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Thune and Nelson Introduce Bill to Protect Aspiring Olympic Athletes

Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017 ensures an independent entity for reporting and investigating abuse ...

News Flash: Jelly Beans Contain Sugar — The Continuing Saga of Evaporated Cane Juice Litigation

WLF Legal Pulse - Fri, 06/23/2017 - 9:51am
Guest Commentary By Yvonne M. McKenzie, a Partner with Pepper Hamilton LLP in the firm’s Philadelphia, PA office. In February, plaintiffs filed a class-action lawsuit in California against candy maker Jelly Belly on behalf of consumers who purchased jelly beans marketed as “Sport Beans.” They claimed that Jelly Belly used the phrase “evaporated cane juice” […]
Categories: Latest News

Advocacy to Host Regulatory Roundtable in Coer d'Alene, Idaho

Office of Advocacy - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 5:26pm

Advocacy to Host Regulatory Roundtable in

Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Thursday July 13th, the Office of Advocacy of the Small Business Administration will host a roundtable in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. The event will begin at 8:00 a.m. at the Best Western Plus.

 

Categories: Latest News, SBA Advocate

Advocacy to Host Regulatory Roundtable in Boise, Idaho

Office of Advocacy - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 5:20pm

Advocacy to Host Regulatory Roundtable in Boise, Idaho

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Tuesday July 11th, the Office of Advocacy of the Small Business Administration will host a roundtable in Boise, Idaho. The event will begin at 8:00 a.m. at the Riverside Hotel.

 

Categories: Latest News, SBA Advocate

Foxx Statement: Floor Debate on the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act

Education & the Workforce Committee - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 2:55pm

When many Americans think of higher education, they think of a traditional college or university on a sprawling green campus. They think of students leaving college and universities with their degree in-hand, ready for a career and set for life.

While many Americans choose this path, there is a misconception that this is the only pathway to success. For many hardworking Americans, the pathway to success does not require a baccalaureate degree.

In fact, skills-focused education has helped countless Americans gain the specialized knowledge and skills they need to enter the workforce and build fulfilling lives.

So many men and women have found success through workforce development programs, however, we have come to a critical juncture with the future of these programs.

And our educational institutions have not caught up. As a result, American businesses large and small are having a hard time finding enough workers with the skills and talent they need.

The bipartisan Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act — which unanimously passed the House Committee on Education and the Workforce — provides critical reforms to our nation’s education programs and prepares students to compete in our competitive, global economy.

Mister Speaker, all education is truly career education, and we must give our students every opportunity to attain the skills they need to succeed. When students, parents, employers—and yes, lawmakers—understand that, we’ll be on the right track to closing the skills gap that exists in our country.

I want to thank my colleagues, especially Representative Thompson for his leadership on this issue. As the Co-Chairman of the CTE Caucus, he has spent years championing this issue. I also want to thank Ranking Member Scott and Representative Krishnamoorthi, as well as all committee members for the bipartisan work that’s reflected in this bill.

Expanding opportunity through CTE is vital to closing the nation’s skills gap, ending the cycle of poverty, and creating a better tomorrow for hardworking Americans.


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From Sea to Shining Sea: The Ninth Circuit Aligns with the Second Circuit in Affirming “Omnicare” Decision’s Benefits for Securities-Suit Targets

WLF Legal Pulse - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 1:33pm
Guest Commentary By Doug Greene and Bret Finkelstein, a Partner and an Associate, respectively, with Lane Powell PC in the firm’s Seattle, WA office. In a matter of first impression in the Ninth Circuit, the court applied the Supreme Court’s Omnicare standard for pleading the falsity of a statement of opinion in City of Dearborn […]
Categories: Latest News

Committee Announces Hearing for Two Nominees

U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, will convene a nomination hearing at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, June 28, 2017, for two nominees subject to Senate confirmation.

Commerce Leaders Introduce FAA Reauthorization Bill

Commerce leaders announced the introduction of S. 1405, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act of 2017, which reauthorizes federal aviation programs through fiscal year 2021.

Preserved Shark Repellent: Pennsylvania’s Abuse-of-Process Law Withstands a Constitutional Challenge

WLF Legal Pulse - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 12:41pm
By Hillary Hunter, a 2017 Judge K.K. Legett Fellow at Washington Legal Foundation who will be entering her third year at Texas Tech University School of Law in the fall. Suppose while swimming through life, innocently enough you draw the attention of an aggressive lawyer. You did nothing wrong, but still find yourself being circled […]
Categories: Latest News

Foxx Statement: Hearing on “Student Safety in the Job Corps Program”

Education & the Workforce Committee - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 10:00am


I’d like to thank our panel of witnesses and my colleagues for joining today’s very serious discussion on the safety and security of the Job Corps program. I also want to note my disappointment that the Office of Job Corps has decided not to testify today. Their attendance would have provided the committee with important information about the program and the measures taken by the Office of Job Corps to address these safety concerns.

