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Federal Regulators’ Disregard for Sound Science Displayed in Four Agencies’ Actions

WLF Legal Pulse - Tue, 03/10/2015 - 2:48pm
How federal regulators use—and abuse—science in the regulatory process has a profound impact on regulated businesses and consumers who purchase their products and services.  In addition to the financial impact, every time that an agency forces science and the scientific process to serve its ideological or political agendas, rather than be guided by the neutral […]
Categories: Latest News

Jane Hilboldt Honored as One of St. Louis' Most Tenacious Entrepreneurs

WCOE News - Mon, 03/09/2015 - 12:43pm

Jane Hilboldt, CEO, Hilboldt Curtainwall, Inc. and Member of the National Board of directors for WCOE, USA, has been selected as one of the Top Women Business Owners by the St. Louis Small Business Monthly. The organization has been honoring women entrepreneurs for the past 22 years. The women are recognized for their continued help and support the St. Louis business region grow and prosper. Their combined success illustrate how women continue to shape the business world.

Categories: Latest News

BANK OF AMERICA SUPPORTS WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS AS PRESENTING SPONSOR OF NATIONAL WOMEN’S BUSINESS CONFERENCE HOSTED BY NAWBO

NAWBO Media - Mon, 03/09/2015 - 3:00am
2015 Event Features NAWBO 40th Anniversary Bash and Keynotes by Best-Selling Authors
Categories: Latest News

WLF Web Seminar Explores New General Personal Jurisdiction Arguments under SCOTUS’s “Bauman” Ruling

WLF Legal Pulse - Fri, 03/06/2015 - 12:58pm
Litigating away from “Home”: General Personal Jurisdiction One Year after the Supreme Court’s Daimler AG v. Bauman Decision Thomas H. Dupree, Jr., a partner with Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP who argued Bauman for Daimler AG James M. Beck, Of Counsel with Reed Smith LLP Mr. Beck utilized a PowerPoint slide presentation. The archive of […]
Categories: Latest News

NASA Administrator to Testify on Budget Request to Space Subcommittee

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas)will convene a hearing on Thursday, March 12, 2015, at 9:30 a.m.

Kline, Alexander, Johnson Call on NLRB General Counsel to Explain Pursuit of Joint-Employer Cases

Education & the Workforce Committee - Thu, 03/05/2015 - 2:30pm
Rep. John Kline (R-MN), chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), chairman of the Senate labor committee, and Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI), chairman of the Senate homeland security and governmental affairs committee, today called on National Labor Relations Board General Counsel Richard Griffin to provide an explanation of his recent comments on his pursuit of labor violation cases against franchisors as joint employers under the National Labor Relations Act, despite admission that the legal grounds for doing so may be flawed.

In a letter to Griffin, they write, “Notwithstanding the concerns we have if the Board does expand its joint-employer standard, we are troubled that you appear to be pursuing joint-employer cases knowing your legal theory is problematic.”

“[Griffin] stated, ‘in that area we have a problem, legally, for our theory’ to hold franchisors as joint employers. Despite this admission, only months later on December 19, 2014, [Griffin] issued complaints against a franchisor as a joint employer.”

The full text of the letter is below:

Dear Mr. Griffin: 

We are writing with questions about recent comments you made in support of pursuing labor violations against franchisors as joint employers under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Additionally, we have concerns that you intend to pursue labor violations in this manner despite your admission that the legal grounds for doing so may be flawed. 

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or Board) is currently evaluating whether to change the standard that determines whether an employer is a joint employer for purposes of collective bargaining and labor law violations under the NLRA. On June 26, 2014, you filed an amicus brief urging the Board to “abandon its existing joint-employer standard,” that has been in place for three decades, in favor of a “new standard” that takes “into account the economic and industrial realties of employment relationships.”

