage of Commerce Cybersecurity Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee Chairman John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV (D-WV) and Ranking Member John Thune (R-SD) today applauded the passage of their bipartisan cyber legislation that will help strengthen and protect the nation’s economic and national security. The passage of the Rockefeller-Thune bill last night follows years of work to reach a bipartisan consensus on cybersecurity legislation.

“For years, I have said that cyber attacks pose one of the gravest threats to our national and economic security. Now, wi...

Committee Leaders Respond To NLRB Ambush Election Rule

Education & the Workforce Committee - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 12:00am
 House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) and Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions Subcommittee Chair Phil Roe (R-TN) issued the following joint statement after the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) implemented a new rule speeding up the union election process: 

After more than three years of public outcry, the Obama board is still determined to impose an ambush election scheme on our nation’s workplaces. This administrative overreach will stifle employers’ free speech, cripple workers’ free choice, and jeopardize the privacy of workers and their families. It will completely upend an election process that has worked well for decades, one that is fair and designed to foster agreement.

The American people want policies that will set us on the path to a stronger economy, more jobs, and higher wages for working families. This misguided ambush election rule will pull our country in the opposite direction. Congress cannot stand by and let that happen. The committee has been leading the fight against the president’s radical labor board, and rest assured, we will continue to do so.

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Update: Federal Liability Immunity Thankfully Conferred for Some Ebola Vaccines

WLF Legal Pulse - Thu, 12/11/2014 - 3:03pm
Per Washington Legal Foundation’s suggestion earlier this fall, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a formal declaration this week that those who manufacture, distribute, and administer certain yet-to-be-approved vaccines for the Ebola virus qualify for federal liability protection under the federal Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP Act). […]
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Rockefeller Commends FCC Vote to Raise E-Rate Funding Cap

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV, Chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, today released the following statement after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to invest an additional $1.5 billion into E-Rate, the next-generation high-speed Internet program he co-authored for students across West Virginia and the country. Rockefeller has, in recent years, encouraged the FCC to strengthen and expand the program to keep up with the evolving technology demands of today’s classrooms and lib...

House Passes Bipartisan Multiemployer Pension Reform

Education & the Workforce Committee - Thu, 12/11/2014 - 12:00am

After a bipartisan agreement to reform the multiemployer pension plan system and protect millions of workers from financial catastrophe was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives today, Committee on Education and the Workforce Chairman John Kline (R-MN) and Senior Democratic Member George Miller (D-CA) issued the following joint statement:

Tonight a bipartisan Congress put workers and businesses one step closer toward having the tools they need to come together and save pension plans that are facing imminent bankruptcy. Our bipartisan agreement should become the law of the land to help prevent the collapse of failing plans and better protect workers’ retirement security. It’s time to trust our nation’s workers, employers, and union leaders to do the right thing by enacting this important bipartisan agreement.

Learn more about the multiemployer pension plan reform here

Read letters of support from labor and business leaders here

Full text of the legislation can be found here.

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What They're Saying: Business and Union Leaders Support Bipartisan Agreement to Reform Multiemployer Pensions

Education & the Workforce Committee - Thu, 12/11/2014 - 12:00am

Letters of support are pouring in for the bipartisan agreement to reform multiemployer pensions. Released by House Education and the Workforce Chairman John Kline (R-MN) and Ranking Member George Miller (D-CA), the proposal includes reforms to provide trustees with new tools to save troubled plans, while protecting taxpayers. See what business and union leaders are saying in support of this bipartisan agreement:

"The bi-partisan proposal developed by the Education and Workforce Committee will modify the expiring Pension Protection Act (PPA) and give plan trustees the tools they need to strengthen their plans. This proposal helps troubled plans avoid insolvency, puts the plans recovering from the economic downturn on firmer ground, and helps those plans – and retirees – that are most in trouble avoid losing everything." – North America’s Building Trades Unions

"I urge you to support the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014 as it follows the “Solutions Not Bailouts” proposal that was a private sector, joint labor-management proposal to solve the multiemployer pension system failures and avoid a federal bailout. The legislation will provide modifications to the PPA that will strengthen plans’ funding positions and ensure long-term retirement security." – Associated General Contractors of America

"The Kline-Miller legislation protects pensions, retirees, and taxpayers. It is the only reform that accomplishes all of these important objectives." – The Association of Food and Dairy Retailers, Wholesalers and Manufacturers, Aramark, Bimbo Bakeries, ConAgra Foods, Dairy Farmers of America, Dean Foods, Kellog’s, Kroger

'Workers and their employers have used and exhausted all the tools at their disposal to strengthen their plans on their own. Some have even increased worker and employer contributions and accepted reduced benefits to preserve these pensions … We are simply asking Congress to give multiemployer pension plans the tools they need to modernize, continue to provide benefits, and in some cases, avoid insolvency." – United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America

"This bipartisan agreement follows three years of hard work, hearings, events and negotiations between employers and unions, and members of Congress. It is absolutely essential legislation to allow the private sector to resolve the multiemployer pension crisis without government involvement." – The Kroger Co. 