The Job Corps program is intended to help some of our nation’s most disadvantaged youth receive high quality education, workforce development, and support services in order to become more employable, responsible, and productive citizens. The very purpose of the program is to serve those who are hard to serve and the safety of students and instructors within the Job Corps program should be priority one.  Unfortunately that is not the case, and that is what brings us to today’s hearing.

The work of this committee, as well as other government bodies such as the Inspector General, have found a systemic and alarming lack of oversight in the safety and security of the Jobs Corps program, and we have reached a critical point where lives are in real danger if congress does not act.

In fact, over 30 different government reports and audits have raised concerns over the safety and security of the Jobs Corps program. A 2009 IG report even noted that “40 percent of 235 significant incidents occurring at [six] centers during our audit period were not reported.”

Even in 2015, an IG report specifically stated, “Job Corps needs to improve enforcement and oversight of student disciplinary policies to better protect students and staff.”

What is truly shocking and sad is that nine student deaths and a number other violent or health related incidents have occurred just since 2015 as a result of lapses in safety and security.

These reports are extremely troubling, and no program sponsored by the federal government should have such tragedies associated with it.

This committee has spent almost two years investigating and asking about these repeated lapses in safety and security within the Job Corps program, and we are still without answers.

What we do know is that the deficiencies in proper security measures are not isolated, or associated with one specific Job Corps center. This is a systemic problem throughout the Job Corps program.

The security failures within Job Corps are a failure in basic good governance, and jeopardize the safety of American citizens.

Today we will hear testimony from witnesses who have made findings highlighting the troubling lack of safety and oversight in Job Corps centers.

We will hear testimony of failures in reporting violent incidents, security lapses, and a lack of cooperation with law enforcement officials.

While these facts may be troubling, it is vital that we as a committee understand just where the lack of oversight has occurred in order for us to make proper recommendations to keep the Job Corps program safe for the future.

The Jobs Corps program was designed to help disadvantaged young people gain the skills they need to achieve a good education; find a good-paying job; and have a successful life.

Putting the students and instructors of the Job Corps program in harm’s way does a disservice to its participants and the American taxpayers.

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Improving Broadband Deployment: Solutions for Rural America

House Small Business Committee News - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 10:00am

The Committee on Small Business Subcommittees on Agriculture, Energy, and Trade and Health and Technology will hold a joint hearing titled, “Improving Broadband Deployment: Solutions for Rural America.” The hearing is scheduled to begin at 10:00 A.M. on Thursday, June 22, 2017 in Room 2360 of the Rayburn House Office Building.  

Attachments
1. Hearing Notice
2. Witness List

Witnesses 
Mr. Mike Romano
Senior Vice President
Industry Affairs & Business Development
NTCA—The Rural Broadband Association
Arlington, VA
Testimony
Disclosure 

Mr. Dave Osborn
CEO
VTX1
Raymondville, TX
*Testifying on behalf of the Western Telecommunications Alliance
Testimony
Disclosure 

Mr. Tim Donovan
Senior Vice President
Legislative Affairs
Competitive Carriers Association
Washington, DC
Testimony
Disclosure 

Mr. Chris Allendorf
Vice President of External Relations and General Counsel
Jo-Carroll Energy, Inc. (NFP)
Elizabeth, IL 
Testimony
Disclosure 

SBC Examines How to Bring Broadband to Rural America

House Small Business Committee News - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 12:00am

WASHINGTON – Today, Members of the House Small Business Subcommittee on Agriculture, Energy, and Trade heard from a group of experts in the first of a series of hearings addressing the rural broadband deployment efforts small telecommunications companies are undergoing in rural America. Witnesses also discussed the potential for policy changes at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and what the FCC has done to help or hinder broadband deployment.

Our small businesses, particularly ones in rural areas, depend on new telecommunications technologies to compete across town and across the world,” said Subcommittee Chairman Rod Blum (R-IA).

“The nation’s small telecommunications providers are the ones that traditionally supply the bulk of broadband services to the most rural parts of America, and it is no easy task.  We’ve been making progress over the past few years, but more needs to be done to put rural America on par with urban America. These small businesses are ready, willing, able, and frankly itching to get out there and build these networks, if only Washington would get out of their way,” Blum continued.

