In advance of today’s expected U.S. Senate discharge petition to reverse the Federal Communications Commission’s repeal of net neutrality protections, businesses and business groups released statements supporting net neutrality and the action by Senators Markey and Schumer.
The American Sustainable Business Council, Engine, Main Street Alliance, Small Business Majority, Etsy, and others are releasing a co-sponsored business sign-on statement that has collected nearly 6,000 signatures of support of the Senate action to restore net neutrality. Additionally, ASBC, MSA, SBM are releasing a separate letter in support of net neutrality signed by nearly 250 member businesses.
Scientific polling commissioned by Small Business Majority found that 56% of small business owners oppose the FCC’s 2017 repeal of its 2015 Open Internet Order that established net neutrality protections.
American Sustainable Business Council’s President and Co-founder David Levine said, “Only the very few companies that sell internet access stand to benefit from the repeal of net neutrality. The rest of businesses are at risk. We know that unencumbered connectivity is a key engine of business productivity, innovation, and growth. We heartily endorse Senate action to preserve the principle of net neutrality, a key foundation of free enterprise in the United States.”
John Arensmeyer, Small Business Majority Founder & CEO said, “Entrepreneurs depend on an open and fast internet to process orders and market products, so it’s no surprise the majority of small business owners oppose the end of net neutrality. In the absence of net neutrality, small businesses will find it hard to compete with corporations that have the resources to ensure their websites are prioritized by internet service providers.”
Amanda Ballantyne, National Director of Main Street Alliance said, “The internet is vital to doing business in this day and age, and small businesses and entrepreneurs rely on a fair, open Internet to start businesses and reach a broader base of customers. Without net neutrality regulations, there’s nothing to stop big businesses like Verizon from charging Main Street exorbitant fees to do business online. In short, while only a few companies sell access to the Internet, nearly every business has to buy it – including those of Main Street Alliance. Eliminating the 2015 Open Internet protections would be a disaster for small businesses and consumers alike.”
Evan Engstrom, Executive Director of Engine said,”The open internet allows anyone with a great idea to cheaply and easily launch a business and reach a worldwide audience. If the FCC is allowed to proceed with its efforts to rescind net neutrality rules, the internet will become skewed towards large incumbents, making it much more difficult for the next generation of innovators to build companies and grow the economy.”
“As the owner of a cloud-based bookkeeping and tax prep firm, I depend on high quality, fast internet for the success of my business,” said Elizabeth James, owner of Rincon Controller and Tax Services in Carpinteria, Calif. and a member of Small Business Majority’s network. “My clients do as well. Dismantling net neutrality would be a blow to small businesses that already struggle to compete with larger corporations, and it could threaten free trade as well as America’s place as a worldwide leader in entrepreneurship.”
“Net neutrality is an important policy for ensuring a level playing field for the thousands of small businesses that build software on GitHub,” said Tal Niv, VP of Law & Policy for CA-based GitHub, a member of Engine.
“As the CEO of an online services company, I see the looming threats up close. ISPs have long wanted to charge extra fees and create pay-to-play fast lanes, but the FCC has always stopped them. Now our business and non-profit clients could face the prospect of having to pay ISPs just so their sites load properly. In the worst case, they might get stuck in a “slow lane” for lack of funds for the fast lane,” said Mac Clemmens, CEO of Digital Deployment, a CA-based web development company, and member of the American Sustainable Business Council.
The small business sign-on statement with nearly 6,000 signatures calls for Congress to reverse the FCC decision in December 2017 to repeal its own 2015 rule, which codified net neutrality protections. That statement and the list of signers may be found here: https://www.businessesfornetneutrality.com.
In addition, ASBC, MSA and SBM co-sponsored a separate business sign-on statement that calls on congress to restore net neutrality protections through any possible means. It says, in part, “Removing the 2015 standards undermines our free market economy by handing internet access providers immense power to steer businesses and customers one way or another.” That statement may be found here: netneutrality.asbcouncil.org.
The American Sustainable Business Council advocates for policy change and informs business owners and the public about the need and opportunities for building a vibrant, sustainable economy. Through its national member network it represents more than 250,000 businesses in a wide range of industries. www.asbcouncil.org
Engine supports the growth of technology entrepreneurship through economic research, policy analysis, and advocacy on local and national issues. Founded in 2011 to harness the political power of the startup and tech communities, Engine is a policy, advocacy, and research organization supporting startups as an engine for economic growth. Learn more at engine.is.
The Main Street Alliance works to provide small businesses a voice on the most pressing public policy issues across the nation. Our advocacy promotes vibrant businesses and healthy communities, and fosters leadership development of socially responsible business leaders. The Main Street Alliance national network formed in 2008 to give Main Street small business owners a new voice in the health care reform debate, and has since broadened its focus to work on a range of issues that matter to small businesses and local economies. Our growing network includes small business coalitions in over a dozen states. Alliance small business owners share a vision of public policies that work for business owners, our employees, and the communities we serve. www.mainstreetalliance.org
Small Business Majority was founded and is run by small business owners to ensure America’s entrepreneurs are a key part of an inclusive, equitable and diverse economy. We actively engage our network of more than 55,000 small business owners in support of public policy solutions and deliver information and resources to entrepreneurs that promote small business growth. Our extensive scientific polling, focus groups and economic research help us educate and inform policymakers, the media and other stakeholders about key issues impacting small businesses and freelancers. Learn more about us on our website and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
FDA Halts Food Inspections During Shut Down Creating Deadly Scenario
After a year plagued by deadly E. coli outbreaks linked to widely distributed romaine lettuce, 2019 is off to an anxiety-inducing start.
