URLS worth bookmarking:
Thomas.gov — Federal Legislation
Texas Legislature Online — Proposed state legislation
- f you sell online, you want to read and respond to the proposed law, the Marketplace Fairness Act, that would require you to collect and remit state sales taxes. www.enzi.senate.gov/uploads/marketplacebill.pdf
- IRS announced a simplified home office deduction option to go in effect in 2014 on income in I2013.
- ALERT concerning The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) request for public written and oral comments on the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Agreement (TTIP) USTR would like to encourage interested small businesses actively involved in international trade, especially those doing business with the EU, to respond to the Federal Register Notice and provide a small business perspective on U.S. interests and negotiating priorities with the EU, including ways to expand small business exports. Small businesses can provide comments in writing and orally at a public hearing. Written comments are due by midnight, May 10, 2013. Submit comments to regulations.gov electronically
- Check out IRS proposed rules on Health Insurance Mininum Value of Employer -Sponsored Plans
- DHS and DOL issue rule on wage methodology for H-2B Visa workers, effective immediately
The bill would amend the Labor Code relating to the proper classification of workers performing services under certain governmental contracts. The bill requires the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) to establish criteria for properly classifying an individual as an employee or an independent contractor for individuals that provide services under a contract with a governmental entity. The bill also requires TWC to assess a $200 penalty for each individual that is not properly classified, and to adopt rules to implement the new provisions not later than December 1, 2013.
The bill would amend the Government Code to create an Entrepreneur-in-Residence Program within the Texas Economic Development and Tourism Office at the Office of the Governor. The bill would permit the Governor or the Governor’s designee to appoint up to 10 “entrepreneurs-in-residence” to state agencies each fiscal year, appointing no more than two “entrepreneurs-in-residence” to a single state agency. An “entrepreneurs-in-residence” would serve as a full-time employee at the agency in which it were appointed, and could not serve for longer than two years. The bill would allow the Governor or the Governor’s designee to establish an informal workgroup of “entrepreneurs-in-residence” to discuss matters related to the program. The bill would prevent the Governor from making an appointment under this program after September 30, 2016, and the program expires September 30, 2018.
In 2009, the Texas Legislature temporarily raised the franchise tax revenue exemption for small businesses to $1 million, offering tax relief to nearly 40,000 additional small businesses across the state. Hilderbran filed legislation in 2011 to make that exemption permanent, but – despite strong support from Gov. Rick Perry and the business community – the legislative session ended before the full House voted on the issue. However, Hilderbran was able to amend legislation that extended the $1 million exemption through the end of 2013. Read more
Clarifies that rent is neither a good nor a service regarding credit card payments. Landlords have used credit card surcharges as a longstanding business practice, and this bill eliminates the ambiguity of the current practice.
H.R. 30 – Small Business Investment Enhancement and Tax Relief Act
To amend the Small Business Investment Act of 1958, to provide for a small business early-stage investment program, and for other purposes. In general, any existing or newly formed incorporated body, LLC, LPO and LPC may submit an application to participate in the program. Latest action: 1/3/2013 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the Committee on Small Business, and in addition to the Committee on Ways and Means.
Current Status: unchanged posted 4/1/2013
• First Inventor to File Extends Comments to Nov 5
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced that is extending the public comment period for its proposed rules implementing the first-inventor-to-file (FITF) provisions of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA). The USPTO has received several requests for additional time to submit comments. Therefore, the USPTO is reopening the comment period to provide interested members of the public with an additional opportunity to submit comments to the USPTO.
Comments on the proposed rule and accompanying examination guidelines must now be submitted to USPTO by November 5th, 2012.
First-Inventor-to-File Proposed Rules (77 Fed. Reg. 43742, July 26, 2012 )
First-Inventor-to-File Proposed Examination Guidelines (77 Fed. Reg. 43759, July 27, 2012)
Submit comments via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
Visit the AIA micro-site for other information related to USPTO’s AIA implementation activities
Advocacy Contact: Jamie Saloom at 202-205-6890.
