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Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Council Final Rule: Sustainable Procurement

On April 22, the Department of Defense, General Services Administration, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration published a Final Rule amending the FAR and updating regulations to align with current environmental and sustainability priorities. This rule will require agencies to procure sustainable products and services to the maximum extent practicable. The Final Rule is available here and will be effective May 22, 2024. The Introduction, Small Entity Compliance Guide, and Technical Amendments are available herehere, and here

Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Inspector General (OIG) Report: SBA’s Implementation of the SBIR and STTR Extension Act of 2022

On April 19, SBA’s OIG released a report of its audit relating to small business verification of sales and investments. The OIG found limited assurance of small business verified sales and investments. The OIG further found that small businesses in the SBIR and STTR programs with Phase II awards did not always provide sufficient supporting documentation for all covered sales. SBA officials noted small businesses had a short timeframe to submit covered sales information which may have contributed to the lack of sufficient supporting documentation. The full report is available here.

Small Business Administration (SBA) Press Release: SBA Statement on Biden-Harris Administration Exceeding Small Disadvantaged Business (SDB) Contracting Goal
On April 12, Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman released a statement applauding President Biden’s announcement that for the second consecutive year, the federal government exceeded its annual goal for federal contracting dollars awarded to SDBs. Contracting goals were set at 12% for Fiscal Year (FY) 2023, and SDBs received 12.1% of federal contracts totaling a record $76.2 billion in FY2023 – surpassing the record set by the Biden-Harris Administration last year of $69.9 billion and marking the third straight year of record-breaking awards to SDBs. Read more here.

Department of Defense (DOD) Memorandum: Class Deviation – Special Acquisition Authority for Rapid Contracting for Combatant Commanders

On April 15, DOD issued a memorandum, effective immediately, allowing contracting officers to use temporary special acquisition authorities, per section 843 of the National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2024, for covered contracts issued in a rapid contracting response to covered operations. The full memorandum is available here.

Department of Defense (DOD) Memorandum: Small Business Participation on Multiple-Award Contracts

On April 19, DOD issued a memorandum emphasizing actions to boost small business participation on multiple-award contracts while agencies develop regulations to amend and address the actions to promote small business participation in the same. Read more here.

Department of Defense (DOD) Press Release: DOD Announces Next Round of Projects to Receive Funding from Pilot Program to Accelerate the Procurement and Fielding of Innovative Technologies (APFIT)

The Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (OUSD(R&E)) announced the next round of projects to receive funding via the pilot program to APFIT. This is the second tranche of projects to be selected during Fiscal Year (FY) 2024, and the first tranche awarded after DOD received a full appropriation for FY2024. Read more here.

Small Business Administration (SBA) Press Release: SBA Announces National Small Business Week Virtual Summit Schedule

On April 18, SBA and SCORE announced the schedule for the 2024 National Small Business Week Virtual Summit. The two-day online event will take place from April 30 to May 1. Attendance is free, but registration is required. To register, visit National Small Business Week Virtual Summit. Read more here.

Department of Justice (DOJ) Press Release: Justice Department to Publish Final Rule to Strengthen Web and Mobile App Access for People with Disabilities

On April 8, DOJ announced that it will publish a Final Rule under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to require accessibility of web content and mobile applications for people with disabilities. “This final rule marks the Justice Department’s latest effort to ensure that no person is denied access to government services, programs, or activities because of a disability,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. Read more here.

Upcoming Government Contracts Presentations

PM WEBINAR: Preparing for Major Changes to DOT’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program Effective May 9, 2024, Jackie UngerPeter Ford, May 8, 2024. Read more here.



Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Final Rule & Guidance: Implementation of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

On April 19, EEOC published a Final Rule and Guidance implementing the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which requires a covered entity to provide reasonable accommodations to a qualified employee’s or applicant’s known limitations related to, affected by, or arising out of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, unless the accommodation will cause an undue hardship on the operation of the business of the covered entity. The Final Rule and Guidance is available here and will be effective June 18, 2024.

Executive Office of the President Executive Order (EO) 14122: COVID-19 and Public Health; Preparedness and Response Efforts

On April 17, the Executive Office published an EO revoking EO 13910, Preventing Hoarding of Health and Medical Resources to Respond to the Spread of COVID-19; EO 13991, Protecting the Federal Workforce and Requiring Mask-Wearing; and EO 13998, Promoting COVID-19 Safety in Domestic and International Travel. The EO is available here

Biden Rescinds COVID-era Executive Orders, Folding Safer Federal Workforce Task Force, Government Executive

The Office of Personnel Management issued new guidance last week rescinding some forms of COVID-19-related administrative leave but preserving four hours of paid leave for federal employees to get vaccine booster shots. Read more here.

