Know the Facts, Be Heard in the Midst of a Challenging Environment
We started out the month of November with a bang, hosting our Washington, D.C. Fly-In. With more than 50 advocacy visits made by more than 30 CompTIA members and partners, we certainly delivered to Capitol Hill an important message – that the interests of small and medium sized IT firms must be addressed.
As we near the end of November, however, the interests of small IT businesses should be seen within a broader context. The "Super Committee" charged with reaching agreement on deficit reduction has failed, thus triggering $1.2 trillion in budget cuts beginning in FY2013. In such a challenging environment, it will take all of us to keep pressing the interests of the tech SMB.
If the Fly-In showed us anything, it is that educating lawmakers is imperative. Read more.
Cybersecurity Is on the Move Again
For those who have been following the roller coaster ride of whether comprehensive cybersecurity reform will be accomplished this legislative session, there have been some interesting developments. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid sent a letter informing Minority Leader Mitch McConnell that cybersecurity legislation will be introduced after the December recess. Read more.
Open Internet Fight Continues
Congressman Greg Walden, chairman of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, unveiled legislation with the purpose of improving process and transparency at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). This move was significant because the FCC is an independent agency that has been that has been at odds over what has turned into a partisan issue: net neutrality. Read more.
Senate Votes 3% Withholding Repeal; Veteran Tax Credit Attached
The Senate has voted to repeal the 3% withholding on government contracts by a margin of 95-0. The bill must now return to the House for a vote, as three amendments were added in the Senate. One of the amendments would provide a tax credit of up to $5,600 for a business that hires an unemployed veteran ($9,600 for veterans with service-related disabilities). Read more.
Sales Tax Legislation: Huge Compliance Burdens
The Enzi-Alexander bill introduced in the Senate exempts certain small businesses from the requirement to collect and remit foreign state sales taxes, but the small business limitation is inadequate. Read more.
Crowdfunding Legislation in Senate
Legislation passed by the House and now under consideration by the Senate would amend securities laws to allow businesses to raise as much as $1 million ($2 million if audited financial statements are provided) per year through small individual investments. Individuals would be allowed to invest as much as $10,000 per year (or 10 percent of annual income if less than $10K). Read more.
INNOVATION AND COMPETITIVENESS
Skills for America’s Future: Connecting Community Colleges to Tackle the IT Talent Gap
While the “skills gap” is undoubtedly felt by many of our country’s employers, small and medium-sized businesses in the technology industry are especially scrambling to fill open positions. In response to the persistent talent mismatch in our country’s workforce, an employer-led effort called Skills for America’s Future (SAF) launched last year as an innovative, public-private solution to worker training in our country. Housed at the Aspen Institute, SAF works to connect businesses with community colleges, helping establish partnerships that offer employers a crop of trained workers to fill their talent needs. Read more.
Reach Out to RECs for Business Opportunities
According to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), more than 100,000 primary care providers have adopted electronic health records through their local Regional Extension Center (REC). Thirty-eight percent of these providers are from small practices. There are currently 62 RECs throughout the country and have received $677 million of funding from the HHS. Read more.
Making a Difference for the IT Industry on Capitol Hill
Our D.C. Fly-In this month gave members the opportunity to see how Washington works first hand, learning more about CompTIA policy priorities and how they relate to their business, and then took their questions and concerns to the Capitol Hill offices of senators and representatives from around the country. Participants, like CompTIA Board Member Linda Lynch, appreciated the opportunity to make a difference on Capitol Hill. Many participants in attendance came away from the experience with a new-found appreciation for what it takes to impact public policy. One CompTIA member, Raj Khera, was on target when he wrote of his D.C. Fly-In experience, “It made me feel that I was working toward solutions rather than complaining about the problems.” Read more.
COMPTIA EVENTS & ACTIVITIES
Healthcare Practices Embrace Mobile Technologies
More medical practices increasingly are embracing mobile technologies, according to our new study, Third Annual Healthcare IT Insights and Opportunities. As mobile devices and applications have become more user-friendly, affordable and powerful, the appeal to businesses of all types, including healthcare providers, has grown exponentially. One-quarter of healthcare providers surveyed report currently using tablets within their practice. Another 21 percent expect to do so within 12 months. How can you best support their move to mobility? Read more.
Creating IT Futures Foundation Aims to Get Workers “IT-Ready"
The new IT-Ready Apprentice Program from the Creating IT Futures Foundation will train unemployed workers and place them in six-month-long apprenticeships. It will cover the costs of recruiting, training and certifying workers to provide help desk, call center and technical customer support. Companies in one or more of the five pilot locations (Cincinnati, Houston, Kansas City, Minneapolis / St. Paul, and San Antonio) that would like to participate in the program should contact the Creating IT Futures Foundation to sign up or learn more.
To read previous issues of Policy Watch, click here.
REGULATIONS IN THE NEWS
|CONTRACTING & GRANT OPPORTUNITIES
The Defense Information Technology Contracting Organization (DITCO) Scott AFB IL requires service desk incident management and customer service operations and remedial and technical support to users of SMC Ogden computer systems.
The Department of Veterans Affairs, Technology Acquisition Center (TAC), needs upgrades, maintenance and support of the clinical assessment, reporting, and tracking system for Cardiac Catheterization Laboratories (CART-CL) system.
The Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) requires software requirements, architectural design, software design and software development services.
The Department of Commerce requires IT support, ranging from network communications services and RIM Blackberry administration to patch management and system documentation.
Key CompTIA Public Policy Contacts
Vice President, Public Advocacy
Tech Entrepreneurs & Health IT
Director, Public Advocacy
Senior Director, Public Advocacy
PAC and Grassroots Advocacy
Matthew L. Evans
Manager, Public Advocacy
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