• Regulatory Fairness: the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFRB), Truth in Lending Act (TILA),Small Business Jobs Act, and Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act
The Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 requires agencies to give every appropriate consideration to comments provided by Advocacy.5 The agency must include, in any explanation or discussion accompanying the final rule’s publication in the Federal Register, the agency’s response to these written comments submitted by Advocacy on the proposed rule, unless the agency certifies that the public interest is not served by doing so.6
In July 2010, the United States Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Act or Dodd-Frank)).7 Section 1011 of the Act establishes the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to supervise certain activities of financial institutions. Section 1100G, entitled “Small Business Fairness and Regulatory Transparency,” amends 5 U.S.C. § 609(d), to require the CFPB to comply with the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA) panel process, making it the third agency with this responsibility, joining EPA and OSHA.
The SBREFA panel process requires the CFPB to conduct special outreach efforts to ensure that small entity views are carefully considered prior to the issuance of a proposed rule, if the rule is expected to have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. This outreach is accomplished through the work of small business advocacy review panels, often referred to as SBREFA panels, consisting of a representative or representatives from the rulemaking agency, the Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) and the Chief Counsel for the Office of Advocacy. The panel solicits information and advice from small entity representatives (SERs), who are individuals who represent small entities affected by the proposal. SERs help the panel better understand the ramifications of the proposed rule. The product of a SBREFA panel’s work is its panel report on the regulatory proposal under review.
The CFPB is proposing to amend the periodic statement to provide additional information in a format that is easily understandable for the consumers. It will clarify things such as the handling of partial payments, how to release unapplied funds, list payment options, etc.15 It also has particular formatting requirements.16
Recomended: All Small Entities Should Be Exempt from the Periodic Statement Requirement
In the TILA proposal, the CFPB is proposing a small servicer exemption for servicers who service 1,000 or fewer loans from the periodic statement requirement.17 As noted above, Advocacy held a conference call to discuss the proposed rulemakings. The SERs on the call were in favor of the exemption. However, they stated that the 1,000 loan threshold was too low. The SERs have stated that a 5,000 or 10,000 loan threshold would be more appropriate for the exemption. The IRFA indicates that the 1,000 loan threshold is also excluding some of the small servicers.18 Advocacy encourages the CFPB to exempt all small entities from the requirement.
• Small Business Procurement
On Friday, August 10, 2012, the Federal Acquisition Council published in the Federal Register a proposed regulation: “Small Business Set Asides for Research and Development Contracts.” Federal Register Volume 77, Number 155, Pages 47797-47799.
This proposed rule responds to a request from the SBA to review the last sentence in FAR Part 19.502-2 (b) (2) which reads: “In making R&D small business set-asides, there must also be a reasonable expectation of obtaining from small businesses the best scientific and technological sources consistent with the demands of the proposed acquisition for the best mix of cost, performances, and schedules.” FAR Part 19.502-2(b) establishes the general requirements for a total small business set-asides above the simplified acquisition threshold: (1) That offers will be obtained from at least two responsible small business concerns offering the products of different small business concerns; and (2) That the award from the set-aside will be made at fair market prices.
Proposed Regulatory Amendment
The proposal would amend the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to clarify that contracting officers shall set aside acquisitions for research and development when there is also a reasonable expectation, as a result of market research, that there are small businesses capable of providing the best scientific and technological approaches.
A copy of Advocacy’s letter can be found at http://www.sba.gov/advocacy/816/331871
If you have any questions regarding Advocacy’s position on this issue, please do not hesitate to contact Major Clark at 202-205-7150.
• International Regulations Comments – Date Due 10/31/2012
On September 28, 2012, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) invited written public comment on the U.S. Government and EC shared goal of promoting greater transatlantic regulatory compatibility. The U.S. and the EC are looking to reduce excessive regulatory costs, unjustified regulatory differences, and unnecessary red tape. USTR also welcomes concrete ideas on how greater compatibility can be achieved in a particular economic sector.
The deadline for submission of written comments is October 31, 2012.
Submit comments to Regulations.gov, the Federal government’s one stop site to comment on Federal regulations
SBA Office of Advocacy contact: Sarah Bresolin Silver at 202-205-6790
For more information on Regulatory Alerts please see the Office of Advocacy webpage http://www.sba.gov/advocacy/815
Bills of interest
If you have an opinion on these, we recommend you contact your Congressional Representative and Senator as well as the sponsors and co-sponsors of these bills.
• H.R.585 Who Determines Definition of Size of Small Business
Latest Title: Small Business Size Standard Flexibility Act of 2011
Sponsor: Rep Graves, Sam [MO-6] (introduced 2/9/2011) Cosponsors (1)
Latest Major Action: 11/16/2011 Placed on the Union Calendar, Calendar No. 190.
