|december 11, 2017|
Public Policy Matters
Tax Reform Bill Heads to ConferenceBy Lewis-Burke Associates, LLC
In the early hours of December 2, the Senate passed their version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1) along a party-line vote of 51-49. Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) joined Senate Democrats in voting against the measure. Selected members of the conference committee will have to iron out significant differences between the House and Senate packages that have passed the respective legislative bodies. These include differences over the permanence of individual tax cuts, the number of tax brackets, the treatment of "pass-through" income, the maintenance of the estate tax, and the repeal of the Affordable Care Act individual mandate penalty (present in the Senate version but absent in the House version), among other differences. The Senate bill has consistently been more favorable for students.
Conferees will now look to craft a package that can pass both chambers, meaning provisions from both the House and Senate versions are in play. Institutions and associations have been active in ensuring that provisions such as the tax on tuition waivers were not included in the Senate version, and will want to continue these advocacy efforts. The provision that would be of most concern to HFES is the repeal of Section 117(d) in the House version of the bill, which would affect tuition reduction and waivers for graduate students. HFES will continue to advocate on behalf of its members and will actively engage with the relevant congressional offices and committee staff on this issue. More information on this provision and the difference between the House and Senate bills is provided below.
Education benefits and credits
Where they differ: The House bill proposes the elimination of the Hope Scholarship and Lifetime Learning Credits and would create a modified American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC). The House version would also eliminate Section 117(d) which allows institutions to provide tuition reduction/waivers to employees and their dependents, and under 117(d)(5), to graduate students. This would create a new tax liability for institutions and students. It would also eliminate Section 127, which allows tax-free treatment of employer-provided education assistance.
The Senate version maintains the deduction for student loan interest and does not make changes to student education tax credits. Both bills would expand Section 529 college savings accounts to cover K-12 expenses of up to $10,000 per year. Additionally, the Senate proposal would allow savings to be used for dual enrollment in an institution of higher education. Significantly, the Senate version maintains workforce educational benefits eliminated in the House proposal, including Section 117(d) and Section 127.
Main impacts: The House version would harm part-time students, graduate students, and life-time learners. It would create a new tax on many graduate students, in some cases doubling their tax liability. Students would also lose the ability to deduct student loan interest payments. The Senate version maintains many of the current education benefits, and is significantly preferable to the House version.
Sources and Additional Information
The full text of the bill is available at https://www.congress.gov/115/bills/
Lewis-Burke Associates LLC, a leading Washington, D.C.-based government relations and consulting firm, represents the public policy interests of scientific societies and institutions of higher education. Lewis-Burke's staff of about 20 government relations professionals works to promote the federal research and policy goals of HFES and the HF/E community.
Entries Invited for Product Design AwardBy Adam Shames and Stanley H. Caplan, PDTG Award Committee Cochairs
Win $1,000 and the recognition of your peers! The Product Design Technical Group (PDTG) of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society invites you to submit a nomination for the 2018 Stanley H. Caplan User-Centered Product Design Award. Now in its 17th year, the award emphasizes both product design and the methods used to specify and achieve the design. There is no entry fee for the award, which is open to members and nonmembers of HFES and PDTG. Any human factors professional, product designer, or product team may participate. Please relay this information to potentially interested colleagues.
Consideration will be given to products, software, or systems that are used in the home, in the workplace, or while mobile, including consumer, commercial, and medical products. The product or system being nominated must be operational at the time of submission. The product must be scheduled for commercial use within one year with no substantial changes or not have been on the market for more than three years prior to submission. Past winning products have been high tech and low tech, digital and non-digital and they have come from large and small companies and consulting firms. For more examples and complete details about submitting a product for consideration, visit the PDTG Web site at http://pdtg-hfes.blogspot.com.
The winners will be recognized at an award ceremony on October 2 at the HFES 2018 Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and they will be asked to give a presentation on the product and process used for its development.
Call For Nominations
Nominations should be submitted by April 27, 2018. You may submit a nomination for your own work or the work of others. The winner(s) and any honorable mentions will be judged by a panel of experienced PDTG practitioners in late July. Nomination file(s) should be uploaded to http://go.corehf.com/pdtgaward2018 and placed in a folder you make and label with the name of the product.
Submit Your Papers for the Human Factors Memorial to the Life and Contributions of Joel S. Warm by February 5
Manuscripts for the special issue of Human Factors honoring Joel Warm are due February 5, 2018. Submit your manuscript at http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/humanfactors. The issue will be edited by James Szalma and Peter Hancock, University of Central Florida.
