At Strothman and Company we help entrepreneurial businesses grow. At every stage.  Every day. That's why we keep you up to date on relevant issues.
bbb
Nonprofit Organization of the Month:  

 
   

Better Business Bureau  

This month, we highlight the Better Business Bureau ("BBB").  Strothman and Company's founder, Ray Strothman, is currently the Chairman of the BBB of Louisville, Southern Indiana and Western Kentucky.    

The BBB  has a Consumer Education Fund ("CEF") that promotes the charitable and educational purposes of the Better Business Bureau serving Louisville, Southern Indiana, and Western Kentucky.  BBB CEF provides the following educational programs and services that educate and inform consumers and encourages charity accountability and wise giving practices.
  • BBB Charity Review Program - Established locally in 2002, Charity Review is the donor information service of the local BBB. Its purpose is to promote public confidence in local charities and to encourage charitable giving.
  • BBB Military Line - This program engages military consumers through support at local events, workshops, scam presentations, financial literacy programs, and more.
  • Senior Citizen Solutions and Scams Programs - To protect elderly consumers, CEF has developed presentations and literature to provide elderly consumers with information on recognizing and preventing fraud.
  • High School Programs and Student Scholarship Contest - CEF provides presentations to local area high schools that cover scams, identity theft, and financial literacy. In addition, CEF also supports the Student Video and Poster Scholarship Contest that provides a scholarship opportunity to local students.
  • Identity Theft Seminars - To assist in educating consumers on identity theft, CEF has developed presentations on the topic of ID theft, including how to prevent it and what steps to take should you become a victim.
  • Elder Contract Review - Through a partnership with the University of Louisville School of Law, senior citizens can obtain advice on contract issues from law students.
  • Credit Clues Programming - CEF has developed information to help provide information to consumers about how to use, build, and repair credit.
  • Expos, Trade Shows, and Community Events - In order to interact with consumers and businesses seeking information or services, CEF develops and distributes materials at expos, trade shows, and other community events to help promote BBB services and educate consumers.
  • Stop Shoplifting Program for First-time Offenders - Through a joint initiative of BBB and the County Attorneys' Offices, this program is an opportunity for first time shoplifting offers to learn about shoplifting and its impact on their lives.
  • Annual Golf Scramble Fundraiser - This is CEF's largest fundraiser and raises money for the BBB Storefront at JA's BizTown and other CEF programs and activities.
  • BBB Storefront in Junior Achievement of Kentuckiana's BizTown - This simulated town allows students to experience the free enterprise system by working in simulated local businesses.

For more information on BBB CEF call 800.388.2222 or visit bbb.org/louisville.  BBB CEF is a 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit organization. Contributions are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. Tax ID number 61-0973984. Donations can be sent to BBB CEF, 844 South 4th Street, Louisville, KY 40203.


 
 

SeminarSeries2017 Strothman and Company Seminar Series
  
We are pleased to present our 2017 Seminar Series.  Strothman and Company has been providing these complementary programs for over 30 years, demonstrating our commitment to education and continuous improvement.  In addition to these seminars, others may be added during the year.  Be sure to watch for our monthly newsletters and seminar invitations!  Please invite friends and associates to attend these FREE seminars. 

On June 22, Quinn Hart (Tax Partner) led a seminar entitled Tax and Accounting Tips for Professional Service Providers.  She was assisted by outside speakers, Mark McNulty of Action Coach Louisville and Tom Carline with Trinity Pension Consultants.  Topics covered included forms of doing business, dealing with self-employment tax, ways to avoid IRS audits, and the ways that future tax proposals may affect businesses.  Mark covered the important role of cash in a business, and how owners can get tripped up by not focusing on cash flow as their main priority.  Tom covered retirement planning for closely held businesses, with a special emphasis on cash balance plans.  In the right situation, tremendous amounts of tax-deductible retirement contributions can be made to benefit business owners.  If you have any questions on the topics covered at the seminar, please contact Quinn at qhart@strothman.com
 
The subject of our next seminar is business ethics, led by Bill Meyer, Managing Partner.  Those of you who have attended previous ethics seminars know that this seminar will be built around ethical issues that have arisen in news reports during the past year.  Bill says that fans of United Airlines may wish to avoid this year's seminar.

