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The Trump administration is about to kill a rule that helps foreign entrepreneurs in the U.S.

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

Late last week the Trump administration took another step toward rescinding the International Entrepreneur Rule when the Department of Homeland Security formally issued their notice to kill the rule ahead of comments from the public.

The rule, which was proposed under President Barack Obama and did not require congressional approval, was implemented in December after being delayed by the current administration. It aims to encourage foreign entrepreneurship in the United States by allowing qualified entrepreneurs temporary “parole” in the United States — on a case-by-case basis — so that they can build their businesses. It’s estimated that 3,000 entrepreneurs could take advantage of this rule annually. Read More…

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Another side effect of higher minimum wages: Lower health-care benefits

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

Although the national minimum wage remains stuck at $7.25 an hour, a wave of states and municipalities have taken it upon themselves over the past few years to raise the amount, in some cases to as much as $15 an hour. Advocates believe that paying a higher wage provides a better quality of life to workers and helps to spur consumer spending.

But many business groups that oppose it say a higher minimum wage limits their ability to hire more people and forces them to cut back on workers’ hours, hire part-timers, outsource or invest in more technology. A controversial study conducted in 2017 appeared to bolster that position when researchers at the University of Washington found that the costs of a minimum-wage increase in Seattle — the result of employer cutbacks in workers’ hours — outweighed the benefits of the increase by 3 to 1.

Now a new study further supports the anti-minimum-wagers. Read More…

It’s getting harder to buy a puppy in the U.K.

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

If you run a pet shop in the United States you should be keeping an eye on what’s going on across the pond in Britain. Pet stores and other third-party sellers there are finding it harder to sell puppies, and the trend is growing here as well.

According to a recent BBC report, more than 143,000 people in the United Kingdom signed a petition that supports “Lucy’s Law,” a proposed legislation that bans the sale of puppies by businesses. The effort is being led by a woman who said her own dog, Lucy, suffered years of abuse at a puppy farm. The issue was debated this week in Parliament.

In the U.K. an estimated 80,000 dogs are sold annually as part of the country’s legalized puppy trade, which includes pet stores, farms and people’s homes. Unfortunately, the industry has created a growing number of “sick, traumatized and dysfunctional” dogs, according to the petition, particularly due to premature removal from their mothers. Read More…

More than half of law firms say their partners aren’t busy enough

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

So how’s the law business? Not as great as you might think.

That’s one of the takeaways from a survey released this week by law services firm Altman Weil. The survey was conducted in March and April of this year and was made up of responses from about half of the managing partners and chairs at 801 U.S. law firms with more than 50 lawyers. One thing’s for sure: running a legal business has its challenges, even in a good economy.

Almost half of the firms reporting did say that their revenue per lawyer was up in each of the past three years. But an almost equal number reported ups and downs. One of ten law firms said revenue per partner dropped or was flat during this period. More concerning for managing partners is that 49 percent of their firms failed to meet their annual billable hour targets last year and a majority admitted that their equity (51 percent) and non-equity (59 percent) partners are underutilized. Read More…

Drugs in the workplace are at their highest levels in a decade

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

new study by research and diagnostic testing firm Quest Diagnostics has revealed a disturbing trend: More employees are testing positive for drugs in their system.

But first, the good news: The rate in 2017 of drug positivity results — where Quest looked at more than ten million lab tests — was mostly the same as a similar study the company conducted in 2016.  Also, prescription opiate positivity rates declined “dramatically” on a national basis.

Unfortunately, the good news stops there. That’s because the study showed a dramatic increase of other drugs found in the blood and urine of subjects and this led to an overall positivity rate of 4.2 percent of employees, which is the highest since the 3.6 percent rate recorded in 2008.  The top rate ever recorded was 13.6 percent in 1988, the first year of the study. The lowest rate ever recorded by the study was 3.5 percent in 2012. Read More…

A huge European security regulation that affects many U.S. companies takes effect this week

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, goes into effect on May 25. Is your company ready?

The objective of the regulation, which passed in 2016, is to simplify and consolidate rules that companies need to follow to protect their data and to return control to E.U. citizens and residents over their personal information. Read More…

The SBA restores its website content aimed at LGBT business owners

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

Back in the first days after President Trump’s inauguration, the Small Business Administration took down resources targeted at LGBT business owners from its website, stating that those pages – along with many others – were “under review.”

The move understandably upset the LGBT community and as recently as last week no action had been taken to restore the information – so much so that a few members of Congress raised the issue.

“This is deeply troubling and renews our concern that this page’s removal may have been politically or ideologically motivated, rather than simply administrative,” Reps. Nydia M. Velazquez and Yvette D. Clarke, both New York Democrats, wrote in a letter to the SBA’s administrator Linda McMahon. The authors, according to this report on NBC News pointed out the value of the “nearly $2 trillion in economic contributions” made by the 1.4 million LGBT-owned businesses across the nation. Read More…