Introducing the JOE Act

May 22, 2014 | Jared Powell •

Rep. Steve Womack represents the 3rd district of Arkansas. He is the center of this week’s Member Spotlight and just recently introduced the Jumpstarting Occupational-learning and Entrepreneurialism (JOE) Act, described below.

Arkansas job creators have told me repeatedly that the cost of excessive and burdensome regulations coming out of Washington means fewer jobs and reduced salaries back home.    Mandates and red tape are making life more difficult for everyone, from our health providers to individual taxpayers trying to file returns. But the impact of the ever-increasing regulatory burden doesn’t stop there. Now, it’s targeting students who are trying to equip themselves with entrepreneurial skills for their futures.

House of Grounds is a student-run coffee shop in my district that teaches entrepreneurism and management as part of Harrison High School’s Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) program.  Through this program, students at Harrison High School gain practical, real-world experience in a hands-on learning laboratory.


Unfortunately, new USDA regulations that expand nutritional standards to all foods sold in schools could effectively run House of Grounds – and school-based enterprises like it across the country – out of business.

Out-of-touch, over-zealous Washington bureaucrats are tightening their grip on the American people without considering the consequences – consequences that, this time, impact the kids running House of Grounds.

I believe we should encourage our students’ entrepreneurial spirit and provide flexibility for them to access innovative educational opportunities, and that’s why I vowed to get help the students at House of Grounds.

Yesterday, I followed through on that promise, when I introduced the Jumpstarting Occupational-learning and Entrepreneurialism (JOE) Act.  The JOE Act exempts school-based enterprises – like House of Grounds – from these new school-nutrition mandates, which significantly limit hours of operation and types of food and beverage they can sell.  An exemption ensures that schools across the country can continue to give their students opportunities to develop skills that will prepare them to become Arkansas’s – and America’s – entrepreneurs of tomorrow.

You can read more about the JOE Act on my website.

– Rep. Steve Womack (R-AR)

Facebook: /RepSteveWomack
Twitter: @rep_stevewomack
Flickr: /congressmanwomack