Business Ethics 
Your Annual Dose of How NOT to Act

August 17, 2017
8 - 10 AM
University of Louisville - Shelby Campus

Manufacturing, Distribution & Logistics Conference 
Strategies for Growth and Profits
September 21, 2017
8 - 10 AM
Owl Creek Country Club

New Tax Law Update 
Strategies to Take Advantage of New Business
and Personal Tax Laws

 
October 19, 2017
8 - 10 AM
Owl Creek Country Club
Real Estate & Construction
Conference II 
Industry Specific Strategies for Growth
November 16, 2017
8 AM - 12 PM
University of Louisville - Shelby Campus

22nd Annual StroCo University 
Growth and Independence
 
November 30, 2017
8 AM - 12 PM
University of Louisville - Shelby Campus


For those of you that are interested, the 22nd Annual Strothman and Company Governmental Accounting and Auditing Conference will be on Thursday, July 27, 2017 from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  This is a highly technical, specialized CPE event and is designed for accountants who work for governmental organizations.  If you think you might have an interest in coming, please contact Jim Stevison, the Partner in Charge of our Firm's Accounting and Auditing Practice, at jstevison@strothman.com.

Strothman and Company seminars are designed to qualify for Continuing Professional Education ("CPE") for CPAs.   

If you have any questions, please call Leah Fulner at 502.585.1600 or email  lfulner@strothman.com 
To RSVP for any of the seminars online, please Click Here

 
  AHCAThe GOP's Healthcare Reform and Small Business
 
After a serious setback in March, the GOP finally passed a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (often dubbed Obamacare). The bill passed after last minute changes were made to convince ultra conservatives to support the proposed legislation. The new bill now faces significant scrutiny from the Senate. What does this all mean to a small business owner? The effects of such major budget cuts will vary from state to state. Much will depend on where you live and work, and on the age/experience of your workers. The reform bill is complex and its passage is far from assured, but here are some key elements that affect small businesses.
  • Eliminates the taxes the ACA imposed on wealthier citizens, insurers and prescription drug and medical device makers.
  • Scraps the requirement that individuals obtain healthcare coverage or face a tax penalty.
  • Eliminates the mandate that employers with a minimum of 50 employees provide healthcare insurance to their employees. Under ACA, these businesses were required to provide affordable insurance to staffers who worked more than 30 hours per week. Small businesses that failed to do this faced penalties if/when their employees sought subsidies on the insurance exchanges.
  • Weakens the protection the ACA had offered people with pre-existing conditions. Provisions mandating that individual states provide protection would be axed and replaced with $8 billion in funding over five years to help set up high-risk pools.
  • Replaces income-based credits with refundable age-based tax credits to help people pay for coverage on the individual market. For example, credit for people in their 20s will be $2,000, while people in their 60s and older could get a credit of $4,000. These credits will have income caps.
  • Significantly, the subsidies that the ACA made available to help people earning less than $30,000 per year with out-of-pocket healthcare costs will disappear. Much of the burden for delivering healthcare to lower income and disadvantaged citizens will shift from the Federal Government to the states.
  • Insurers will be allowed to charge older people more than they were permitted under the ACA, which limited insurance companies to charging no more than three times the rate imposed on younger people.  
The Congressional Budget Office has indicated that the GOP reform plan aims to reduce the Federal deficit by $119 billion while shifting some of the financial burden to the states. Estimates suggest that in doing so, the American Health Care Act could increase the number of uninsured people by 23 million by 2026. It has attracted concern and criticism from legislators and the debate is far from over.