Improving Broadband Deployment: Solutions for Rural America
Witness Testimony

“Fixed and mobile broadband, video, and voice are among the services that many rural Americans can access thanks to our industry’s networks and commitment to serving sparsely populated areas. These technologies serve as a small business incubator in rural areas that would otherwise see entrepreneurial activity gravitate toward the urban areas with greater resources,” said Mike Romano, Senior Vice President for Industry Affairs and Business Development at NTCA - the Rural Broadband Association.

 “Small companies like mine wait years and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars per project on environmental, archaeological, and historical preservation reviews. It is not uncommon for small companies like mine to experience delays of up to 18 to 24 months in getting broadband projects going because of these types of reviews. This is particularly problematic in parts of the country that have shorter construction seasons than Texas,” said Dave Osborn, Chief Executive Officer at VTX1 Companies.

“Policymakers must be mindful that small rural and regional providers have limited resources, and continue to face challenges securing adequate capital for wireless siting projects, an issue where this Committee plays a critical leadership role,” said Tim Donovan, the Senior Vice President of Legislative Affairs at the Competitive Carriers Association.

We applaud Chairman Pai and the Federal Communications Commission for creating the Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC) to take look at the barriers to providing broadband access to rural areas of our country.  We were especially pleased that Jim Matheson, CEO of our national trade association, NRECA, was appointed to serve on the committee and bring the voice of non-traditional providers, like electric cooperatives to the table for these important discussions,” said Chris Allendorf, Vice President of External Relations and General Counsel at Jo-Carroll Energy, Inc. (NFP).

You can view the full video of today’s hearing HERE and read the full witness testimony HERE.


Chairmen of Senate, House Small Business Committees Lead on Strengthening Cybersecurity Defenses

House Small Business Committee News - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 12:00am

Washington, D.C. – Today, House Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) joined Senate Small Business Committee Chairman Jim Risch (R-ID) to introduce bipartisan, bicameral legislation to improve cybersecurity resources for small businesses. The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Cyber Training Act will be a priority in each respective committee. Representative Dwight Evans (D-PA) and Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) are original co-sponsors of the bills.

“Many small business owners lack the capital and expertise they need to prevent a cybersecurity attack. Unfortunately, one simple hit can destroy everything a small business owner has created. That’s why we need to ensure small businesses have access to the best cybersecurity resources and information possible.  Providing cybersecurity training to lead small business development center employees will broaden their expertise to help more small businesses prevent an attack and potentially help save their companies,” said Chairman Chabot.

“Entrepreneurs – particularly in rural areas – depend on online sales and marketing to commercialize their businesses, leaving them incredibly vulnerable to cyber risks,” said Chairman Risch. “With many small businesses unable to recover after suffering a cyber-attack, it is incredibly important that we address this threat head on.”

“Our small business owners and entrepreneurs are the engines that drive people to live, grow and succeed in our neighborhoods. We know that our small business community faces increasing cyber threats in our ever changing and evolving global economy. I am proud to join with my colleagues in the House and Senate to introduce bipartisan legislation that equips our small business owners and entrepreneurs with the resources they need to keep their businesses safe, secure and protected. Our small businesses depend on the essential resources that our Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) provide and I will continue to set forth legislation that allows our small businesses and SBDC’s to continue to thrive and prosper,” said Rep. Dwight Evans.

“Small businesses create two out of every three new jobs in our country each year, and they need the right tools and skills to identify cyber threats and protect their customers and their livelihoods,” said Senator Peters. “I’m pleased to support this bipartisan bill, which builds on efforts to educate business owners on ways to improve cyber defenses so that small businesses can focus on what they do best: creating jobs, fostering economic growth and driving innovation.”

The SBDC Cyber Training Act would require a percentage of SBDC employees to become certified in cyber strategy counseling, a method proven effective for export trade counseling. Without costing taxpayers more money, the Act would utilize already existing Small Business Administration (SBA) conferences to provide cyber strategy training to at least 20 percent of SBDC employees. Relying on the SBA’s expertise in training small businesses, the Act allows that agency to come up with new programming and to certify existing cyber education at SBDCs.