In the brief, you appeared to express frustration that the current joint-employer standard does not allow for meaningful collective bargaining in franchisor-franchisee relationships because franchisors are not at the bargaining table. You stated that the current standard “preclud[es] employees from exerting traditional economic pressure on a company that effectively controls many of their working conditions.” Accordingly, you asked the Board to adopt your view of the law which would effectively ensure franchisors must bargain with employees of the franchisee and are liable for labor violations. 

Notwithstanding the concerns we have if the Board does expand its joint-employer standard, we are troubled that you appear to be pursing joint-employer cases knowing your legal theory is problematic. On July 29, 2014, the NLRB announced that you had authorized complaints alleging violations of the NLRA against a franchisor as a joint employer. Then, on October 24, 2014, at a labor conference entitled, “Zealous Advocacy for Social Change,” you spoke about “law reform efforts” underway at the Board. During your presentation, you discussed the joint–employer issue and singled out franchisor-franchisee relationships. You stated, “in that area we have a problem, legally, for our theory” to hold franchisors as joint employers. Despite this admission, only months later on December 19, 2014, you issued complaints against a franchisor as a joint employer.

We are also concerned that your October 24 remarks pointed to research conducted by Dr. David Weil, Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division Administrator, that argues for an expansion of joint-employer relationships for purposes of liability in labor law. NLRB’s ex parte rules prohibit communications relevant to the merits of an unfair labor practice proceeding between the general counsel and third parties. Therefore, if you are communicating with Dr. Weil or other third parties about pending NLRB complaints it could be inappropriate.  

To better understand your comments and whether you are appropriately pursuing joint employer cases, please answer the following questions and provide the information requested by March 19, 2015. 
  1. Did any developments occur in the law between your comments on October 24, 2014, and the filing of complaints on December 19, 2014, that named a franchisor as a joint employer?
               
    • If not, please explain your comments made at the October 24, 2014, labor conference.
            
  2. Produce all documents and communications between the Office of General Counsel and the Board referring or relating to the joint employer standard from November 4, 2013, to present.
                       
  3. Produce all documents and communications between the Office of General Counsel and any other federal agency about the joint employer standard from November 4, 2013, to present.

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Committee Sends Inquiry on Fiduciary Rulemaking

Education & the Workforce Committee - Thu, 03/05/2015 - 10:30am

House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) and Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions Subcommittee Chairman Phil Roe (R-TN) have requested information regarding a pending regulatory proposal to expand the definition of fiduciary under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). The members are requesting by March 18, 2015, documents and communications related to the department’s consultation with the Securities and Exchange Commission as it worked to introduce a new proposal to redefine the fiduciary standard.

“The public has been assured repeatedly that close consultation between these two agencies was underway to avoid any regulatory confusion and inconsistencies,” said Chairman Kline. “However, recent statements by a member of the SEC raise serious doubts about whether meaningful consultation has taken place. This rulemaking will affect the retirement security of millions of Americans, and I hope the department has done more than simply pay lip service to good government on this very important issue.”

BACKGROUND: Since 2010, the Department of Labor has pursued a regulatory proposal that would vastly expand the long-held definition of fiduciary governing the conduct of financial professionals. An initial proposed rule was subsequently withdrawn after strong, bipartisan concerns were raised regarding the negative impact on Americans saving for retirement. Additional concerns have been raised about whether the department is sufficiently coordinating its efforts with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which is legally authorized under the Dodd-Frank financial services reform law to examine the standard of care for investment advisers and broker-dealers. As the members state in their letter:

It is clear coordination between SEC and DOL is vital to ensure a functioning regulatory framework; it is unfortunately far less clear that such coordination is occurring. We are especially disappointed and alarmed by Commissioner Gallagher’s allegations that no meaningful engagement has occurred …

This is inconsistent with public pronouncements from the administration. For example, in testimony before the Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions Subcommittee, Assistant Secretary Borzi promised DOL, SEC, and others “are actively consulting with each other and coordinating our efforts.” This pledge was echoed in the press release withdrawing the initial rule. More recently, Assistant Secretary Borzi has publicly repeated this promise.