If you have any questions regarding changes proposed by Congress, please contact Joe Johnston, the Partner in Charge of Tax at jjohnston@strothman.com
 
 
blackholeCould Potential Tax Changes and a Private Equity Black Hole Undermine the Value of Your Business?

Until a few years ago, the average private equity fund's multiyear performance materially outperformed the S&P 500. More recently however, the average private equity fund is performing more in-line with this benchmark, causing a growing number of people to believe private equity as an investment asset class is "maturing." So what does this have to do with how much your business is worth? First, let's go over a little background.
 
Market Categories
Generally speaking, markets categorize private companies into groups based on their annual revenue. There are a few broadly recognized categories of private companies considered "middle market" with revenues of $500 million-plus, $100 million to $500 million, $5 million to $100 million and finally micro business with annual revenues of $5 million or less. Typically, private equity focuses on the three larger groups and doesn't touch companies in the $5 million or less range.
Low interest rates for nearly a decade meant it was cheap to borrow money and leverage your purchase of a company. Coupled with low return on fixed income and their performance track record, this combination of factors has pushed a lot of money into private equity funds - and as a result, private equity funds have been on a buying spree. All this translates into higher valuations for companies, creating a seller's market. It also means that most of the "good deals" (for the private equity firms, that is) are already taken.

Market Cycles
Studies of middle market mergers and acquisitions activity show approximate 10-year cycles. Generally, during this 10-year cycle it will be a seller's market for five years and then a buyer's market for the next five. Essentially, many in the field see the private business landscape as picked through; combined with the cycle timing, it is creating a sense that we are approaching the top of the seller's market cycle.
It's not just the turn of the private equity market cycle that could impact the value of your business. There are potential tax changes that could combine with it to further drive down the price private equity funds are willing to pay.

Changing What We Tax Changes How We Value
There are currently a few proposals that are stepping stones toward a flatter tax system. An essential part of that is a move toward taxing Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization (EBITDA) instead of net income. Taxing EBITDA instead of net income means that interest expenses would no longer be deductible. So why would this tax change matter? Well, typically private equity firms value companies as a multiple of the EBITDA they will receive; but if the "I" for interest no longer applies, it could alter valuations.
Not all private equity funds have the same strategy, but a common one is for funds to be financial buyers. Financial buyers craft deals primarily based on the financial structure of the purchase, often through what is called a leveraged buyout (LBO).

Why the 'I' for Interest Matters
LBO models typically include a number of financing sources as part of the deal structure. Typically, the buyer will provide a small part in cash, another small portion as a note from the seller and the majority remainder is borrowed (about 75 percent or more).

By using mostly borrowed funds to finance a purchase, LBOs mean that the new company structure will have a lot of debt - and therefore, a lot of interest expense as well. Currently, this is irrelevant if the private equity fund is valuing the company as a multiple of its EBITDA, since their valuation is based on the company's performance without factoring the interest.

Under some new tax proposals, the interest will no longer be deductible and this messes up the whole LBO model - it essentially breaks it. As a result, financial buyers will have to start valuing the company with the interest expense factored into the target company's earnings, but while still applying the same valuation multiples. Let's look at an example to better understand.

If a company had an EBITDA of $10 million and the private equity fund was willing to pay a multiple of 5x, then they would buy the company for $50 million ($10 million x 5). Under the new rules, the private equity buyer would further reduce EBITDA by the amount of the now non-deductible interest expense, so the company's earning base for the valuation multiple would now be say $1.5 million less (a very rough approximation of the interest expense). The private equity fund would then apply the same multiple of 5x the earnings base at $8.5 million ($10 million EBITDA, less $1.5 million in interest expense) and only be willing to pay $41.5 million instead of $50 million.

Implications
The result of this tax change could mean that financial buyers will be offering less for private companies. Coupled with the perceived market cycle timing, and we could be looking at private equity funds being willing to pay a lot less for private companies in the near future.

If you have any questions regarding how to value your closely held business, please contact Rory Satkoski, the Partner in Charge of Business Valuation Services, at rsatkoski@strothman.com

 cry
Technology: What Does WannaCry Teach Us?