Full text of the bill can be found HERE

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Advocacy Invites Small Businesses to Attend Louisiana Roundtables

Office of Advocacy - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 5:57pm

Advocacy Invites Small Businesses to Attend Louisiana Roundtables

Categories: Latest News, SBA Advocate

ICYMI: Apprenticeships, Technical Education Offer a Path to a Successful Workforce – ‘College-only’ Is a Myth

Education & the Workforce Committee - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 5:00pm


Apprenticeships, Technical Education Offer a Path to a Successful Workforce – ‘College-only’ Is a Myth
By Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC)


In making his impassioned speech on how our county’s economy can grow through tax reform, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said Tuesday, “We need to connect people with the skills they need to get good-paying, in-demand jobs.”

Speaker Ryan is absolutely right, and the House is immediately answering the Speaker’s call to action.

There is a myth about success as it relates to education in this country. Too many Americans have come to believe that the pathway to a successful career lies solely on a college campus, and in a baccalaureate degree.

For many Americans this is not the case, and not the best path they can take to find the skills needed to ultimately lead them to the overall goal of an education — a  good paying job and a successful life.

An unfortunate truth is that America is still facing a recovering economy, and a widening skills gap that is putting our workforce at a disadvantage to succeed in a 21st century economy. While companies across the country have openings for high paying jobs, and are anxious to hire, many workers lack the skills and adequate education needed to qualify and compete for those jobs.

We must act soon.  Already we face a great shortage of workers with the skills to fill the current 6 million vacant jobs, and our economy is currently on track to face a shortage of 11 million workers who have the necessary credentials to satisfy the needs of the country by 2022.

Such a shortage in our workforce does not allow Americans to be on track to compete in a global marketplace. We have arrived at this shortage, in large part, because of the way we think about education and skills-focused education in this country.

The fact is, all workers need skills that lead to a vocation.  More than thirty years ago, the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act took an important step in recognizing that baccalaureate programs did not necessarily equip people with the skills they needed to join the workforce. The Perkins Act and its resulting investment in skills-focused education has provided countless stories of success for students who have learned skills to find in-demand jobs, at a fraction of the cost of a baccalaureate degree.

These are students who find high-quality education and career development opportunities in their own communities, and are often recruited by companies in their own backyard who are in need of workers ready to play a role in a 21st century workforce.

Last week, President Trump took an historic step towards recognizing the power of apprenticeships and skills-focused education in building tomorrow’s economy. The president’s action builds on the work Republicans in Congress have already begun to strengthen our workforce and close the skills gap.

In 2014, the bipartisan Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) was enacted into law, and set in motion necessary reforms to improve the dialogue between local leaders and private businesses on how workforce education could better serve employers’ needs in communities across the country.

While WIOA opened the door to new opportunities, there’s still much work to be done. Educational institutions, private companies, and community leaders must play a role in the creation of workforce development programs, including apprenticeships that work best for the needs of their local communities.

Most importantly, all of these conversations can be had without the federal government dictating how these programs should be implemented.

Already, companies such as IBM, Boeing, AT&T, Walmart, and many others are working with their community career programs to educate our future workforce and provide students with the skills they will need to succeed in life.

A “Washington knows best” approach to creating successful skills-focused education programs is not the answer as communities plan and develop career and technical education programs tailored to their local economies.

The best thing the federal government can do is update our career and technical education laws to give community leaders and educators the tools and freedom they need to build programs that will open up more pathways for students and workers.

In doing so, we are also changing the way we think about education and vocations in this country.

This week, Congress will consider the bipartisan Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act to update our skills-focused and credentialing programs to meet the needs of a modern workforce.

Our state and local leaders in the public and private sectors are in the driver’s seat when it comes to workforce development, and Washington can watch and learn as their work closes the skills gap in our country.

All education truly is career education. When students, parents, employers, and government at every level understand that, we’ll be on the right track.

To view this op-ed online with video, click here.

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WCOE Turning Point for 6/20/2017

Turning Point RSS - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 1:31pm
Categories: Turning Point

Thune Asks FCC to Redouble Efforts to Free Mid-Band Spectrum

Thune’s letter stresses the need to modernize spectrum policy to keep pace with innovation as the nation moves toward a 5G world.

U.S. Department of the Interior Requests Public Comment on its Review of Certain National Monuments Established since 1996

Office of Advocacy - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 12:30pm

Pursuant to E.O. 13792 dated April 26, 2017, the U.S. Department of the Interior is requesting comments on the review of National Monuments that have been designated or expanded since 1996 under the Antiquities Act of 1906. The review will be used to determine whether each designation or expansion conforms to the requirements and original objectives of the Act, and appropriately balance the protection of landmarks against appropriate use of Federal lands.

The monuments currently under review include the following:

Categories: Latest News, SBA Advocate

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