Public Policy

  • July 28, 2014

    FTC, Ireland Urged To Curb Facebook's Expanded Ad Tracking

    A coalition of U.S. and European consumer advocates on Tuesday pushed the Federal Trade Commission and the Irish privacy regulator to block Facebook Inc. from gathering users' web browsing activities to better target advertisements, arguing the planned data collection expansion would violate the site's previous privacy commitments.

  • July 28, 2014

    Obama, Insurers 'Colluded' To Create ACA Provision: Report

    Members of the Obama administration “colluded” with insurance companies to create key provisions within the Affordable Care Act that would increase insurers’ profitability and net them a “bailout” of $1 billion this year, according to a Monday report by Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

  • July 28, 2014

    5 Acquisition Reforms Contractors Really Want

    With Congress undertaking a monthslong effort to explore possibilities for acquisition reform, contractors are taking the opportunity to press for more business-friendly policies. Here are some of their ideas for shaking up the way the government buys goods and services.

  • July 28, 2014

    NY State, City Want Property Tax Discrimination Suit Axed

    Both the state and city of New York want a state judge to toss a proposed class action alleging the city's property tax system favors residential owners over renters — who are mostly black and Hispanic — saying the issue should be addressed by the legislature.

  • July 28, 2014

    House Passes Bills Upping DHS Cybersecurity Efforts

    The U.S. House of Representatives on Monday passed a trio of bills designed to improve cybersecurity for critical infrastructure like power plants and financial markets, variously enabling greater public-private cooperation and directing the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to further advance its cybersecurity efforts.

  • July 28, 2014

    Senate Confirms New CPSC Chairman, Commissioner

    The U.S. Senate on Monday voted to approve two nominees for the Consumer Product Safety Commission: Elliot Kaye, President Barack Obama's nominee for agency chairman, and commissioner nominee Joseph Mohorovic.

  • July 28, 2014

    Wash. Insurance Official Cleared In Row With Judge

    An independent investigator has cleared a high-ranking Washington insurance official from allegations that he tried to influence an administrative law judge's ruling in a high-stakes Affordable Care Act dispute, concluding instead that the judge improperly communicated with lead counsel in the case.

  • July 28, 2014

    FDA's Biggest New Policies Of 2014: Midyear Report

    New rules and guidance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have made lots of waves with drug and device makers in 2014, sparking debate about future oversight of off-label promotion, social media interactions and the rapidly evolving field of clinical software. Here are six issues attorneys are watching closely.

  • July 28, 2014

    CMS Expands Wheelchair Fraud Prevention Program

    The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on Monday said it's expanding its fraud prevention pilot program for motorized wheelchairs to 12 more states in the coming months, saying the demonstration has already proved successful in seven states.

  • July 28, 2014

    Russia May Limit Fruit Imports From EU Amid Ukraine Crisis

    Russia's Ministry of Agriculture is considering a restriction on all or some fruit imports from the European Union over concerns about a pest contamination, as the country faces increased sanctions from the EU over its continued presence in eastern Ukraine, according to a Monday report.

  • July 28, 2014

    Docs' Groups Ask CMS For Preview Of Sunshine Data Context

    A group of physicians’ associations and manufacturers urged the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on Monday to let them take a look at the context for physician payment data due to be disclosed under the Physician Payments Sunshine Act in September.

  • July 28, 2014

    IRS Releases Final Rules On Branded Prescription Drug Fee

    The Internal Revenue Service published final regulations Monday establishing how branded prescription drug manufacturers or importers who have at least $5 million in sales to various government programs like Medicaid and Tricare should calculate an annual fee established by the Affordable Care Act.

  • July 28, 2014

    Sens. Press FDA For Plan On Antibiotic Use In Farm Animals

    Three Democratic senators asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in a letter Monday to provide information on the agency’s plans to curb the overuse of antibiotics in food animal production in light of research showing the practice can lead to the creation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

  • July 28, 2014

    EPA Should Update Fracking Pollution Regs, GAO Says

    A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency program that prevents pollutants associated with hydraulic fracturing from contaminating groundwater in eight states, including California, Pennsylvania and Texas, is outdated and lacks sufficient muscle, according to a report released by a government watchdog on Monday.

  • July 28, 2014

    NY Landowners Appeal Dismissal Of Suit Over Fracking Delay

    Landowners seeking to force Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his administration to move more quickly on regulations that could allow for an expansion of fracking in New York said Monday they have appealed an Albany judge's ruling that said they didn't have standing to bring suit.

  • July 28, 2014

    Express Scripts Asks High Court To Review Calif. Speech Law

    Express Scripts Inc. has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review a federal appellate panel’s approval of a state law requiring drug claim processors to compile and transmit pharmacy fee information to clients, saying the law compels speech in violation of the First Amendment.

