New Legislation Impacting Businesses

If you attended Vann & Sheridan’s Hot Legal Topics this year, you hopefully gained some information regarding some new laws recently passed and currently under consideration that may impact businesses. Given the state of our economy, Congress is continuously searching for ways to turn things around. In that regard, there are some interesting new laws that could be voted on soon that may positively or negatively impact your business. In addition, depending on the outcome of November’s election, the healthcare law could be weakened, strengthened or repealed. Regardless of how all of this plays out, it is beneficial for business owners and managers to be aware of potential opportunities and pitfalls associated with changes in the law.

One bill expected to be passed and signed into law is the Global Investment in American Jobs Act. This is a bipartisan bill with support from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. As such, it is considered beneficial to businesses. It seeks to increase awareness of the benefits of doing business in America and encourage global investment here. The goal is to bolster private investment in the economy and add jobs. The bill directs “the Secretary of Commerce, in coordination with the heads of other relevant Federal departments and agencies, to produce a report on enhancing the competitiveness of the United States in attracting foreign direct investment, and for other purposes”. The bill also calls for a review of federal policies on foreign investment and for recommendations on how to make the United States more competitive. Small business would certainly see a positive impact from investment in the economy by foreign companies.

Another perhaps more controversial bill affecting business is the Coal Miner Employment and Domestic Energy Infrastructure Act. Its main purpose is to reduce the regulatory constraints on energy and manufacturing. While there is no coal mining in North Carolina, businesses would nevertheless be impacted by this law, if passed. The bill calls for a decrease in the authority of the government, including the Environmental Protection Agency, to regulate energy producers and manufacturers. The end goal is of course to encourage American independence with respect to energy and to increase domestic manufacturing of goods. Obviously, this is another attempt to strengthen the economy, which most business owners would support. On the negative side, the bill would surely be opposed by environmentalists.

Finally, the STEM Jobs Act of 2012 is under consideration. This bill seeks to make it easier for employers to hire foreign graduates of American universities with advanced degrees in certain fields. According to the summary provided by the House Committee on the Judiciary: “The STEM Jobs Act (H.R. 6429) eliminates the diversity visa lottery and reallocates up to 55,000 green cards a year to the top foreign graduates of U.S. universities with STEM doctorates. Any remaining green cards are then made available to foreign graduates with master’s degrees in STEM fields”.

Another business-friendly law, this improves the talent pool and helps businesses hire the people best suited for the job.

At Vann & Sheridan, we believe it is part of our job to educate our clients on the current legal issues and potential challenges and opportunities inherent in any changes in the law that could impact them, directly or indirectly. If you or your business need help understanding the implications of recently enacted laws or pending legislation, please contact us and we will be glad to assist you.