"While imperfect, SEIU supports this legislation because it will help preserve and protect the multiemployer defined benefit pension system for our members and all of the system’s participants for years to come. Failure to pass this legislation now will jeopardize the future of this system, and will increase the eventual cost for our members, our employers, and potentially for taxpayers." – Service Employees International Union 

"If Congress enacts the bipartisan Kline-Miller legislation, it will allow critically underfunded multiemployer pension plans to engage in self-help to save themselves from insolvency, at no cost to taxpayers. It will protect plan participants from larger benefit cuts in the future; avert large contribution increases that will result in employer bankruptcies; prevent the loss of thousands of jobs; and greatly minimize inevitable calls for a PBGC bailout." – ArcBest Corporation

"Our seniors are looking to Congress for common sense, bipartisan pension reform that protects as many multiemployer plans as possible. The Kline-Miller compromise, while not perfect, achieves that goal. The UFCW strongly urges you to include these reforms in the year-end spending bill without further delay." – United Food and Commercial Workers International Union

"It is absolutely critical that we move forward with legislation to address the challenges facing these plans so that we can continue to provide the hardworking men and women who make America strong with benefits that allow them to retire with dignity." – United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the United States and Canada

"Pension trustees have run out of options. They have used and exhausted the policy tools at their disposal. Many have increased worker and employer contributions. A large number have reduced pension accrual rates, in addition to other painful policy steps. The International Union of Operating Engineers strongly believes that Congress must take these essential steps to strengthen the multiemployer pension system." -  International  Union of Operating Engineers

"The bipartisan proposal developed by the Education and the Workforce Committee will modify the expiring Pension Protection Act (PPA) and give plan trustees the tools they need to strengthen their plans." – International Union of Painters and Allied Trades

"The National Coordinating Committee for Multiemployer Plans (NCCMP) strongly supports the bipartisan agreement between Chairman John Kline and Ranking Member George Miller of the House Education and Workforce Committee to reform the multiemployer pension system and implement key provisions of the Solutions Not Bailouts proposal." – National Coordinating Committee for Multiemployer Plans.

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Senate and House Leaders Issue Statement on Passage of Bipartisan Coast Guard Authorization

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senators John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV (D-WV) and John Thune (R-SD), the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, and Representatives Bill Shuster (R-PA) and Nick J. Rahall, II (D-WV), the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, issued the following statement on the passage of the Howard Coble Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2014.

“The men and women of our nation’s Coast Guard are tasked with the important duty of enforcing U.S. ...

Following Commerce Committee Hearing on Domestic Assault in Pro Sports, NFL Issues New Personal Conduct Policy

WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Senator John Thune (R-South Dakota), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, today issued the following statement on the National Football League’s (NFL) adoption of new rules governing the personal conduct of players and league personnel:

“I am pleased that the NFL team owners have chosen to revise and update the league’s policies on personal conduct. This is an important first step in addressing the problem of assault and domestic violence in professional sports. I look forward to reviewing...

Commerce Committee Announces Hearing on the Future of Passenger Rail

WASHINGTON, D.C.— The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation’s Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Security will hold a hearing on Wednesday, December 10, 2014, at 2:30 p.m. titled, “Passenger Rail: Investing in our Nation’s Future.” This hearing will focus on the current state of intercity passenger rail in the United States, the need to invest for future growth, and implications for future legislative action. Senator Richard Blumenthal will chair.

For reporters interes...

What New and Innovative Features will Drive the Future of Government Payments?

GSA news releases - Wed, 12/10/2014 - 1:00am
GSA Issues Request For Information to Collect Industry Input for Next-Gen SmartPay¿Solutions

Associated Press: Small Business and Politics: How Did Graves Do?

House Small Business Committee News - Wed, 12/10/2014 - 12:00am

Small Business and Politics: How Did Graves Do?

By JOYCE M. ROSENBERG, AP Business Writer

Small companies were still reeling from the recession in 2011 when Sam Graves became chairman of the House Small Business Committee. As the Missouri Republican prepares to leave his post, small business has a higher profile, partly because of the committee's legislation on issues like federal contracts and its more than 200 hearings.

"I think he's had a pretty good record," says Todd McCracken, president of the advocacy group National Small Business Association. "His is one of the most active committees in Congress."

Although the committee's primary function is overseeing the Small Business Administration, under Graves it became a forum on small business issues, McCracken says. Among them: health care, taxes, availability of bank loans and federal regulations. The committee also campaigned with other lawmakers for small business legislation.