The global ransomware attack dubbed WannaCry marked an unwelcome precedent in the dark world of cybercrime. It is the first cyberattack that combined ransomware with the self-propagating power of a "worm" to generate a wide-ranging global attack, affecting some 200,000 computers in more than 150 countries with the toll still rising. The hackers behind the scheme took standard ransomware and were able to replicate it on a global scale.

Ransomware has been around for a while. It is malware that encrypts all the contents on a computer user's hard-drive, locking them behind a password. Typically, it comes with a demand for payment (a ransom) and a deadline. Notably, this international malware attack, WannaCry, snarled the operations of the entire National Health Service in the U.K., forcing hospitals to cancel surgeries and preventing patients from accessing emergency services. It created a nightmare that many cybercrime analysts had foretold - one that experts had warned us would happen unless we beefed up with stronger security throughout the internet.

Web security experts have been trying to warn us that cybersecurity is only as strong as the weakest link on the internet. Now, perhaps we know what they mean. Here's what you should know:
  • Small businesses statistically are targeted frequently by cybercrooks - nearly one-third of all reported attacks occur at firms with less than 250 employees.  
  • More than 50 percent of cyberattacks can be attributed to human error at the targeted company.
  • Any organization that uses remote and/or third-party employees is especially vulnerable; i.e. any firm where employees are able to access and transmit corporate data via their own personal devices. Remote workers and onsite staff using personal technology (smart phones, iPads, laptops, etc.) to connect with company data potentially provide hackers with many entry points for malware like WannaCry.
  • The only way to avoid being vulnerable is to install security patches and updates as soon as operating system companies and software manufacturers issue updates.  
  • Microsoft has stopped supporting Windows XP - although the company did release emergency patches for XP and 2003 in response to the WannaCry crisis. If this doesn't convince you to ditch out-of-date operating systems, it is hard to know what will. The longer you continue to use systems that are no longer supported by Microsoft and other OS providers, the greater risk you run of being a ransomware victim.
  • Although the cost to businesses of cyberattacks like WannaCry can be astronomical when we tally the full cost of lost income, interruptions to business operations and the cost of remedial work, the impact on human lives and safety is incalculable when essential health care services like the U.K.'s National Health Service are brought to a halt.
  • Keeping yourself educated on what's happening in cybersecurity is crucial. It is also vital that your staff training programs educate your employees on how to keep their computers updated, and that you have appropriate guidelines and rules for employees who use personal devices (unprotected by your firewalls) to interact with company technology.
  • Be proactive. Develop an action plan - engage a consultant to help if needed - so that your employees know how to spot potential problems and know what to do if the company is the target of a ransomware attack.
The experts believe that WannaCry might just be the first of many global ransomware attacks. Your best defense is a proactive stance and a willingness to learn from the hard lessons many organizations received from this recent cyber blackmail.

If you have any questions regarding how best to protect your technology from cyber-attacks, please contact Josh Zik, Certified Fraud Examiner, at jzik@strothman.com
 
turmoil
Investors Take Political Turmoil in Stride

Not surprisingly, Donald Trump's first 100 days as president have delivered surprises, scandals and controversy - none of which are considered beneficial to steady stock market performance. Yet, despite the screaming headlines, the markets generally held their own. Here are some of the issues and trends that dominated the investment sector during the past month.

The Whipsaw Effect
President Trump's Twitter tirades and the firing of FBI Director James Comey initially provoked a swift sell-off on Wall Street as traders and analysts reacted to the latest political turmoil in Washington. The stock market suffered its worst one-day decline since September with the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropping 1.8 percent on May 17. The Comey crisis also had a negative, and measurable, impact on financial markets worldwide. However, this decline proved short-lived, and reports that President Trump had secured deals worth several hundred billion dollars during his visit to Saudi Arabia helped turn U.S. investors' sentiments bullish again. Overall, it appears that most analysts are adjusting to the drama-laden nature of the Trump administration, shrugging off the temptation to match the president's rhetoric with knee-jerk responses that can rattle the markets.