House Reports: 112-288
10/29/2012: No action since posting. Transfers size standard determinations to Office of Advocacy and away from SBA. Frequently, these two do not agree on thins even though Advocacy is housed at the SBA.
SUMMARY AS OF:
11/16/2011–Reported to House without amendment. (There is 1 other summary)
(This measure has not been amended since it was introduced. The summary of that version is repeated here.)
Small Business Size Standard Flexibility Act of 2011 – Amends the Small Business Act (the Act) to authorize the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration (SBA), in addition to the SBA Administrator, to specify definitions or standards by which a business may be determined to be a small business (size standard) for purposes of the Act or the Small Business Investment Act of 1958. Requires Chief Counsel approval of any size standard prescribed by the Administrator.
Authorizes the party seeking judicial review of a rule which includes a size standard approved by the Chief Counsel to join the Chief Counsel as a party in such action.
(This is a very important issue when it comes to grants and government contracts.)
• H.R.144 Repeal the $600 Rule
Latest Title: Small Business Paperwork Mandate Elimination Act of 2011
Sponsor: Rep Lungren, Daniel E. [CA-3] (introduced 1/5/2011) Cosponsors (194)
Related Bills: H.R.4, H.R.60, H.R.584, S.18, S.72
Latest Major Action: 1/5/2011 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means.
Small Business Paperwork Mandate Elimination Act of 2011 - Amends the Internal Revenue Code to repeal a provision (added by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) that extends to corporations that are not tax-exempt the requirement to report payments of $600 or more.
10/29/2012: No action since posting.
• H.R.240 Jobs for Veterans
Latest Title: To amend title 38, United States Code, to promote jobs for veterans through the use of sole source contracts by Department of Veterans Affairs for purposes of meeting the contracting goals and preferences of the Department of Veterans Affairs for small business concerns owned and controlled by veterans.
Sponsor: Rep Filner, Bob [CA-51] (introduced 1/7/2011) Cosponsors (2)
Latest Major Action: 7/7/2011 House committee/subcommittee actions. Status: Subcommittee Hearings Held.
Requires (current law authorizes) a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) contracting officer to award contracts to small businesses owned and controlled by veterans using other than competitive procedures for contracts above the simplified acquisition threshold in order to meet VA small business procurement contracting goals.
10/29/2012: No action since posting.
• H.R.366 SBA Program Extension
Latest Title: To provide for an additional temporary extension of programs under the Small Business Act and the Small Business Investment Act of 1958, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep Graves, Sam [MO-6] (introduced 1/20/2011) Cosponsors (None)
Related Bills: H.R.2608, S.990
Latest Major Action: Became Public Law No: 112-1 [GPO: Text, PDF]
• H.R.12 Bonding & Fraud Liability
Latest Title: American Jobs Act of 2011
Sponsor: Rep Larson, John B. [CT-1] (by request) (introduced 9/21/2011) Cosponsors (104)
Related Bills: H.R.2421, H.R.2482, H.R.2948, H.R.3502, S.652, S.1333, S.1549, S.1597, S.1660, S.1769,
Latest Major Action: 10/21/2011 Referred to House subcommittee. Status: Referred to the Subcommittee on Insurance, Housing and Community Opportunity.
Amends the Small Business Investment Act of 1958 to increase from $2 million to $5 million the limit on the guarantee for contract surety bonds and on the liability for bonds obtained by fraud or misrepresentation.
10/29/2012: No action since posting.
Latest Title: Creating Jobs From Innovative Small Businesses Act of 2011
Sponsor: Rep Holt, Rush D. [NJ-12] (introduced 1/5/2011) Cosponsors (1)
Latest Major Action: 1/5/2011 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means
Creating Jobs From Innovative Small Businesses Act of 2011 – Amends the Internal Revenue Code to allow a general business tax credit of 20% of the amount paid to acquire an equity investment in a qualified high technology small business concern. Defines “qualified high technology small business concern” as a small business concern that employs an average of fewer than 500 employees during a year and devotes at least 50% of its gross expenditures to research and experimentation.
(Relevant to those seeking SBIR grants because it increases potential competitors to scarce resources.)
4/1/2013: No action taken
10/29/2012: No action since posting.