Graves cites as one of his achievements the repeal of a law requiring businesses to report to the IRS sales of goods or services over $600, a regulation that would have sharply increased companies' paperwork. The committee was one of the first to hold a hearing about the law, says Kevin Kuhlman, director of legislative affairs for the National Federation of Independent Business.

Graves also pressured government agencies for more time for companies to comment on regulations like an Environmental Protection Agency rule on waterways, Kuhlman says.

The committee is one of several government advocates for small business, along with the Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship and the SBA. Graves has been on the committee since 2001; his term as chairman ends Jan. 3 under limits set by the Republican majority. He'll move to the House Transportation and Armed Services committees and be succeeded by Steve Chabot, R-Ohio.

Graves spoke recently with The Associated Press. Here are excerpts, edited for brevity and clarity:

Q. What have been your biggest accomplishments on the committee?

A. The biggest by far is making the committee relevant. We came in at the height of the recession, and the Small Business Committee was in many cases taking a back seat and I think there were some out there who didn't think it was relevant. But when you have small businesses creating seven out of every 10 jobs, it's extraordinarily relevant, and we brought that relevance to the forefront with our very active hearing schedule and some very high profile witnesses including Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.

We leveraged the Regulatory Flexibility Act in ways that hadn't been done before, forcing the administration to comply and do its analysis (of the burden regulations place on small businesses). We've been very active in contracting reform, which is one of the cornerstones of what I've been trying to do, making sure small businesses are included in government contracts.

Q. What is the biggest thing you've learned about small business from the committee?

A. Small businesses face different challenges in different parts of the country, and one of the biggest is access to capital. For some small business segments, it's very easy to get, but what I've learned is for some sectors, like service-based businesses or startups, it's very hard for them to get the capital they need. In many cases they don't have assets to use as collateral.

Q. What advice do you have for small business owners?

A. Sometimes when you're going after an SBA loan, it is so overwhelming, the amount of paperwork and the burdens. Don't give up. There is light at the end of the tunnel. We're trying to make it easier, trying to reduce that paperwork and the hoops you've got to jump through. Hang in, because it'll happen.

Q. What should Congress and the next Small Business Committee focus on?

A. Continue with contracting reform. We have to do everything we can to allow small businesses to be able to participate in these contracts. We have to continue to keep the government from (combining small contracts into larger ones) to the point where no one can compete except for the very largest businesses. My reforms led to the government finally reaching its goal for giving 23 percent of contracting dollars to small businesses. One of the things we tried to do was increase that to 25 percent. That's something that needs to continue.

Kline Welcomes New and Returning Committee Members

Education & the Workforce Committee - Wed, 12/10/2014 - 12:00am
U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce Chairman John Kline (R-MN) today announced Republican members who will serve on the committee in the 114th Congress.

"I am delighted to have the privilege of serving on the Education and the Workforce Committee with such a dedicated and principled group of men and women,” said Chairman Kline. “The American people expect Congress to advance commonsense reforms that will help strengthen our nation’s classrooms and workplaces. The new and returning Republican members of the committee will all play pivotal roles in that effort, and I look forward to working with them next Congress.”

# # #

Republican Committee Members for the 114th Congress:

• Rep. John Kline (MN-2)*
• Rep. Joe Wilson
• Rep. Virginia Foxx
• Rep. Duncan Hunter
• Rep. Phil Roe
• Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson
• Rep. Tim Walberg
• Rep. Matt Salmon
• Rep. Brett Guthrie
• Rep. Todd Rokita
• Rep. Lou Barletta
• Rep. Joe Heck
• Rep. Luke Messer
• Rep. Bradley Byrne
• Rep. Dave Brat
Rep. – elect Buddy Carter (GA-1)
Rep. – elect Mike Bishop (MI-8)
Rep. – elect Glenn Grothman (WI-6)
Rep. – elect Steve Russell (OK-5)
Rep. – elect Carlos Curbelo (FL-26)
Rep. – elect Elise Stefanik (NY-21)
Rep. – elect Rick Allen (GA-12)

NOTE: Additional membership and organizational changes may be announced at a later time.

* Indicates prior service on the committee.

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“Direct Marketing” Supreme Court Case Points Out Federal Courts’ Obligation to Exercise Jurisdiction

WLF Legal Pulse - Tue, 12/09/2014 - 3:27pm
Yesterday’s oral argument in Direct Marketing Assoc. v. Brohl indicated that the Supreme Court does not think very highly of the Tenth Circuit’s expansive interpretation of the Tax Injunction Act (TIA). The appeals court concluded that the TIA deprived federal courts of jurisdiction to hear a challenge to a Colorado statute that imposes notice and […]
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