Feds Can Still Take Administrative Leave to Get COVID-19 Booster Shots, Federal News Network

The Safer Federal Workforce Task Force is sunsetting, but federal employees can still take four hours of paid administrative leave to get COVID-19 boosters. The Biden administration has now ended many of the policies that previously dictated agencies’ health and safety responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. But for federal employees, the administration is still offering some on-the-job flexibility for the foreseeable future. Read more here.

H.R.7887, ACCESS Act, Introduced in House

On April 9, Rep. Mace (R-SC) introduced Allowing Contractors to Choose Employees for Select Skills Act (ACCESS Act), which was referred to the Committee on Oversight and Accountability. The Bill prohibits minimum experience or educational requirements for proposed contractor personnel in certain contract solicitations. Read more here.

NY Becomes First State in US to Mandate Paid Prenatal Leave, Law360

With its budget passage Saturday, New York became the first state in the U.S. to implement paid leave for pregnant employees to attend doctor’s appointments, expanding its paid family leave law to create a new bank of up to 20 hours for this purpose. Read more here (subscription required).



Building Groups Say They Can Fight Prevailing Wage Rule, Law360

Several construction trade groups told a Texas federal judge that they don’t need to point to specific members to support their argument that a U.S. Department of Labor final rule regulating prevailing wages will hurt them, urging the court to keep alive their suit challenging the rule. Read more here (subscription required).



Corp. Transparency Act a Valid Use of Powers, 11th Circ. Told, Law360

The U.S. Department of Treasury told the Eleventh Circuit that a federal district court erred in finding the Corporate Transparency Act unconstitutional, saying the lower court misunderstood the law’s scope and relation to efforts to curb financial crime. Read more here (subscription required).

FTC to Unveil, Vote on Final Noncompetes Ban April 23, Law360

The Federal Trade Commission gave a one-week heads up Tuesday of its impending unveiling of — and vote on — the final version of a rule that would ban essentially all noncompete agreements employers impose on their workers. Read more here (subscription required). 

Congress Can Enact Corp. Transparency, Orgs Tell 11th Circ., Law360

Congress is empowered to require American companies to report their beneficial owners to the federal government because there is ample evidence they’ve previously been used to fund hostile foreign actors, evade sanctions and traffic drugs, two think tanks told the Eleventh Circuit in an amici brief. Read more here (subscription required). 

Chamber Planning Prompt Challenge of FTC Noncompete Ban, Law360

U.S. Chamber of Commerce officials vowed Monday to immediately challenge an impending Federal Trade Commission rule that would ban essentially all noncompete agreements that employers impose on their workers, raising concerns focused principally on opening a “Pandora’s box” of rulemaking they say is beyond FTC authority. Read more here (subscription required). 



The Supreme Court Just Complicated Employer DEI Programs, Bloomberg News

The US Supreme Court’s ruling that a St. Louis police sergeant can sue over a job transfer she claims was discriminatory was championed by human rights groups as “an enormous win for workers.” Rights groups say the court made it easier to sue employers. Lawyers warn the ruling may also threaten diversity programs. Read more here (subscription required).

Justices to Mull Atty Fees for Preliminary Injunctions, Law360

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear a case that could determine whether litigants can receive attorney fees for “prevailing” in a case by winning a preliminary injunction, despite never securing a final judgment. Read more here (subscription required).



Government Accountability Office (GAO) Report: Cybersecurity, Implementation of Executive Order (EO) Requirements is Essential to Address Key Actions
On April 18, GAO released a report reviewing the implementation of EO 14028, Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity. The order contains requirements for federal agencies to improve their ability to identify, protect against, and respond to malicious cyber threats. This report examines the extent (1) agencies have implemented EO 14028 leadership and oversight-related requirements and (2) the order addressed federal cybersecurity challenges. GAO recommends additional documentation of steps taken by the agencies to comply with the EO. Read more here.

AI Procurement Guidance Coming to US Agencies This Month, Bloomberg Government

The US government’s primary procurement arm will add generative artificial intelligence guidance for agencies’ purchases, General Services Administration Chief AI Officer Zach Whitman said Thursday. Read more here (subscription required).

National data privacy standard would preempt state efforts, Route Fifty

A bill in Congress would supersede more than a dozen state laws. While most support a national standard, some state leaders and experts worry the legislation’s preemption provisions are too prescriptive. Read more here.



Government Accountability Office (GAO) Press Release: GAO Seeks New Members for Tribal and Indigenous Advisory Council
GAO is seeking nominations for five positions on its Tribal and Indigenous Advisory Council. The Council was formed in 2022 to provide insights and recommendations and help guide GAO’s future work on critical issues affecting Tribal Nations and their citizens. Read more here.