Joel Warm was senior scientist at the U.S. Air Force and professor emeritus at the Department of Psychology, University of Cincinnati. Submissions will be entertained in all of the realms of applied behavioral psychology to which Professor Warm made so many important contributions. Please see the August Bulletin article for more details.
Membership Renewal Tax Benefit
Renewing your HFES membership by December 31 could provide you with some tax advantages. HFES is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and contributions over and above the Regular membership dues amount ($230) qualify as a charitable deduction. (Please consult your financial adviser regarding your individual tax situation.)
You may wish to join the growing number of members who renew as Contributing ($345), Supporting ($460), or Sustaining ($900) Members, and receive a potentially larger tax benefit. Such support is acknowledged on the HFES Web site and at the Annual Meeting. These categories of membership are listed on your online membership renewal form.
To renew, log in to your HFES account and select "Renew My Membership for 2018." To make an additional donation, simply fill in the amount at the bottom of the "2. Select Options" page during renewal.
If you need your login ID, please contact the Member Services Department at 310/394-1811, fax 310/394-2410, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your continued support of HFES.
University of Toronto Students Win 2017 Dieter W. Jahns Practitioner Award
The Foundation for Professional Ergonomics (FPE) congratulates the winners of the 2017 Dieter W. Jahns Student Practitioner Award: Carly Warren, Abeera Ali, David Gafni, Daipayan Guha, Mayan Murray, and Hendrik Ophardt. The award was presented to Carly Warren and David Gafni at the 2017 Board of Certification in Professional Ergonomics (BCPE) reception during the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES) Annual Meeting in Austin. The award included a $200 check for each student and a complimentary Annual Meeting registration, provided by HFES. FPE sponsors this annual award to honor Dieter Jahns, a lifelong advocate of the practice of ergonomics and a leader in ergonomics certification. Dieter’s wife, Karel, made the presentation.
Carly Warren and David Gafni displaying their award with
FPE President, Robert Smillie.
The University of Toronto team is a group of graduate students from various programs with a common interest in ergonomics. The effort began as an assignment for a Knowledge Media Design course on human factors research methods in the Faculty of Information. The project, “User-Centered Design Recommendations for Augmented Reality in Navigated Spinal Procedures,” identified the components and cognitive steps required to carry out a navigated spinal instrumentation (NSI) procedure. The objective was to identify requirements for surgeons carrying out NSI procedures, to inform and direct the future design of a prototype augmented reality (AR) system, including the content to be displayed and the AR interaction techniques. Translation of these functionalities to a more efficient AR environment requires an understanding of the tools, cognitive steps, and physical manipulations that are required to carry out an NSI procedure. The results define the best way to integrate an AR device into the surgical and training workflow while providing useful and relevant information.
Carly Warren stated, “It was an honor to be presented with the Dieter W. Jahns Student Practitioner Award! It provided a great opportunity to meet experts in the field of ergonomics and to attend the HFES Annual Meeting.”
Submissions Invited for K.U. Smith Student Award
The IEA K.U. Smith Student Award was launched in 1997 through an agreement with the St. Paul Foundation, which provides overall management of the Fund. The award provides a tangible means by which the IEA can encourage the development of the discipline, foster scholarship, and recognize worthy achievements. The purpose of the award is to honor a deserving student responsible for an application of or contribution to ergonomics.
Each recipient will be awarded US $3,000. Any student enrolled in an accredited postsecondary institution (college, university, technical, or vocational school) is eligible to apply for the award. All areas of ergonomics are eligible for consideration. Examples of applicable projects include an applied ergonomics project, a human performance study or analysis, a design project or product, a research project undertaken in the laboratory or field, or a theoretical/conceptual contribution to ergonomics. This study endeavor should be documented in a paper submitted to the IEA Congress.
To enter, send an email with the following documents to Pascale Carayon, IEA K. U. Smith Student Award Chair at email@example.com and to firstname.lastname@example.org by February 16, 2018:
A full copy of a paper that the student has authored, documenting an HF/E contribution. If the paper is coauthored, the student should be the first author.
A résumé (4-page limit, including student’s name, address, email address, telephone number, institution, experience, publications, and HF/E accomplishments and contributions).
A letter from the student’s academic adviser on institutional letterhead certifying that (1) the paper was written by the student; (2) the student was primarily responsible for the work described in the paper; (3) the student was enrolled in the academic program when this work was carried out; (4) the period during which the work was carried out; (5) the work described was completed after August 2015, and (6) the paper is being submitted for the IEA student award.
Three awardees will be selected based on a review of the submitted documentation and the nature/quality of HF/E contributions/accomplishments.
Notification of the results will be sent on March 16, 2018.