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Legislative Report - 2.6.2013

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Earlier this week the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce held its first Full Committee Hearing of the 113th Congress entitled "Challenges and Opportunities Facing America's Schools and Workplaces".
 
The hearing covered a wide array of topics and interests expressed by both the Committee Members and the four panelists. A common theme which surfaced was a clear indication that both Republicans and Democrats, and their invited witnesses, are very concerned with how the Committee can inspire and support economic recovery and job growth through education.
 

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Affordable Care Act

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Under a provision of the Affordable Care Act, which takes effect in January 2014, employees who work at least a 30-hour work week must receive health benefits from their employers. And the IRS has indicated that colleges must ''use a reasonable method for crediting hours of service,'' noting that it would not be reasonable to include ''only classroom or instruction time and not other hours that are necessary to perform the employee's duties, such as class preparation time.'' The proposed rules don't provide a definitive formula for calculating instructor workload, but ''further guidance may be provided,'' according to the announcement.

The agency is collecting comments on the proposal through March 18.

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House Education and Workforce Committee News

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Chairman John Kline (R-MN) of the House Education and Workforce Committee spoke last week about the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). Chairman Kline helped usher a Republican-backed bill through committee last year that would have consolidated 27 of the job training programs contained in WIA into a block grant. The proposal was never taken up by the full House, but it will likely be reintroduced as is and move through the committee swiftly despite Democratic opposition.

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News from The House Education and the Workforce Committee

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The House Education and the Workforce Committee hearing will hold a hearing on Tuesday, February 5 entitled "Challenges and Opportunities Facing America's Schools and Workplaces". The witnesses for the hearing are:

Dr. Jared Bernstein, Senior Fellow, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Washington, DC

The Honorable Gary Herbert, Governor, State of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah
 
Mr. Jay Timmons, President and CEO, National Association of Manufacturers, Washington, DC

The Honorable Laura Fornash
Secretary of Education
Commonwealth of Virginia
Richmond, VA

Legislative Committee will monitor the hearing and will report back accordingly.

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Trucking adds 5,000 jobs in January

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Source: http://www.ccjdigital.com/trucking-adds-5000-jobs-in-january/

For-hire trucking companies added 5,000 payroll jobs in January on a seasonally adjusted basis as the overall economy added 157,000 nonfarm jobs, according to the latest estimates released Feb. 1 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The national unemployment rate ticked up slightly to 7.9 percent.

Payroll employment in trucking in January totaled 1.375 million jobs — up 0.36 percent from December and 47,400 jobs, or 3.6 percent, from January 2012. The total number of seasonally adjusted payroll jobs is higher than previously reported because BLS has adjusted figures going back at least five years. Trucking employment is up by 141,100 jobs, or 11.4 percent, from the bottom in March 2010, but it remains 78,300 jobs, or 5.4 percent, below the January 2007 peak.

The BLS numbers for trucking reflect all payroll employment in for-hire trucking, but they don’t include trucking-related jobs in other industries, such as a truck driver for a private fleet. Nor do the numbers reflect the total amount of hiring since they only reflect the number of employees paid during a specified payroll period during the month. Due to high turnover rates, the BLS estimates may overstate the number of job positions due to the methodology used in the agency’s Current Employment Survey.

Source: http://www.ccjdigital.com/trucking-adds-5000-jobs-in-january/

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Dept. of Labor has Issued a Prediction Favorable to the Truck Driving Career

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Consistent with the USA Today article, the U.S. Department of Labor has issued a prediction which is very favorable to the truck driving career. The current Occupational Outlook Handbook contains the following quote which can be shared with prospective students:

Employment of heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers is projected to grow 21 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average of all occupations.

As the economy grows, the demand for goods will increase, and more truck drivers will be needed to keep supply chains moving. Trucks transport most of the freight in the United States, so as households and businesses increase their spending, the trucking industry will grow.

CITATION: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Heavy and Tractor-trailer Truck Drivers, on the Internet at bls.gov/ooh/transportation-and-material-moving/heavy-and-tractor-trailer-truck-drivers.htm

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FHWA Webinar on Registration Data Collection

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The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has been systematically collecting state motor vehicle registration data through its 500-series data reporting (Form FHWA-561) since the early 1940s to facilitate the Federal-aid Highway Program. Periodically, the FHWA conducts data reassessment activities with the goal of increasing data reliability and reducing data reporting burden while maintaining historical continuity and meeting new program and initiative needs.

Currently, the FHWA is examining state motor vehicle data covering all data items. The existing FHWA-561 form requires states to fill out over 200 data items. Our preliminary assessment indicates that these can be replaced by approximately 90 percent fewer items. However, before any actual implementation of such changes, the FHWA would like to learn the feasibility of the new proposed data items and form.
 
The FHWA will host a webinar to present the preliminary proposal, obtain feedback, and discuss potential issues on March 5, 2013 from 3:30-4:30PM EST. View the webinar here. Phone: 1- 877-848-7030 Passcode: 6217068

A draft version of the proposed FHWA-561 is available for review at the link above. For further information please contact Brad Gudzinas at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at 202-366-5024.