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Catherine Treadwell, J.D., Director of Government Relations
|ASA Employers Should Care About Advocacy!
Last week I attended a meeting at the National Association of Manufactures where I sit on the manufactures Advocacy Council. The meeting centered on the relationship between employers and employees when it comes to advocacy. I found it interesting that, in this political climate, employee’s trust their employers more than any other source for the development of their political values and views.
One in five employees believe the government “system” is not working for them and there is overall need for change and they are looking to their employers to drive that change. There was a study done by Jeff Mascott, CEO, Adfero that found seventy-one percent of employees said it was critical for their leadership at work to respond in challenging times, specifically, industry issues, political events, and employee issues. This could be as simple as a press release or as big as a grass roots campaign, either way employees want their employer to take a stance.
The study found that employees want to hear from their employers concerning the values the company lives by and the role the company is playing to shape their future. They want to know the social input that their work and the company adds to society. This is a perfect time to make sure that you are informed as an employer and then share with your employees. Your influence is valued at your company!
As I hope you are aware, the ASA Advocacy Team has launched a grass roots campaign for the DRIVE Safe Act. This bill will help alleviate the truck driver shortage that is affecting our industry. I have been on The Hill advocating for this bill, but I need your help! There is power in numbers and now is the perfect time to share with your employees an issue and show them what you are doing about it. If you click here, you can forward the hyperlink to your employees and they will be able to send a letter to their members of Congress to let them know that you support the DRIVE Safe Act. Through this type of advocacy effort you can have an impact on government policy and regulation and also encourage your employees to engage and also have a positive impact.
The ASA Advocacy Team is dedicated to being YOUR voice on The Hill and in D.C. Please contact Catherine Treadwell Perry at firstname.lastname@example.org with legislative and regulatory issues that are affecting your company!
- The House and Senate are in session.
- ASA Advocacy is meeting with Congressman Steve Cohen (R-TN) to discuss the DRIVE SAFE Act
- Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) sent a letter to Mueller asking if he'd like to testify about any "misrepresentation" by Attorney General William Barr regarding a phone call they had discussing Mueller's report. Barr told Graham's committee this week that Mueller did not dispute the accuracy of his four-page summary in a letter expressing disagreement with the way Barr handled the release of his report. (Politico)
- The Tennessee state legislature approved a bill requiring the state to request the Trump administration's approval of a Medicaid block grant plan within the next six months, and Republican Gov. Bill Lee is expected to sign it into law. If approved, Tennessee would become the first state to obtain Medicaid funding in a lump sum - a strategy championed by Republicans arguing states should be empowered to customize their Medicaid programs, but criticized by opponents who warn states will obtain less funding and be forced to cut enrollments and benefits. (Politico)
- President Donald Trump unveiled a new rule that will empower providers, insurance companies and employers to deny providing or paying for services they believe violate their religious beliefs, such as abortion, sterilization or assisted suicide. The rule, issued by the Department of Health and Human Services, will expand the power of the agency's Office for Civil Rights, leaving some providers concerned for its potential of putting patients at risk; for example, the rule may allow ambulance drivers to refuse to drive a woman with an ectopic pregnancy to the hospital because she could potentially have an abortion. ( The Washington Post)
- In a court filing, the Trump administration formally called on a federal appeals court to gut the entire Affordable Care Act on the grounds that it is unconstitutional without the individual mandate, from which it is unseverable. A group of 21 Democratic-led states led by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra immediately appealed the filing, and oral arguments in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans are expected to begin in July. (The New York Times)
- Unemployment fell to 3.6 percent in April, the lowest level since December 1969, according to the Labor Department. The economy added 263,000 jobs in April, the report said. (CNBC)
- Vice President Mike Pence and White House National Economic Council Director Lawrence Kudlow urged the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates, following months of comments from President Donald Trump to do the same. The comments came just after the release of the monthly jobs report. (The Wall Street Journal)
- Several congressional Republicans have expressed skepticism about Trump's proposal for a $2 trillion infrastructure package, with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) saying Thursday, "How do you pay for it?" One proposal is a gas tax hike, something Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) called "regressive" and Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and other have already ruled out. (The Hill)
- Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said Trump agreed to put $2 trillion toward U.S. infrastructure, and lawmakers said they would return for further talks in three weeks to determine how to finance the investment.
- Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) approved a $119 billion, two-year budget that prevents the state from spending money to participate in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. The governor has praised the initiative, through which nine Northeastern states limit carbon emissions from large industrial producers, but state advisers' reading of current law may have prevented Northam from a line-item veto of the ban. (The Washington Post)
- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said his chamber will not vote on the Climate Action Now Act, which cleared the House 231-190 today. The legislation would prevent the United States from spending money to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, as President Donald Trump has pledged to do. (The Hill)
- The Interior Department issued its final rule to ease requirements on offshore oil and gas drillers by increasing drillers' safety technology options and removing a requirement to use only pre-approved safety inspectors. The changes, which impact 20 percent of the provisions in the underlying Obama-era regulation, could save drillers as much as $1.5 billion over 10 years, according to Interior officials. (The Wall Street Journal)
- Following pushback from the White House and the oil industry, the Environmental Protection Agency has paused work toward publicizing the names of refiners that have received waivers from Renewable Fuel Standard blending requirements, according to four sources. The sources said that U.S. senators whose states contain small refineries were also concerned that the disclosure would force the refiners to make sensitive financial information public. (Reuters)
- Senate Republicans are saying President Donald Trump needs to remove his steel and aluminum tariffs on U.S. allies before they will approve his United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, as well as hold back on tariffs for foreign auto companies that often operate in Southern and Midwestern states. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and other Senate Republicans met with Trump on Thursday to convince him to drop tariffs, but shortly after the meeting, Trump tweeted that "tariffs are working" and that the U.S. economy is "booming." (Politico)
- China and the United States have agreed on how to enforce a trade agreement, a key sticking point between the two countries during trade talks, as negotiators close in on a deal, according to two people close to the talks. There are still unresolved details that need to be worked out when Chinese negotiators come to Washington this week.
| || NEWS FROM STATE AND LOCAL |
|Update on State Bills Being Tracked
Connecticut HB 7151 - Rep. Anne Hughes (CT-135) is now a sponsor of the bill. ASA has opposed the bill due to incorrect plumbing fixture definitions and also the use of a “sell by date” for implementation vs. a “manufactured after date”.
Colorado HB 19-1231: New Appliance Energy and Water Efficiency Standards was approved by the Senate and House with amendments including an amendment stating the implementation date of January 1, 2021 does not apply to products held in inventory on or before the effective date. This was a key issue ASA fought for and got into the bill.
Hawaii HB 556: RELATING TO ENERGY EFFICIENCY. The bill has passed and has been forwarded to the Governor for signature.
Louisiana (SB 228) – Provides tax credit for purchase of energy and water efficient products. Read second time by title and referred to the Committee on Finance. ASA has submitted comments in support of the bill.
No new state legislative activity announced over the last week potentially impacting ASA members.
Congressional Republicans don't want to talk about attacks on ObamaCare. But President Trump isn't making that easy.
The Trump administration on Wednesday filed its official legal argument calling for the entirety of the Affordable Care Act to be struck down, once again thrusting the issue back in the spotlight at a time when GOP lawmakers are trying to turn the page.
The Huffington Post
Despite the evidence of obstruction of justice outlined in the Mueller report, House Democrats are showing very little interest in impeaching President Donald Trump, managing calls to remove him from office with promises for more investigation.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has repeatedly said Trump is “not worth it” and that impeachment is “too good” for the president ― lines she repeated Thursday during a closed-door meeting with House Democrats. But at this point, the put-downs seem more like a backhanded way of dismissing impeachment than a serious sentiment.
The Associated Press
Virginia regulators have approved the first round of what’s set to be about $1 billion in new spending on energy efficiency programs designed to reduce the need to produce and distribute electricity.
The State Corporation Commission on Thursday approved 11 new programs costing $226 million requested by Dominion Energy, the state’s largest electric utility. The commission also approved energy efficiency spending by Appalachian Power, the state’s second largest electric utility.
7701 Las Colinas Ridge, Ste. 800, Irving, TX 75063