January 2018 Policy Update: Net Neutrality, FMLA, Clean Budget and More

“Ethical Markets fully supports our colleagues at the American Sustainable Business Council on restoring net neutrality, as we stated in my syndicate column  “Restoring Net Neutrality”.  We can win this!

~Hazel Henderson, Editor”


American Sustainable Business Council

Speak Up Now to Restore Net Neutrality

In December, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to repeal net neutrality protections that ensure fair, open, and competitive internet access. Repealing net neutrality is sought by large internet service providers who want to charge businesses for access to their customers, akin to cable providers controlling access to what networks viewer see. Now, 50 senators have pledged to support a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to overturn the FCC’s decision. Strong support from business leaders will be needed to win enough Senate and House votes to restore unfettered access to the internet.

The internet has enabled stunning entrepreneurial success, but higher fees and reduced access will harm most businesses and consumers. If you haven’t yet joined the many ASBC members who have already taken a stand, do it now. Sign on to ASBC’s campaign today to protect fair internet access for today’s business leaders and tomorrow’s entrepreneurs.

What’s New

It’s Time for Paid Family & Medical Leave

On February 5, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) turns 25. The only U.S. law that lets Americans take time off to manage major health and family issues without losing their jobs or health insurance has been used over 100 million times. But too many Americans don’t have FMLA access and can’t afford unpaid leave. Join ASBC in promoting the High Road Workplace and join our campaign for a national paid family leave program: Endorse the FAMILY Act today.

Support a Clean Budget

Whether Congress will be able to pass a short-term budget resolution to keep the government open past Friday remains unclear. If they can avoid a shutdown, the agreement would only fund the government until, likely, mid-February, further delaying the vote on a long-term budget proposal. Funding levels for each agency are still up in the air, but one thing we already know is numerous riders (policy provisions) unrelated to funding are being inserted into the budget legislation. These riders aim to limit legal challenges or establish new protocols for new regulations, including speeding efforts to repeal and replace the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule. These types of riders, unrelated to government funding, do not belong in budget legislation.

New York Divests Pension Investments in Fossil Fuels

After years of campaigns by numerous stakeholders, New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer and Governor Andrew Cuomo each released a proposal to change where the city and state pension funds are invested, representing a combined $390 billion. Proposals seek to freeze all current fossil-fuel investments, divest public pension funds of fossil-fuel stock, and reallocate investments to renewable energy.

Media Coverage, Blogs, and More:

·       Working Together to Reduce Harmful Environmental Exposures – An article in Environmental Health Perspectives quoted ASBC President/CEO David Levine in support of ingredient disclosure: “Every company we talk to tells us they can assess what is in their competitor’s product, so why are they fighting bills to ensure ingredient disclosure at the federal and state levels?”

·       How the FCC’s Net Neutrality Vote Will Impact Business – Ryan Rabac, ASBC’s manager of digital marketing, speaks with Hope King and Baker Machado on Cheddar TV about how the FCC’s net neutrality decision will affect businesses, what company owners can expect, and what they can do about it.

·       Government Must Help Small Business Follow Regulations – Frank Knapp, Jr., co-chair of ASBC and president and CEO of the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce, wrote an op-ed in The Hill supporting the Small Business Regulatory Relief Act. This act would give the Office of the National Ombudsman adequate resources to work on behalf of small firms and find fair regulatory solutions.

·       Don’t Be Silent about the EPA Clean Water Rollback – Jim Osgood, CEO of Klean Kanteen, an ASBC member, wrote an op-ed in GreenBiz urging business leaders to protect the EPA’s Clean Water Rule.

·       Importing Safe Prescription Drugs Improves Employee Health – Gabriel Levitt, president of PharmacyChecker.com, an ASBC member, blogged to legalize Americans’ importation of safe and affordable medication for personal use.