Public Policy

  • October 21, 2014

    Agency Impasse Leaves NJ Affordable Housing Rules In Flux

    New Jersey's failure to adopt new affordable housing regulations is a win for critics who say the proposal lowballs housing needs, but it also puts the state on a collision course with a court-ordered deadline and may ultimately require legislative reforms, experts said Tuesday.

  • October 21, 2014

    Send EPA Back To GHG Drawing Board, Industry Tells DC Circ.

    States and industry groups opposed to the federal government’s efforts to regulate greenhouse gases on Tuesday asked the D.C. Circuit to interpret a recent Supreme Court ruling as invalidating existing rules and forcing the agency back to the drawing board.

  • October 21, 2014

    Enviros Again Lack Standing In Ethanol Fuel Row: DC Circ.

    The D.C. Circuit on Tuesday rejected a petition from petroleum and engine manufacturing trade groups to review the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's approval of a gasoline blend with 15 percent ethanol, ruling for the second time that the groups lack standing to pursue their claims.

  • October 21, 2014

    NYCLU Strikes 'Historic' Public Defense Deal With NY

    A class action settlement Tuesday between the New York Civil Liberties Union and the state will provide $5.5 million over two years to ensure indigent criminal defendants in five counties are represented by a public defender at arraignment, in what social justice advocates called a “historic” overhaul of New York’s public defense system.

  • October 21, 2014

    10th Circ. Scraps Enviros' Bid To Block Emissions Program

    The Tenth Circuit on Tuesday upheld a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-approved regional cap-and-trade program for sulfur dioxide emissions in three western states, rejecting claims from environmental groups that the government should have nixed the program under the Clean Air Act.

  • October 21, 2014

    IRS Must Screen Agencies Before Sharing Tax Info: Report

    The Internal Revenue Service should ensure that federal taxpayer information that is shared with federal agencies and state and local entities will be protected against unauthorized use and disclosures before it leaves the IRS' hands, according to a report issued Tuesday by a tax watchdog.

  • October 21, 2014

    EU Lawmakers Back Assistant For Privacy Supervisor Spot

    A European parliamentary committee on Tuesday moved the current assistant to the European Data Protection Supervisor a step closer to taking over the top post, recommending him for the position ahead of attorneys from Baker & McKenzie LLP and Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP.

  • October 21, 2014

    Astros, Nats Stadium Plan Gets $108M Boost From Fla. County

    The Palm Beach County Commission on Tuesday agreed to allocate $108 million in bed taxes for a new shared spring training facility for the Houston Astros and the Washington Nationals despite the teams' lack of a site for the proposed $135 million stadium.

  • October 21, 2014

    Michigan Latest State To Block Tesla's Direct Sale Model

    Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder on Tuesday signed into a law a controversial bill making Michigan the latest state to block Tesla Motors Inc. from selling its electric vehicles directly to consumers. 

  • October 21, 2014

    Risk Retention Rule Stokes Concerns Over CFPB's Reach

    A top Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. official on Tuesday said the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau had too much say in the writing of risk retention rules when it was not formally involved in the effort, raising new questions about how much deference banking agencies are paying to the bureau.

  • October 21, 2014

    OIG Finds Flaws In FDA's Cybersecurity Protections

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s website recently contained vulnerabilities that could have let hackers hijack systems and precisely target their attacks, according to a report Tuesday from the Office of Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

  • October 21, 2014

    NRC Chair Macfarlane Says She Will Step Down

    Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairwoman Allison Macfarlane said Tuesday she would step down Jan. 1, just over a year after she was confirmed for a five-year term to lead the agency, to return to academia.

  • October 21, 2014

    Senate Shake-Up Would Breathe New Life Into ACA Battles

    An increasingly likely Republican takeover of the U.S. Senate in next month's midterm elections would almost certainly lead to new showdowns over controversial Affordable Care Act provisions, such as the employer mandate and the medical device tax, as incoming senators try to turn campaign rhetoric into reality.

  • October 21, 2014

    US Boosts Ebola Response With Travel Rules, CDC Guidance

    The U.S. on Tuesday stepped up its response to Ebola in an attempt to stop it from spreading inside the nation’s borders, funneling all passengers from three West African countries to five U.S. airports and expanding Centers for Disease Control guidance for nurses helping infected people.

  • October 21, 2014

    Pa. Porn Scandal Ups Pressure For Judicial Merit Selection

    The pornographic email scandal that has caused the suspension of one Pennsylvania Supreme Court justice, implicated another and illuminated a bitter feud between the chief and the suspended jurist has already renewed calls for a switch to judicial appointments, but experts say the timing months ahead of the next legislative session doesn’t help advocates of change.

  • October 21, 2014

    Gov't Union Challenges New Poultry Inspection Rule

    The American Federation of Government Employees sued the U.S. Department of Agriculture in D.C. district court on Tuesday, alleging that a new rule designed to speed up poultry inspection is unsafe and against the law.

