legislation

$1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act boosts help for innovation

The American Rescue Plan Act, a $1.9 trillion spending package to address the ongoing health and economic impacts of COVID-19, was signed into law today. The legislation includes several initiatives that could strengthen regional innovation economies. Most notable among these is the $10 billion State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI), $3 billion for the Economic Development Administration (EDA), and $350 billion for state and local government relief.

SSBCI Reauthorization

U.S. House passes apprenticeship bill

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives again passed the National Apprenticeships Act, which is intended to increase the diversity of occupations and people covered by approved apprenticeship programs. Apprenticeships receive substantial attention for their track record of strong economic impacts when measured at the state level, and the bill also hopes to improve the ability to track impacts across the country.

Congress reveals COVID bill with $10 billion SSBCI

The U.S. House of Representatives is working through the coronavirus relief package in committee markups this week, and there are several provisions that could have a significant impact for regional innovation economies. The highest-profile of these is $10 billion for a new State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) program. Reauthorizing this program has been a top priority for SSTI's Innovation Advocacy Council, as SSBCI was one of the federal government’s only sources of funding for equity investments in the past two decades.

Bipartisan legislation would provide $110 billion for R&D, regional innovation

A bipartisan, bicameral group of legislators have introduced bills that would make a five-year commitment to increase America’s investment in R&D by $100 billion, while also investing $10 bi

Congress passes $2 trillion emergency aid package

The third package of emergency assistance related to COVID-19 is currently making its way through Congress, having passed the Senate last night and being expected to pass the House tomorrow. The legislation includes additional emergency loans and tax credits for retaining employees, as well as near-term aid for individuals, small businesses, and some of the most affected industries. While relatively little assistance is directly relevant to science- and innovation-related business development, many broader small business provisions can still be of assistance to these companies.

Defense bill extends Regional Innovation Strategies, Manufacturing USA

This year’s national defense authorization act (NDAA) includes extensions of the Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) program and Manufacturing USA. The House and Senate have passed the FY 2020 legislation, which authorizes up to $738 billion in appropriations and sets policy for a wide range of defense-related activities. The NDAA is one of the few bills that passes Congress each year.

Virginia’s proposed legislation for innovation gathering steam

While Virginia has worked over the past 30 years to build their innovation economy, this past year it changed up the game. SSTI recently talked with Robby Demeria, Virginia’s deputy secretary of commerce and trade for technology, about the planning underway in Virginia and how the commonwealth is proceeding with a new initiative to grow their economy.

Senate approved revamped Regional Innovation Strategies as part of defense bill

Thanks to leadership by Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.), the Senate approved a revamped authorization of the Regional Innovation Strategies program (RIS) as part of its National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2020 (NDAA). The bill would extend the program’s funding authority to $50 million per year through FY 2024.

Startup Act reintroduced, would expand federal innovation support

Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.), co-signed by Senators Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), re-introduced the Startup Act today. The bill would enact an array of innovation policies, including reauthorizing Regional Innovation Strategies, creating a new commercialization grant program, and implementing a startup visa. SSTI has endorsed the bill and hopes to see the legislation passed by the 116th Congress.

No budget, but lame duck Congress passes innovation bills

While Congress was unable to pass a budget before funding ran out, legislators did advance multiple innovation-related proposals. Here is a quick summary of what the lame duck session did (and did not do) for tech-based economic development.

New legislative activity during the lame duck session:

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