Public Policy

  • October 22, 2014

    New Mortgage Rules Complicate Fannie, Freddie Endgame

    Recent moves by federal regulators to increase sales of mortgages to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could further dampen hopes for a resurgence of private capital in the U.S. housing market, and make it more difficult to wind Fannie and Freddie down, policymakers and experts said.

  • October 22, 2014

    Justices Poised To Set Line For Police On Data Searches

    The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to take up a challenge to a Los Angeles law allowing warrantless searches of hotel registries, paving the way for the justices to draw a clear line regarding when and how law enforcement needs court involvement to gain access to data held by hotels, technology companies and others.

  • October 22, 2014

    Enviros Urge 9th Circ. To Nix Emissions Swap For $1B Plant

    Environmental groups urged a Ninth Circuit panel Wednesday to toss a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency decision allowing a local air quality agency's transfer of emissions credits to a new $1 billion power plant, saying the EPA's rule was "arbitrary and capricious" and failed to properly count banked credits.

  • October 22, 2014

    Wyden Urges DOE To Review Strategic Petroleum Reserve

    Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., urged the U.S. Department of Energy on Wednesday to study the size and makeup of the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve, echoing a call in a recent watchdog report that recommended both an SPR review and explored an increase in crude oil exports.

  • October 22, 2014

    NY Calls On ND Gov. To Regulate Crude Oil Shipments

    New York state environmental and transportation officials urged North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple on Tuesday to adopt regulations requiring oil producers to remove volatile gases from crude oil before shipping it cross-country by rail in an effort to protect residents near rail lines.

  • October 22, 2014

    AMA Sounds Alarm As Medicare Penalties Mount

    The American Medical Association on Tuesday voiced deep frustration with Medicare’s ever-growing list of quality initiatives and penalties, warning that doctors and regulators cannot manage a “tsunami of rules and policies” that has emerged in recent years.

  • October 22, 2014

    ND Lawmaker Backs $275M Flood, Drought Protection Plan

    North Dakota House Majority Leader Al Carlson, R-Fargo, is pushing plans to spend $275 million to speed up flood and drought protection measures in Fargo, outlining details at a news conference Wednesday.

  • October 22, 2014

    Ex-SEC General Counsel Joins Sidley Austin

    The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's general counsel and international affairs chief counsel has left the regulator for a partner position at Sidley Austin LLP.

  • October 22, 2014

    FCC Pauses Comments on $45B Comcast, $49B AT&T Deals

    The Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday slowed down its review of both Comcast Corp.’s merger with Time Warner Cable Inc. and AT&T Inc.’s potential purchase of DirecTV, saying more time is needed to resolve disputes over who has access to contracts with content providers.

  • October 22, 2014

    Mich. Appeals Court Upholds $773M Nuclear Plant Upgrades

    The Michigan Court of Appeals on Tuesday found the state Public Service Commission properly approved a  $773.6 million life-cycle management project to upgrade a nuclear power plant owned by an American Electric Power subsidiary but determined a management reserve of 10 percent of the project cost should not have been preapproved.

  • October 22, 2014

    A Month In, Deal Makers Hurt But Not Sunk By Inversion Rules

    The Obama administration has claimed a few high-profile victories in the month since it rolled out a series of new rules meant to squelch the rising appeal of controversial tax-inversion deals, but while tougher restrictions have jostled the marketplace, several transactions remain on the table.

  • October 22, 2014

    Would-Be Dark Pool Marketplace Files Broadside Against SEC

    Automated Matching Systems Exchange LLC, a would-be virtual marketplace for automated dark pools, continued its war to get official recognition Monday with a brief in South Dakota federal court requesting a court-ordered conference with SEC staff it says have shown a “lack of training and experience.”

  • October 22, 2014

    Fla. Court Says Closed-Door Pension Talks Violated Law

    A Florida appeals court on Tuesday affirmed a ruling that Jacksonville city officials violated the state's open-government laws by negotiating a pension deal for city police officers and firefighters during mediation that was closed to the public.

  • October 22, 2014

    IRS Missing Steps When Auditing Partnerships: Report

    Partnership entities are ballooning in number each year and the Internal Revenue Service is struggling to audit them properly, with the service missing steps in nearly 2/3 of the partnership audits it conducted in 2012, a tax watchdog said Wednesday.

  • October 22, 2014

    Refinery Waste-Burning Rule Should Be Killed, DC Circ. Told

    Environmental groups have urged the D.C. Circuit to deny bids to further delay its mandate of a ruling that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is illegally allowing refineries to burn petroleum waste materials into fuel, saying those living near such facilities have suffered enough.

  • October 22, 2014

    Incoming EU Leader Aims To Cool TTIP Arbitration Worries

    The incoming president of the European Commission on Wednesday stressed that any investor-state dispute settlement system in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership would not threaten the sovereignty of domestic courts, while also holding open the possibility that the controversial provision could be scrapped altogether.

  • October 22, 2014

    Practitioners Hope Tax Reform Will Improve S Corp Laws

    Tax practitioners are hopeful that when Congress finally tackles comprehensive tax reform, it will continue a yearslong legislative trend that has made pass-through S corporations more taxpayer-friendly, a Garvey Schubert Barer LLP tax partner said on Wednesday at a New York University tax conference.

  • October 22, 2014

    San Francisco Housing Ordinance Ruled Unconstitutional

    A California federal judge said Tuesday that a San Francisco ordinance requiring landlords to pay large sums of money to tenants prior to taking their properties off the market is unconstitutional, the latest in the city’s battle to combat its burgeoning housing unaffordability crisis.

  • October 22, 2014

    SEC Narrowly OKs Risk-Retention Rules Amid Fiery Dissents

    A divided U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission passed final rules on Wednesday requiring firms to retain a stake in the asset-backed securities they issue, but not before two Republican members blasted the rule-making as a capitulation to banking regulators and a missed chance for meaningful reform.

  • October 22, 2014

    Sens. Ask Treasury To Preserve LIFO Accounting Method

    Pressure mounted on the U.S. Department of the Treasury to preserve the "last in, first out" method of accounting on Tuesday as a bipartisan group of 14 senators sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew asking that the accounting method be kept in any effort to reform the tax code.

Expert Analysis

  • Japan's Trade Secret Law Reform Should Focus On Discovery

    York Faulkner

    Faced with a growing trend of trade secret theft, Japanese lawmakers are actively debating reforms to strengthen both civil and criminal enforcement of trade secrets. The proposals, however, fail to address the fundamental weakness of trade secret enforcement under current Japanese law, say attorneys with Finnegan Henderson Farabow Garrett & Dunner LLP, Kitahama Partners and Lexia Partners.

  • New Calif. Data Breach Rules Bring Obligations And Debate

    Ellen Giblin

    The new law regarding the California breach notification requirement related to identity theft prevention and mitigation services has already spurred debate on two issues, say attorneys with Edwards Wildman Palmer LLC.

  • Canada's Proposed Takeover Bid Rules Are Target-Friendly

    Ralph Shay

    Newly proposed amendments to Canada's takeover bid legislation would address long-standing concerns that the current regulatory regime tilts the playing field too far in favor of hostile bidders, says Ralph Shay of Dentons Canada LLP.

  • 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.