SMALL BUSINESS POLICY: Federal Legislative and Regulatory Update

By at 19 June, 2024, 11:03 am

The Negative Impact of the FTC’s Ban on Employer Non-Compete Agreements

As a guest on the Freedom Line – the podcast of the Center for Individual Freedom – SBE Council president & CEO Karen Kerrigan reviews the negative effects of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC’s) full ban on employer non-competes and why she believes the agency has exceeded its authority in advancing the ban. Kerrigan also discusses a House Small Business Committee report, which finds a pattern of this type of overreach not only at the FTC but other federal agencies. Listen to the podcast here.

SBE Council Supports NO BOSS ACT

On June 4, U.S. Representatives Mike Carey (OH-15) and Greg Landsman (OH-1) introduced the “New Opportunities for Business Ownership and Self-Sufficiency (NO BOSS) Act.” The bill makes improvements to the currently underutilized Self-Employment Assistance (SEA) Program, making state participation less onerous while encouraging participation. The Self-Employment Assistance (SEA) Program is designed to encourage unemployed individuals to start their own businesses. Unlike traditional Unemployment Compensation, SEA participants can receive weekly payments while getting their small business off the ground.

Only eight states offer SEA programs for UC claimants as of 2022 (Delaware, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island). The NO BOSS Act will improve utilization of the SEA program by making common-sense changes to the program, many modeled after the program’s highly successful implementation in Oregon. In a statement highlighting SBE Council’s endorsement, President & CEO Karen Kerrigan said:

“Encouraging business ownership and entrepreneurship needs to be embedded within government policy and programs where it is efficient, makes sense, and has a proven track record. Therefore, SBE Council applauds Rep. Mike Carey and Rep. Greg Landsman for their bipartisan work in identifying a policy path that will turn the difficulty of a layoff into entrepreneurial opportunity for more Americans.”

Kerrigan added:

“The ‘New Opportunities for Business Ownership and Self-Sufficiency Act’ (NO BOSS Act) provides a pragmatic approach to that end in that it modifies existing federal rules governing the state administration of self-employment programs to allow individuals to utilize those resources to start a business rather than being restricted into finding a new job with an existing employer, which may be more difficult in certain regions of the country. This smart approach, which has been piloted in certain states, supports economic development and entrepreneurial choice, and will help individuals achieve financial stability and fulfillment through business ownership. The NO BOSS Act provides reasonable and smart flexibility in how states administer the unemployment insurance program and is a win-win-win for local economies, the broader U.S. economy, and for individuals that want more flexibility and choice in pursuing their next career path.”

Full text of the NO BOSS Act is available here.

Coalition Letter Urges DOL’s Wage and Hour Division to Delay Overtime Rule

SBE Council joined a coalition letter organized by the Partnership to Protect Workplace Opportunity (PPWO) and 95 business organizations requesting that the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division stay implementation of the overtime final rule to allow for judicial review. As noted in the letter, there are several cases that could impact the validity of the new rule, which is slated to effect on July 1, 2024. PPWO’s statement on the letter can be found here.

SBE Council Supports “Unlocking Capital for Small Businesses Act”

On June 11, Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND) introduced this legislation to provide a simpler regulatory regime for private placement brokers and finders, exempting them from U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission registration required under the Securities Exchange Act. The bill also creates a safe harbor for finders. In a statement of support for the bill, SBE Council president & CEO Karen Kerrigan said:

“Access to startup and growth capital is critical to small businesses and the vibrancy of the U.S. economy. Therefore, unlocking latent and underutilized capital would boost the competitiveness and viability of all types of small firms that have the potential to scale and bring their innovative products and services to the broader marketplace. The ‘Unlocking Capital for Small Businesses Act’ makes common sense reforms that allow finders to work more effectively with entrepreneurs and business owners to raise capital. This has become more critical in the current environment, where the cost and availability of capital have become an emergent pain point for many businesses across sectors. Without capital, small businesses cannot innovate, grow and create jobs, which means local economies suffer and the competitiveness of our national economy falters. Advancing this legislation now would be a proactive capital formation strategy to address the growing challenge that entrepreneurs are facing in accessing capital. SBE Council applauds Senator Cramer for his leadership in introducing this timely legislation, and for his enduring support of our nation’s entrepreneurs and small businesses,” 

Click here for bill text, and here for the one pager.

SBE Council Joins Coalition Letter to Congress Urging Oversight of NLRB Chair McFerran

On June 12, the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace and 25 other employer organizations – including SBE Council – sent a letter to the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee and the House Education and the Workforce HELP Subcommittee applauding the House for holding a hearing to examine NLRB Chair McFerran’s poor tenure and leadership on the Board and to urge the Senate to hold a formal confirmation hearing on her recent renomination. The letter explains:

“By nominating McFerran now, six months before the expiration of her term, President Biden is attempting to hijack the NLRB and solidify Democrat control of the Board well into the next administration, regardless of who wins the 2024 presidential election. Additionally, during her tenure as Chair of the Board, McFerran has supported decisions that defy precedents set by the Board and federal courts in favor of partisan policy changes at the expense of worker and employer rights.”

CDW’s statement about the letter can be found here.

Coalition Letter Reiterates Deep Concern About Biden Admin’s Disregard of Prohibited Broadband Rate Regulation

SBE Council joined a broad coalition of organizations in sending a letter to U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo expressing deep concern about the Biden Administration’s disregard toward Congressional intent through its efforts to impose rate regulation on broadband internet service. As noted in the letter:

“In the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), Congress specifically stipulated that there shall be no rate regulation of broadband. It is therefore disturbing that, despite the act’s explicit prohibition and reassurance from administration officials — including sworn statements — the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) continues to impose price-setting measures through the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program.  The NTIA has approved plans for eight states thus far, all of which have included a specific price point or formula to set rates.”

The letter concludes by urging Secretary Raimondo “to take the necessary steps to undo any form of rate regulation and approve BEAD plans that do not include any price setting, which will ensure that providers remain viable and capable of delivering the needed services to bridge the digital divide.”

SBE Council Staff Report

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