Stability in Dramatic Times
Some Wall Street gurus are focusing on corporate earnings growth, which has proven to be a stabilizing factor for U.S. stocks, rather than dwelling on the political ruckus created by events like the Comey firing. They note that profit expansion among the Standard and Poor's 500 is better than it has been for more than five years. Brokers are expecting to see impressive earnings growth for the first quarter of 2017 - growth that matches or outpaces the high point established in the third quarter of 2011. If this comes to pass, it will be the third consecutive quarter for the S&P 500 to show earnings growth. However, this doesn't mean that there will be no future fallout created by the turmoil in D.C.
 
At the beginning of the Trump presidency, the markets were buoyed by hopes that the administration would make good on its promises regarding financial deregulation and tax code reform. If uncertainty over President Trump's ability to deliver on his key election promises builds, both institutional and individual investors will be more likely to keep their cash out of the markets.
 
Winners and Losers
Major stock price gains by internet companies have helped to propel the high-tech sector to record highs. Some analysts have begun to sound the alarm, wondering if the sector is becoming overvalued and drawing parallels to the 2000 dot.com bubble. Some of the larger brokerage houses have signaled that the gains realized recently might not be sustainable. Others have underscored the differences between the situation in 2000 and today - notably that the sector includes companies with an established track record.
 
Traditionally, U.S. companies have fared well in Saudi Arabia. Not surprisingly, investors were eager to determine which companies might benefit most from the billion-dollar business deals and accords signed during President Trump's recent Middle East trip. Among the contract winners are industry leaders like Exxon Mobil and General Electric - both companies signed deals that might create upside for their stock. Other U.S. companies inking deals included Nabors Industries, National Oilwell Varco, Rowan Companies and Weatherford. But remember, there are no guarantees that the initial study phases and product orders outlined in these contracts will ultimately become large and profitable projects.
 
The above commentary is intended to be general in nature and should not replace the advice of professional tax and investment advisors.
 
 mitigitatethreatIdeas to Mitigate the Biggest Threats to Retirement Income

The LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute estimates that the average healthy person will live through their mid-90s. If you retire at the traditional age during your 60s, this could mean needing enough retirement income for 30 years or more. That is no small trick once you've stopped earning a paycheck. As if saving that much money isn't enough, the following are other threats retirees face in planning for retirement income.

Market volatility: Reposition assets to reduce risk
A younger investor can swing for the fences - putting a large portion of their assets in equity investments. However, the closer you get to retirement, the more funds you should transition to conservative vehicles. The last thing you want to do is suffer investment losses right before you retire. As you approach retirement, it's important to diversify your portfolio to include more conservative holdings.

Too conservative: Keep a growth component
With that said, you don't want to go overboard on conservative investments either. Since retirements are lasting longer these days, it's important to maintain at least some exposure to equities for growth opportunity. Not only can this help your portfolio keep pace with long-term inflation, but also remember that a 30-year timespan offers the potential to deliver some impressive gains. It all comes down to what you've accumulated by the time you retire and how much you'll need both for day-to-day living expenses and for the long haul. The healthier you are - and if you have longevity genes in your family - the more money you will want to allocate to growth options.

Run out of money: Watch how much you withdraw
Another point to consider is your withdrawal rate in retirement. If you underestimate your expenses or don't stay on top of your portfolio's performance, you could run out of money. An important part of retirement planning is to monitor and adjust your assets with a prudent distribution plan so you continue to receive income throughout your retirement.
 
Pension supplement: Guaranteed sources of income
Most retirees qualify for Social Security benefits, which are guaranteed to continue until you pass away. One way to increase that benefit is to wait until full retirement age to start drawing them. You can accrue a higher amount if you wait even longer; the Delayed Retirement Credit accrues an additional 8 percent a year up to age 70.
 