Concern over this coordination — or lack thereof — was so grave as to warrant Congressional action. On October 29, 2013, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2374, the Retail Investor Protection Act, which required DOL to delay its rulemaking until after the SEC acts. The bill passed the House on a strong bipartisan basis.

In recognition of this concern, a revised notice of proposed rulemaking should not be issued until after Congress is satisfied sufficient coordination has occurred. So that we can better understand the coordination between DOL and SEC, please furnish all communications after September 19, 2011, between DOL and SEC regarding this rulemaking. In addition, please provide all documents and materials addressing how DOL has considered, adopted, or discarded any concerns raised by SEC as it revised its regulatory proposal.

To read the full letter, click here.

# # #

***POSTPONED TO A DATE TO BE DETERMINED Improving Capital Access Programs within the SBA

House Small Business Committee News - Thu, 03/05/2015 - 10:00am

On Thursday, March 5, 2015, at 10:00 A.M., the Committee on Small Business Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax and Capital Access HAS POSTPONED a hearing titled,  "Improving Capital Access Programs within the SBA." The hearing will be held in Room 2360 of the Rayburn House Office Building.  The hearing will be webstreamed live HERE. The Subcommittee will reschedule the hearing at a date to be determined.

The purpose of the hearing is to examine capital access programs within the Small Business Administration (SBA).
  

Opening Statement:

Chairman Tom Rice (R-SC)

Witnesses and Testimony:

  •  Ms. Barbara Vohryzek, President and CEO, National Association of Development Companies (NADCO), Washington, DC
  •  

  •  Mr. Brett Palmer, President, Small Business Investor Alliance, Washington, DC
  •  

  • Mr. Richard Bradshaw, President, Specialized Lending, United Community Bank, Greenville, SC
    • Testifying on behalf of the National Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders (NAGGL)
  •  

  • Dr. Scott Shane, A. Malachi Mixon III Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies and Professor of Economics, Case Western Reserve University, Weatherhead School of Management, Cleveland, OH
               
  •  

    Additional Items:
        Hearing Notice
        Witness List
           
         
         
          
       

    By Treating Recusal Motions as a Game, Lawyers are Eroding Public Confidence in our Courts

    WLF Legal Pulse - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 4:53pm
    The meaning of “chutzpah” is often illustrated by pointing to the man who kills his parents and then throws himself on the mercy of the court because he is an orphan. The recent actions of a group of plaintiffs’ lawyers involved in a multi-billion dollar case before the Illinois Supreme Court exhibit a similar kind […]
    Categories: Latest News

    Kline, Ryan, Upton Respond to King v. Burwell Oral Arguments

    Education & the Workforce Committee - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 11:30am

    Chairmen John Kline (R-MN), Paul Ryan (R-WI), and Fred Upton (R-MI) responded to today’s Supreme Court oral arguments in the King v. Burwell case. The chairmen, who attended this morning’s oral arguments, are leading the House Republican working group to develop a plan to replace the president’s health care law over the long term and protect Americans affected by the decision in this case. Earlier this week they detailed some of their ideas to provide an off-ramp to the president’s health care law. 

    We are here today because the Obama administration forced a flawed and partisan law on the American people. Its implementation has been one problem after another, and today’s case underscores just how far beyond the law the administration has gone to prop up this fatally flawed plan. The law is clear – and the Supreme Court should order the IRS to enforce the law as it is written. If it does, we will be ready to act. While the president insists he has no plan B, which would be malpractice if true, we are preparing a thoughtful solution that frees the American people both from the consequences of the administration’s illegal implementation, but also from this law’s many costly mandates. We will continue to work with our colleagues in the House and in the states on responsible policies that put the American people back in charge of their health care. There is a better way.  

    Learn more about their plan here.