  • October 21, 2014

    Sierra Club Threatens EPA With Suits Over Ozone Standards

    The Sierra Club has threatened to sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over its alleged failure to take action against states that have not submitted air quality standard plans to the agency, according to letters made public Monday.

  • October 21, 2014

    US Dissolves Steel Settlement With Russia, Reviving Duties

    The U.S. Department of Commerce has decided to terminate a 15-year-old agreement that settled a trade case against Russian hot-rolled steel imports in a move that will reinstate significant anti-dumping duties on those products, according to documents released by the agency Monday.

  • October 21, 2014

    EPA IG Refuses GOP Sen.'s Request To Halt Fracking Review

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s inspector general on Tuesday rejected a Republican senator’s request that his office not proceed with a study of the ability of the agency and the states to manage water contamination caused by hydraulic fracturing.

  • October 21, 2014

    SEC's Municipal Securities Director To Leave Next Month

    The first director of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's Office of Municipal Securities, which was established under the Dodd-Frank Act to oversee the municipal securities market, will leave the agency next month to rejoin the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Tax Policy, the SEC said Tuesday.

Expert Analysis

  • The State Of Same-Sex Marriage In Florida

    Brad Gould

    If the Eleventh Circuit overturns the ruling in Brenner v. Scott, then Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage would remain in place — making the Eleventh Circuit the only circuit to uphold such a ban and opening the door to U.S. Supreme Court review, say Brad Gould and Dana Apfelbaum of Dean Mead Minton & Zwemer.

  • A Ban On Ban-The-Box?

    Natasha B. Dorsey

    In a regulatory landscape of ban-the-box laws and increased EEOC scrutiny of criminal history questions during the hiring process, employers in industries such as health care and finance are often put in the position of acting unlawfully because they are required to conduct background checks for certain positions. The Certainty in Enforcement Act could clarify things, but it also leaves the door open for trouble, says Natasha Dorse... (continued)

  • International Standard Could Reshape Cloud Privacy

    Lindsey Tonsager

    Because the International Standards Organization and the International Electrotechnical Commission's new voluntary standard is the first international standard to focus on privacy in the cloud and provides an auditable policy framework for privacy compliance, it could significantly shape cloud services around the globe, says Lindsey Tonsager of Covington & Burling LLP.

  • EPA Emissions Proposal May Spur Greater Enforcement

    Nancy MacKimm

    If finalized, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's proposal to prohibit excess emissions during periods of startup, shutdown or malfunction in state implementation plans under the Clean Air Act could result in additional enforcement actions for violations of emission limitations during periods of malfunction, say attorneys at Jones Day.

  • Brazil's E-Social Program: A New Horizon For Employers

    Walter Abrahao Nimir Junior

    The goal of Brazil's eSocial program is to gradually replace obligations from previous labor and social security withholding forms, thus reducing employers' repetitive and excessive submission of information, say Walter Abrahao Nimir Junior and Marina Alfonso de Souza of De Vivo Whitaker e Castro Advogados.

  • The Uncertain Utility Of A CFPB No-Action Letter

    Eric J. Mogilnicki

    The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's No-Action Letter policy appears to be an uneasy compromise between the desire to assist innovators and a hesitancy to cede any of the bureau’s authority. The result is likely to be a time-consuming application process and an uncertain return on NALs, says Eric Mogilnicki of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP.

  • A Large Loophole In The Ostensible Subcontractor Rule

    Bryan King

    As shown by recent Small Business Administration decisions, the current SBA regulations generally prevent the filing of an ostensible subcontractor size protest at the task order level, creating a situation where a large business could possibly take advantage, says Bryan King of Bass Berry & Sims PLC.

  • DOJ Puts Cybersecurity Info-Sharing Policy Into Practice

    Anne Rodgers

    In response to a business review request, the U.S. Department of Justice recently announced that it will not challenge a proposed cyberintelligence data-sharing platform. The analysis offers further guidance into the DOJ’s future enforcement of the antitrust laws in the cyber information-sharing arena. And it could not be more timely, say attorneys with Norton Rose Fulbright.

  • Crisis At The WTO — What Options Are Left?

    Terence Stewart

    While one may hope for brighter days in the future, the raging storm within the World Trade Organization membership at the moment suggests it will be a very long time before WTO members can restore the negotiating function of the organization, says Terence Stewart of the Law Offices of Stewart and Stewart.

  • We Need A Specialized Patent Trial Court

    William Watkins

    The U.S. is the only country in the world where standard juries are used in patent cases. With patent trolls imposing huge costs on the economy and crippling our power to innovate, Americans should be willing to consider major changes in how we decide patent cases, says William Watkins, a research fellow at The Independent Institute.