A retiree who does not receive an employer pension also might want to consider using some of his assets to purchase an income annuity. An annuity is a contract purchased with a lump sum that guarantees to pay out a specific or minimum level of income for a certain period of time; you can even choose a guaranteed lifetime option in exchange for a reduced payout. Bear in mind, though, that an annuity typically is an irrevocable purchase, and can be quite complicated in the various options its offers (i.e., inflation hedge, long-term care rider, death benefits) and fees charged. It's a good idea to work with a financial advisor or experienced insurance agent to help you decide if, and which one, is right for your situation.
 
Living longer: Work longer
Many folks are willing to keep working past the traditional age in anticipation of needing more retirement income. This allows you to save more and give your investments more time to grow. However, bear in mind that tax-deferred accounts such as 401(k) plans and traditional IRAs mandate Required Minimum Distributions (RMD) starting at age 70½. If you work past 70, you may have to take money from these accounts even if you don't need it. Note too, that RMDs are taxed as regular income (in most cases) and must be withdrawn before Dec. 31 of each year.
 
Living large: Rightsize
If you're worried about running out of retirement income, there are other options to consider. For example, sell your home and downsize to something smaller. This might be a good move if you want to travel early on during retirement, as a condominium is a lot easier to maintain if you're gone for long periods of time. Also, take a look at any big-ticket expenses you might not be able to sustain during retirement, such as trading in an expensive country club membership for tee times at a public golf course. The point is to right-size your lifestyle to match your retirement income, not the other way around.
 
domainHow to Select the Right Domain Name

When it comes to selecting a domain name, there's more than just registration involved. Selecting the right domain name involves a lot of consideration. This includes making sure it represents the company and its products or service correctly, making sure it doesn't create an intellectual property conflict, ensuring the name resonates with customers and ensuring it can become search engine friendly.   

Making it Memorable
When it comes to selecting a domain name, one consideration is to make is memorable. The first recommendation is to not include any hyphens because doing so makes it harder for people to pronounce, recall and therefore brand a domain name. Something to avoid are words that might sound distinctive but are hard to pronounce or spell, such as anemone or onomatopoeia. It might end up being counterproductive, especially when it's said fast or flashes across a screen for a few seconds before it's gone.

Easy to Enunciate
Much like making a domain name memorable, another way to make it stick in people's heads is to make the domain's word or words easy for people to say. Through the so-called "processing fluency," the easier it is to pronounce a word or phrase, the more likely an individual is to remember and create a positive associate with the company and its domain name.

Purchasing an Existing Domain Name
Another consideration when selecting a domain name is determining if it's been blacklisted or is heavily penalized from a search engine rating. A domain name might be blacklisted if it was previously in the hands of an owner who used it to generate and distribute spam. Similarly, an existing domain may be penalized in search engine rankings, reducing the likelihood of being found by users through a keyword search. Depending on how poor a domain's search engine optimization (SEO) ranking is, that would be another factor when looking to purchase an existing domain name.

Intellectual Property Considerations
Generally speaking, in order for a name to be trademarked, it must have distinctive characteristics. This could be accomplished by the name being used in a subjective manner or if the name is invented for a business' use.   

Along with a good fit for a particular industry, it's naturally best to double check the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to determine which trademarks currently exist and if any trademark applications are under review. Similarly, abbreviations and modified spellings of a trademark should be explored. Looking through business name registries is also advised to ensure all iterations of a potential trademark are explored before selecting a domain name.

One important point to keep in mind when selecting a domain name, especially with trademark issues, is to ensure there are no similarities with it that may cause customers to confuse it with the trademarked domain name. The following are some questions to ask that, along with legal help, can reduce the likelihood of trademark issues for a domain name.

Will your domain name be in the same industry as the trademarked domain name? What's the likelihood of the intended domain name being confused or taking sales away from a similar one? How common or similarly spelled or sounding is another domain name to the intended domain name? These questions can help determine if any similarity exists.