    # # #

    Building an Opportunity Economy: State of Small Business and Entrepreneurship

    House Small Business Committee News - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 11:00am
    On Wednesday, March 4, 2015 at 11:00 A.M., the Committee on Small Business held a hearing titled, ​​​Building an Opportunity Economy: The State of Small Business and Entrepreneurship. The hearing was held in Room 2360 of the Rayburn House Office Building. 

    The hearing examined the health and vibrancy of the American economy, particularly as it pertains to the creation, sustainability, and future growth of small businesses.


    Opening Statement:

    Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH)

    Witnesses and Testimony:

    • ​Mr.  Jon Clifton, Partner, Managing Director, Government Division, Gallup, Washington, DC

     

    • Ms.  Cynthia Kay, Owner and President, Cynthia Kay and Company, Grand Rapids, MI

     

    • Mr.  David Burton, Senior Fellow in Economy Policy, The Heritage Foundation, Washington, DC

     

    • Ms. Elana Fine, Managing Director, Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship, Robert H. Smith School of Business, College Park, MD


    Additional Items:

    Hearing Notice
    Witness List 
    Hearing Memo 


    Surface Transportation Reauthorization - Oversight and Reform of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

    U.S. Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), subcommittee chairman of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety and Security, will hold an oversight hearing on Wednesday, March 4, 2015, entitled “Surface Transportation Reauthorization - Oversight and Reform of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.”

    This hearing will be the first in a series of hearings that examine the reauthorization of highway safety programs. The hearing will specifically focus on truck safety programs and Federal Motor Carrier Safe...

    GSA Seeks to Capture Transactional Data to Obtain Savings for Federal Agencies, Taxpayers

    GSA news releases - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 1:00am
    Transactional Data to Obtain Savings for Federal Agencies

    Feds Asked to Investigate Imported Laminate Flooring

    WASHINGTON, DC – Laminate flooring is found in millions of American homes because of its low cost and easy installment.

    But a new report aired Sunday by CBS’ “60 minutes” found that laminate made in China and sold by retail giant Lumber Liquidators contained significant amounts of a formaldehyde, a toxic chemical that can cause cancer and lead to other ailments such as skin, eye, nose and throat irritations...

    An Opportunity Economy Starts with Small Business

    House Small Business Committee News - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 12:00am
       
    An Opportunity Economy Starts with Small Business
    Small businesses are failing faster than they're starting up. Here's why that needs to change--and what we can do to make it happen.
    By Rep. Steve Chabot

    Running a small business is a tough job. As any entrepreneur knows, you often wear many hats. No matter your title, at some point you will act as your own tax accountant, marketing executive, regulatory expert, fundraiser, and human resources supervisor. 

    Yet throughout our history, American entrepreneurs and small businesses have done all these things and more. Their dogged determination has spurred the development of new technologies, new industries, and new jobs. But in the past few years, the business of being in business has gotten a lot more difficult.

    Entrepreneurs often feel like the odds are unfairly stacked against them. In 2008, that feeling became fact. One of the most startling trends that has emerged from our uncertain and uneven economic recovery is that small businesses now fail at a rate faster than they are being created. Starting with the Great Recession--and for the first time since data on this concept has been collected--more new American businesses failed than succeeded. Back in 2008, this was just another piece of terrible economic news. It is surprising and troubling that in 2015, the trend continues. More than six years later, small firms are still dying at faster rate than they are being produced.

    This is a real problem for a number of reasons. The first is that small firms already employ half of the American workforce. On top of that, small businesses create the vast majority of new job opportunities--seven out of every ten in most places. If you take into consideration the Kauffman Foundation’s findings that startups and new businesses are responsible for all net new jobs over the past 30 years, you reach one conclusion: fewer new businesses means fewer new jobs.