  • July 28, 2014

    Medicare's Long-Term Outlook Improves Slightly, Report Says

    The Obama administration revealed Monday that Medicare's long-term financial forecast has improved in the last year thanks in part to the Affordable Care Act, but officials warned Congress that it needs to make changes to Social Security and Medicare soon, before some portions of the programs run out of money.

  • July 28, 2014

    Gay Marriage Plaintiffs Want Cases In Fla. Supreme Court

    A gay couple from Key West who won a decision overturning Florida's ban on same-sex marriage is seeking to take the state's appeal directly to the Florida Supreme Court, where it seems certain to be headed.

  • July 28, 2014

    4th Circ. Sinks Va. Same-Sex Marriage Bans

    The Fourth Circuit on Monday struck down Virginia's state ban on same-sex marriages, continuing a string of federal and state court rulings finding similar state bans unconstitutional.

  • July 28, 2014

    DOD Security Clearance Holders Owe IRS $730M, Report Says

    About 83,000 U.S. Department of Defense employees and contractors who held or were eligible for secret, top secret or sensitive compartmented information clearances owed more than $730 million in unpaid federal taxes as of June 2012, according to a report released by the Government Accountability Office on Monday.

Expert Analysis

  • Defense Bar Risks Giving Bad Advice About Pregnant Workers

    Joan C. Williams

    A few weeks ago, for the first time in 30 years, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission updated its guidance on pregnancy discrimination in response to a flood of pregnancy discrimination complaints. What followed was truly weird, says Joan Williams of the University of California, Hastings College of Law.

  • Amtrak's Metrics-Making Power Hangs In The Balance

    Kevin M. Sheys

    For industry, the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Association of American Railroads v. Department of Transportation will be about whether the standards Amtrak helped create will survive and be used to measure how the railroads adhere to their long-standing statutory obligation to give priority to Amtrak trains, says Kevin Sheys of Nossaman LLP.

  • EU Rule Sets Higher Standard For Medical Devices

    Lucas Bergkamp

    While the RoHS-1 Directive did not apply to medical devices, the RoHS-2 Directive does, implying that manufacturers intended for the EU market have to assess and document whether their products comply with the latest directive’s chemical restrictions, say Lucas Bergkamp and Nicholas Herbatschek of Hunton & Williams LLP.

  • What's Next For US Financial Regulation

    Dan Ryan

    With the “too big to fail” debate about to hit the headlines again when the Government Accountability Office releases its long-awaited TBTF report, the rhetoric calling for the completion of outstanding regulations will once again sharpen. This rhetoric should not be confused with reality, however, says Dan Ryan, chairman of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP's financial services regulatory practice.

  • Don't Get Carried Away By The Inversion Craze

    Bernie J. Pistillo

    Given commercial realities and the possibility that the intended tax savings could be limited or eliminated by the effect of retroactive or even prospective legislation, a potential inversion transaction should only be pursued if the nontax reasons for the combination are sufficiently compelling, say attorneys with Morrison & Foerster LLP.

  • EPA Unit Rule's Impact Hinges On State Implementation

    Alison M. Nelson

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's proposed rule regarding modified and reconstructed units will potentially affect all fossil fuel-fired electric generating units, and the rule's impact on existing units could be significantly more far-reaching depending on the approach states take toward emission reduction, say Robert Wilkinson and Alison Nelson of Husch Blackwell LLP.

  • CBP May Be Signaling Renewed Interest In 1st-Sale Rule

    Lindsay Meyer

    With importers increasingly relying on the use of the multitier "first sale" to a middleman for value declarations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection recently reminded the trade community that audits are well within its jurisdiction and that penalties may ensue for anyone misusing or abusing the rule, say Lindsay Meyer and Amanda Blunt of Venable LLP.

  • Prosecutions Loom Large In China's Food Regulatory Regime

    John Balzano

    Most ominous in China's draft Food Safety Law is the pledge to strengthen the "link" between food safety regulation and criminal penalties, indicating criminal prosecutions could likely continue increasing once the law is adopted, say attorneys at Covington & Burling LLP.

  • Speculating On Wyden's Tax Reform Priorities

    Mary Burke Baker

    The tax reform measures that Sen. Ron Wyden has previously introduced provide the best insights into how he may approach tax reform as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee — and past measures signal a sharp reduction in the corporate top rate, curtailment of "loopholes" and major changes for energy tax breaks, say attorneys with K&L Gates LLP.

  • Established Employment Rules Are Not Safe From The NLRB

    Shannon M. Gibson

    Terms and conditions of employment long considered settled by employers can now no longer be taken for granted as not running afoul of the National Labor Relations Act as the National Labor Relations Board continues its dramatic outreach campaign to workers, say William Miossi and Shannon Gibson of Winston & Strawn LLP.