While these are just a few considerations when selecting a domain name, understanding how the selection process works can undoubtedly save time and money for entrepreneurs.
 
 

CongJuneCongress at Work: Funding the Government, Hosting a Future World Expo and Modernizing Government Travel

 
The Congress at Work series of articles is designed to give you a glimpse of various types of legislation currently under consideration. While either the Senate or the House of Representatives may initiate a bill proposal, be aware that many bills never become law; they may never make it out of committee, be blocked by a Senate filibuster, delayed, lack enough votes, never be agreed upon by the two houses, or vetoed by the president.
 
Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017 (H.R. 244) - Negotiated as a bipartisan effort, this $1.1 trillion spending bill appropriates money to keep the federal government running through the end of the fiscal year (Sept. 30, 2017). Notably, the Act authorizes $1.5 billion for increased border security and work on the existing border infrastructure (but not the new wall), boosts defense spending by $15 billion, and retains money for "sanctuary cities" that do not comply with federal immigration laws as well as funding for Planned Parenthood. The bill also rejected President Trump's request to eliminate money for federal arts programs by allocating $150 million each to the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The bill was signed into law by the President on May 5.
 
An Act to repeal the rule issued by the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration entitled "Metropolitan Planning Organization Coordination and Planning Area Reform" (S. 496) - Sponsored by Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), this bill rolls back legislation designed to promote more effective regional planning by merging, adjusting boundaries or in effect producing a single, unified set of plans to guide transportation investments. The bill was signed into law by the President on May 12.
 
U.S. Wants to Compete for a World Expo Act (H.R. 534) - The United States has not been an active member of the Bureau of International Expositions (BIE) - the organization responsible for governing World Fairs and International Expositions - since 2001. This bill requires the Secretary of State to take such actions necessary for the United States to rejoin the BIE in order to petition to host the World Expo. Countries that host the Expo benefit from economic growth of the region surrounding the exposition through domestic job creation, global branding and tourism. Sponsored by Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN), the bill was introduced on Jan. 13 and signed into law by the President on May 8.
 
Joint Resolution disapproving the rule submitted by the Department of Labor relating to savings arrangements established by States for non-governmental employees (H.J. Res. 66) - Sponsored by Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI), this bill nullifies a previous final rule requiring states to comply with the fiduciary oversight and other protections of ERISA that ensured worker savings were available to provide a secure retirement. It was introduced on Feb. 7, passed by Congress on May 3 and was signed on May 17 by the President.
 
Modernizing Government Travel Act (H.R. 274) - Sponsored by Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA), this bill requires the General Services Administration to implement regulations allowing federal employees to use alternative transportation options such as Uber, Lyft and bike-share for official travel. It was introduced on Jan. 4, passed by Congress on May 2 and enacted by the President on May 16.
 
Recent Presidential Executive Orders and Memorandums:
  • An order empowering the Treasury Secretary to move forward with tax reform and end portions of the Dodd-Frank financial legislation.
  • A memo ordering an investigation into whether foreign steel is hurting national security.
  • An order directing federal agencies to review the use of the H-1B visa program.
  • An order requesting the Commerce Department to report on the factors behind the trade deficit.
  • An order requesting the Commerce Department to increase collection of duties on imports.
  • An order establishing the President's Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis.
  • An order revoking Obama-era executive orders on federal contracting.
  • An order directing a top-to-bottom audit of the Executive Branch.
  • A revised order suspending the refugee program and entry to the United States for travelers from several mostly Muslim countries and suspends refugee entries for 120 days. The original order was revoked.
  • An order moving the HBCU (Historically Black College and Universities) offices back from the Department of Education to the White House.
  • Three orders establishing three Department of Justice task forces to fight drug cartels, reduce violent crime, and reduce attacks against police.
  • A memorandum instructing the Labor Department to delay implementing an Obama rule requiring financial professionals who are giving advice on retirement, and who charge commissions, to put their clients' interests first.

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