    When we passed the Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act earlier this year, the Speaker of the House pointed out that it is easier to start a business in Belarus and 44 other countries than it is in America. While this is unfortunately true today, it doesn’t have to be true tomorrow. Free enterprise embodies the essence of the American spirit. Our nation has been a steady force of certainty in an uncertain world in large part because it has always been a place where anyone with an idea and the willingness to work hard has the freedom to turn that idea into reality. We must not let that slip away.

    The Small Business Committee is examining the most pressing challenges facing our entrepreneurs and small businesses. And we are working on solutions that will promote free enterprise and help us build an opportunity economy. That starts with understanding the importance of small businesses, and it continues with doing the difficult work to make starting and growing a business less complicated.

    Congress can set the stage for that growth. We are focusing on solutions that reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens, simplify the tax code, improve access to capital, and open new markets for companies to sell goods stamped “Made in the U.S.A.”

    Every American business--from the most iconic brands to the most steadfast of neighborhood establishments--started as an idea. Making sure America remains a place where ideas and new businesses can take root will set the foundation for an opportunity economy holds promise for everyone.

    ### 

    Witnesses Support Congressional Effort to Block NLRB’s Ambush Election Rule

    Education & the Workforce Committee - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 12:00am

    The Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions held a legislative hearing today to examine H.J. Res 29, a measure to block the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) unprecedented re-write of union election procedures. In December 2014, the NLRB finalized its ambush election rule, which significantly shortens the timeframe of union elections, obstructs workers’ right to a fair election debate, and violates employees’ privacy by granting union organizers greater access to their personal information. The House is expected to advance the resolution in the coming weeks.

    During the hearing, members and witnesses discussed the urgent need for Congress to overturn a rule that will have devastating consequences for workers and their families.

    “[The ambush election rule] severely cripples the right of each worker to make an informed decision,” said Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL). “Deciding whether or not to join a union is a deeply personal choice. The outcome of that choice will affect workers’ wages, benefits, and other employment concerns for years. Workers deserve an opportunity to get the facts and discuss these matters with friends, family members, coworkers, and yes, employers too. Under this administration, the National Labor Relations Board is determined to deny workers this fundamental right.”

    Labor attorney and former NLRB staff member, Arnold Perl, echoed these concerns: “[Workers’] rights have been abandoned by the new rule. As a result of quickie elections, employees may not be able to hear all the facts they need to know about risks of unionization. To the detriment of employees, the new rule imposes built-in obstacles which prevent or impede reasoned and informed choices by employees.”

    Perl also outlined how the board’s regulatory scheme “tramples on employees’ rights of privacy," noting, "employers are required to turn over employees’ personal email addresses, cell phone numbers, shift hours and locations, and job classifications, even if the employee says he or she does not want to be contacted.”

    “The ambush election rules mandate a serious invasion of employees’ privacy,” testified Glenn Taubman with the National Right to Work Legal Foundation. “Once employees’ information is handed over, unions can spread this personal information to union officers, organizers, supporters inside the shop and out, and to the entire internet, if they choose. The board places no real restrictions or safeguards on how unions use of disseminate this sensitive personal information.”

    The board’s ambush election rule is further proof it has abandoned any effort to serve as a fair and impartial referee of the law. Speaking on behalf of the Retail Industry Leaders Association, Roger King described the rules as “an unprecedented partisan policy initiative favoring organized labor” and warned it “will further erode its credibility as a neutral arbiter of labor relation issues in the workplace.”

    Rep. Byrne concluded with the urgent need for congressional action: “I am hopeful … we will send to the president a resolution that reins in this activist board and rolls back this destructive regulatory scheme. The president will then have to decide whether he stands with Big Labor, or with the nation’s workers and job creators.”

    To learn more about today’s hearing, read witness testimony, or to watch an archived webcast, visit www.edworkforce.house.gov/hearings.