Gottlieb said that the agency, which oversees about 80 percent of the food supply, is continuing to surveil foreign manufacturers and imported food, as well as any domestic producers involved in a current recall or outbreak.
But the agency is skipping the 160-or-so routine food inspections it usually performs each week.
In those evaluations, FDA inspectors assess manufacturing practices at food-processing facilities, as well as check for unsanitary conditions, such as infestations, and contamination issues.
About a third of those 160 weekly inspections involve facilities that the agency considers “high risk,” Gottlieb added. High-risk facilities are those that either handle foods particularly vulnerable to safety issues, such as soft cheeses and seafood, or facilities that have a track record of food safety problems.
“We are doing what we can to mitigate any risk to consumers through the shutdown,” Gottlieb told the paper. He’s now working on a plan to call back 150 inspectors to focus on the high-risk facilities. While those workers still wouldn’t be paid until after the shutdown ends, Gottlieb said he was setting up an agency travel account to help those inspectors keep large balances off their personal credit cards.
Still, Sarah Sorscher, deputy director of regulatory affairs at nonprofit advocacy group The Center for Science in the Public Interest, called the missed inspections unacceptable. “That puts our food supply at risk,” Sorscher said. “Regular inspections, which help stop foodborne illness before people get sick, are vital.”
Each year, an estimated 48 million people are sickened by foodborne illnesses in the US, leading to 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Meat, poultry, and egg facilities not inspected by the FDA are overseen by the US Department of Agriculture, which has maintained inspections during the shutdown.
Get a Degree In Marijuana Studies
As marijuana becomes legal in more and more states, college and universities across America are figuring out ways to help prepare people for the blossoming cannabis industry. And now one school in New Jersey will finally let you study weed.
Stockton College in New Jersey recently launched a new cannabis studies minor. It is the first program of its kind in New Jersey, and one of the few colleges in the United States offering actual studies on marijuana. The program is a mix of learning the science behind growing and cultivating marijuana as well as examining the changing legal landscape of the drug. Around 30 students are currently enrolled in the minor.
Because of climate and security concerns, as well as consistency, the state’s licensed medical facilities grow their crops indoors under artificial light. Every variable can have an impact on the final product — from the intensity of light to the soil to the humidity and temperature and more.
It’s no surprise that New Jersey would be one of the first states to jump on this trend. Last year the state elected Democrat Phil Murphy, a pro-marijuana legalization candidate, as governor, and multiple state legislators say that a vote on recreational cannabis is coming in the very near future.
The university hopes the new minor will help prepare students to enter the cannabis industry which will hopefully become legal in the state in the near future.
“All of our graduates are going to be qualified to be analysts in a lab setting,” Brandon Canfield, the associate professor of analytical chemistry who started the program, tells CNBC Make It. That could lead to a position that pays $70,000 right out of school, he adds.
There are a couple specific tracks offered within the major. One has a bio-analytical focus. Those students could go on to graduate programs, says Canfield, and they will be strong job candidates because they will have completed an independent study.
The other track is for aspiring entrepreneurs. For those students, it’s not clear what the future might hold. To offer an example of what they could do, Canfield suggests they might open a growing operation with a lab in-house.
Study has been limited in the United States, where marijuana remains listed as a Schedule I drug, the designation for the most dangerous controlled substances.
Some people are arguing that the minor will encourage students to use marijuana. But if it’s an industry that’s going to be create a lot of jobs in the near future, why wouldn’t you want people prepared to get those positions?
Cannabis Stocks High On Sessions’ Removal
Cannabis stocks made major gains after Sessions’ resignation. Canopy Growth and Aurora Cannabis stocks both rose by eight percent, ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF increased six percent and the most impressive gain was by Tilray that went up a substantial 30 percent within the first day.
Obviously, Sessions resigning as Attorney General was a major factor, considering his desire to crack down on the legal cannabis industry. But obviously the success of the recreational ballot initiative in Michigan and the medical marijuana initiatives in Missouri and Utah also contributed to these stock increases. And Democrats took control of the House of Representatives, another move expected to yield positive results for the cannabis industry.
Of course, it’s sort of weird that all of these companies saw their stocks increased because even though they are traded on the U.S. stock exchange, they’re all Canadian-based companies. So presumably, these latest developments won’t really increase their own bottom-lines or profits unless they decide to begin U.S. based operations.
Aurora Cannabis (ACB) said this week it had grabbed nearly a third of online recreational sales in Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, offering an early look at which big pot producers are emerging as leaders in a nascent business still marred by shortages.
But as Canada’s stores try to keep their shelves stocked amid a wave of recreational demand, Aurora warned the shortages would likely continue. Management said that even as they try to crank production higher, there wasn’t much they could to immediately address the thinly-stocked shelves at dispensaries.