Public Policy

  • July 29, 2014

    New Protections For Part-Time Workers Floated In SF

    A San Francisco supervisor on Tuesday introduced a proposed ordinance that would require retail, hotel, bank and restaurant chains operating in the city to provide more work hours for part-time employees before hiring additional staff members.

  • July 29, 2014

    Texas Doubles Down On Same-Sex Marriage Fight In 5th Circ.

    Texas’ attorney general on Monday told the Fifth Circuit the state's ban on same-sex marriage doesn’t violate federal due process and equal rights protections, in a brief asking the appellate court to overturn a federal decision that found the law unconstitutional.

  • July 29, 2014

    Senate Passes Bill Funding Highway Trust Through December

    The U.S. Senate on Tuesday passed a bill extending funding for the U.S. Highway Trust Fund through December as the infrastructure fund faces looming insolvency, giving lawmakers additional time to come up with a long-term solution to the fund’s woes.

  • July 29, 2014

    SEC's FCPA Crackdown Looms Over Small-Cap Cos.

    As the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission makes good on its promise to crack down on violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, small publicly traded companies like Smith & Wesson Holding Corp. — which paid $2 million Monday to settle bribery charges — are struggling to balance the draws of emerging market expansion with the costs of American regulatory compliance.

  • July 29, 2014

    5th Circ. Axes Texas Bingo Law Limiting Political Speech

    The Fifth Circuit said Monday that a Texas law that prevents charities from spending money raised through bingo games on political lobbying imposes an impermissible restriction on free speech.

  • July 29, 2014

    Fla. Medical Association Backs Medicaid Expansion

    The Florida Medical Association officially threw a hat into the debate on Medicaid expansion in Florida with the passage of a resolution advocating the acceptance of federal money to support expansion under the Affordable Care Act.

  • July 29, 2014

    Sens. Urge Commerce To Avoid Quotas On Mexican Sugar

    A bipartisan group of lawmakers on Tuesday called for the U.S. Commerce Department to think twice before imposing import quotas on sugar from Mexico to resolve its anti-dumping inquiry into the country, saying they feared an increase in sugar prices.

  • July 29, 2014

    House Votes To Amend ESA Determinations Over Veto Threat

    The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a contentious bill altering how federal agencies may determine which species are protected under the Endangered Species Act, a measure the White House has already threatened to block.

  • July 29, 2014

    Leahy Takes Second Stab At NSA Reforms

    Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy on Tuesday introduced a new version of a bill he said would curb the National Security Agency’s controversial bulk telephone record collection program, building on a House version some privacy advocates criticized as too weak.

  • July 29, 2014

    Reps. Introduce House Version Of Trade Secrets Law

    A bipartisan group of lawmakers on Tuesday introduced a House version of legislation that would create a federal private right of action for companies and individuals to sue over trade secrets theft.

  • July 29, 2014

    EPA Carbon Plan Will Speed Shift From Coal: FERC Members

    Federal Energy Regulatory Commission members told lawmakers on Tuesday that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s new carbon emissions reduction proposal would speed up a change from coal to natural gas or other cleaner power sources and require substantial infrastructure improvements.

  • July 29, 2014

    EU Imposes Arms Embargo, Tougher Sanctions On Moscow

    The European Union ramped up its sanctions against Russia, reducing the country's access to oil technology, further decreasing Russian access to EU capital markets and imposing an arms embargo and a ban on goods that have both civilian and military uses.

  • July 29, 2014

    Senate Confirms McDonald As VA Secretary

    The Senate voted unanimously on Tuesday to approve Robert McDonald as the next Secretary of Veterans Affairs, one day after laying out a bipartisan deal that will give the embattled agency more funds to hire doctors and outsource medical care for veterans.

  • July 29, 2014

    House Agrees To Prescription Drug Enforcement Overhaul

    The U.S. House of Representatives voted Tuesday in favor of a bill seeking to curb an “epidemic” of prescription drug abuse while maintaining access for legitimate users by putting in place a clearer information-sharing and enforcement regime for drugmakers, sellers and regulators.