    # # #

    Chairman Chabot's Opening Statement for Hearing on Building an Opportunity Economy: The State of Small Business and Entrepreneurship

    House Small Business Committee News - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 12:00am

    Opening Statement

    Chairman Steve Chabot

    Small Business Committee Hearing

    Building an Opportunity Economy: The State of Small Business and Entrepreneurship

    3/4/2015

     

    Good morning.  This hearing will come to order.  Thank you all for joining us.

    Today, we are here to examine the state of small business. For the Members here, it’s not the first or last time we’ll have this conversation. We have it every time we talk to our constituents. They’re the ones who tell us the most about small business.

    But in those conversations, we don’t have C-SPAN cameras, we don’t have stenographers, and it doesn’t make it into the Congressional record. So we’re having this hearing today for our constituents. To have a conversation for the record that we have already had many times back home, so that we – as Members of the Small Business Committee -- can start the legislative work of getting government off the backs of the American people.

    1 out of every 2 employed Americans works at a small business. 7 out of every 10 new job opportunities are created by small businesses. When the federal government issues new rules, or raises taxes, or threatens to raise taxes, or increases health care costs, or prolongs a sense of uncertainty – this doesn’t just impact the name on a store front. It impacts real people. It impacts every American worker that puts a roof over their head and food on the table by working at that small business.

    We have heard some say that our economy has recovered. And it has somewhat. But when you look at the number of unemployed Americans and the number of those who may be “employed” but can’t find full time work, it is clear that we are not where we should be.

    As testimony today will reinforce, it’s not another sweeping government program that will make life better for Americans who depend on small businesses. The answer is hidden in the thousands of pages of regulations and tax policies, that are crushing the small business community. Another change that must be made – and this may be the most important change we can make – is to alter the mindset of the federal government so that it is always thinking about how its actions will impact our small businesses.

    The labor force participation rate is at its lowest point in our history.

    The percentage of long term unemployed is still much higher than before the recession.

    And maybe the most disturbing trend: every year of the Obama administration has seen more businesses close their doors than open them.  

    Economists describe this as the number of business deaths exceeding the number of business births. In plain language it means we have a problem.

    Small businesses are the foundation of our economy. As a Committee, we are here to make life better for small businesses and the working families that rely on them. Today, we begin that important work.

    I want to thank each of our witnesses for taking the time to be with us today.  I look forward to hearing your testimony.  I now yield to our ranking member, Ms. Velázquez, for her opening statement. 

    RELEASE: The State of Small Business and Entrepreneurship

    House Small Business Committee News - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 12:00am


    Building an Opportunity Economy: The State of Small Business and Entrepreneurship

    “More businesses are closing their doors than opening them”

    WASHINGTON – The Small Business Committee today examined the current state of small business and entrepreneurship and how this impacts efforts to a build an opportunity economy.

    Testifying at the hearing was Gallup Managing Director Jon Clifton, whose company recently published data revealing that each of the past six years has seen more businesses close their doors than open them – a disturbing trend that raises significant questions about the state of American free enterprise.

    In his opening statement, Chairman Steve Chabot addressed the challenges facing small businesses:

    “It’s not another sweeping government program that will make life better for Americans who depend on small businesses. The answer is hidden in the thousands of pages of regulations and tax policies, that are crushing the small business community.”

    Chabot added, “The most important change we can make is to alter the mindset of the federal government, so that it is always thinking about how its actions will impact our small businesses.”

    Also testifying before the Committee was small business owner Cynthia Kay, President of Cynthia Kay and Company, who suggested lawmakers take action on the “growing set of hurdles over which would-be entrepreneurs must jump” and that easing these burdens can “make entrepreneurship once again a sought-after life trajectory for many Americans who today are opting to work for someone other than themselves.”

    Other research from Gallup found that 1 in 4 Americans are considered “would-be entrepreneurs” who have abandoned at least one idea for a new business.

    To this point, Kay added: “It is no wonder that people who have never done it before and are looking at what they are up against walk away.”

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    PERMALINK:http://1.usa.gov/1wHUNR2

     

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