  • July 29, 2014

    NJ Senate Prez Can't Undo Christie's Rutgers Appointment

    The New Jersey Appellate Division on Tuesday upheld Gov. Chris Christie's direct appointment of a New Brunswick, New Jersey, attorney to Rutgers University's board of governors, rejecting a challenge from Senate President Steve Sweeney that the appointee should have come from Camden County.

  • July 29, 2014

    Mining Industry, GOP Rep. Blast EPA Clean Power Plan

    Several coal and energy trade groups and a Republican lawmaker on Tuesday urged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to abandon its proposed plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from existing coal-fired power plants, claiming the rules would have a dramatically negative effect on the coal and manufacturing industries.

  • July 29, 2014

    House Votes To Clarify Financial Industry Data Protections

    The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a pair of bills clarifying protections on data shared with financial regulators, including mortgage lender licensing data and information provided to regulators by nonbank financial companies.

  • July 29, 2014

    DC Circ. Rejects ACA Origination Clause Challenge

    The D.C. Circuit on Tuesday upheld a lower court ruling that dismissed an Iowa man’s challenge to the Affordable Care Act, saying that because the law’s revenue-raising aspect isn't its primary purpose, it is not subject to the U.S. Constitution's Origination Clause.

  • July 29, 2014

    FDIC Should Develop More Enforcement Tools, IG Report Says

    The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. should try to increase the number of cease-and-desist orders against bank officers and directors and provide firmer guidance on when bankers can be banned from the industry, according to a Tuesday report analyzing regulators' enforcement response to the financial crisis.

  • July 29, 2014

    Climate Action Delay May Cost $150B A Year: White House

    The White House Council of Economic Advisers said Tuesday that delaying action on climate change could cost the United States $150 billion a year if temperatures increase by three degrees Celsius instead of two, according to a report released in support of the president’s climate change plan.

Expert Analysis

  • And Now A Word From The Panel: Top 10 Venue Arguments

    Alan E. Rothman

    As the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation heads to the “Heart of America” for its July 31 hearing, this column will take a bit of a detour from its regular format and present a top 10 list of arguments — some strange, yet true — made in support of a particular MDL venue, says Alan Rothman of Kaye Scholer LLP.

  • Not A Federal Question: ACA Fund Dispute Is For States

    Eric G. Pearson

    The Seventh Circuit In Hartland Lakeside Joint No. 3 School District v. WEA Insurance Corp. remanded to state court a dispute over the distribution of funds from the Affordable Care Act for failure to present a federal question under Grable, which regrettably did not create the sort of bright-line rule that often does and should govern issues of federal jurisdiction, says Eric Pearson of Foley & Lardner LLP.

  • EPA Is Holding Flare Users' Feet To The Fire

    J. Tom Boer

    Larger facilities operating multiple flares and larger companies with multiple facilities likely run the greatest risk of enforcement by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — recent settlements confirm that the EPA, at least in this initial stage of enforcement, has been targeting larger companies, say attorneys at Barg Coffin Lewis & Trapp LLP.

  • A Novel Suit: Cities Try On The FHA For Size

    Mary B. Hogan

    Recent lawsuits brought by municipalities under the Fair Housing Act, which feature a novel theory of damages, have the potential to significantly expand the scope of fair lending liability for mortgage lenders, however whether their claims survive at the appellate level remains to be seen since there is still no coherent judicial view on statutory standing under the FHA, say attorneys at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP.

  • Canadian Immigration Overhaul Will Impact Food Services

    Audrey Anne Chouinard

    The Canadian government's recent sweeping reform of its Temporary Foreign Worker Program ends the moratorium on the food services sector, which is meant to strengthen the integrity of the TFWP as a last-resort measure to fill jobs in Canada, say Pierre-Etienne Morand and Audrey Anne Chouinard of Norton Rose Fulbright.

  • 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.