Public Policy

  • March 27, 2015

    House Bill To Enforce Oil Spill Law Regardless Of Spill Origin

    A pair of U.S. Congress members from Florida introduced legislation on Thursday that would make companies pay cleanup costs under the Oil Pollution Act and face Clean Water Act penalties for oil spills that originate in foreign waters but reach U.S. waters.

  • March 27, 2015

    3 States Can't Call Shots On Immigration For US, 5th Circ. Told

    Speculation from three states about the economic consequences of deferred deportation policies created by the president’s executive actions doesn’t justify barring important changes for the entire country, the U.S. Department of Justice told the Fifth Circuit on Thursday.

  • March 27, 2015

    Senate Passes 2016 Budget After Marathon Debate Session

    The U.S. Senate on Friday narrowly approved the chamber’s proposed 2016 budget plan after a marathon session that saw it back amendments to ease environmental and tax laws and provide paid sick leave, while rejecting bids to restore health care cuts and increase defense spending.

  • March 26, 2015

    States Block FMLA Same-Sex Spouse Rule Change

    A group of state attorneys general on Thursday won their bid to block the U.S. Department of Labor from enacting a new rule under the Family and Medical Leave Act that would extend protections to same-sex couples when a Texas federal judge granted a preliminary injunction.

  • March 26, 2015

    EPA's GC Slams McConnell's Carbon Plan Criticisms

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's general counsel on Thursday said criticism leveled by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Harvard professor Laurence Tribe against a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at existing power plants is premature and counterproductive.

  • March 26, 2015

    CFPB Lobs First Volley In Long Fight Over Payday Loans

    The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Thursday fired the opening shot in a long battle over new regulations for payday loans that the bureau says will eliminate so-called debt traps and will likely reshape the market for short-term credit offered by a host of financial institutions.

  • March 26, 2015

    Obama Immigration Adviser Offers Peek At Upcoming Policy

    While speaking at a Brookings Institution event on Thursday, White House immigration adviser Felicia Escobar dropped hints on upcoming changes to an employment program for foreign students, as well as ways in which the Obama administration may seek to modernize the visa process.

  • March 26, 2015

    NJ Assembly Approves Bills Responding To Exxon Settlement

    The New Jersey Assembly on Thursday approved two measures related to the state's controversial $225 million settlement with Exxon Mobil Corp. over refinery pollution, calling for an extension to the public notice period and a requirement that half the settlement amount be allocated to restoration and cleanup.

  • March 26, 2015

    Bill Allowing Employer Access To Workers' Social Media Nixed

    Arkansas legislation that would have allowed some employers to force workers to add them on social media accounts died in a state Senate committee on Wednesday, after it had passed the Arkansas House of Representatives by an overwhelming majority in February.

  • March 26, 2015

    Fla. House Committee Mulls Massive Gambling Expansion Bill

    Gaming industry representatives and anti-gambling advocates squared off Thursday in a lengthy Florida House of Representatives committee workshop on a bill that would allow for massive gambling expansions in the state, including two resort-style casinos in South Florida.

  • March 26, 2015

    Ex-Commerce Chiefs Want Fast-Track Without Currency Rules

    A bipartisan group of former U.S. secretaries of commerce on Wednesday pressed Congress to sign off on the fast-track model of approving U.S. trade agreements, echoing top Obama administration members who want to avoid tying anti-currency manipulation measures to trade deals.

  • March 26, 2015

    TPP Leak Fallout Previews Investor Arbitration Fight To Come

    The leak of a confidential Trans-Pacific Partnership text comes amid a rancorous public debate over a provision allowing investors to arbitrate grievances directly against foreign governments, a development that has spurred each side of the fight to dig in its heels as the 12-nation pact nears the finish line.

  • March 26, 2015

    US Chamber Blasts NLRB's Defense Of Union Election Rule

    The National Labor Relations Board’s defense of its controversial union election rule is overbroad and flat-out wrong, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and several trade associations told a D.C. federal court Wednesday, urging it to vacate the rule.

  • March 26, 2015

    Atlantic City Job Recovery Bill Approved By NJ Assembly

    The New Jersey General Assembly passed a bill Thursday that would create an Urban Enterprise Zone in Atlantic City for the next 10 years, permitting businesses other than casinos to offer a reduced sales tax to encourage business growth and help stimulate the city's struggling economy.

  • March 26, 2015

    House Bill Would Speed Gas Projects On Tribal, Federal Land

    A new bill in the U.S. House of Representatives would expedite natural gas projects and bolster tribal sovereignty by avoiding duplication in environmental reviews on federal lands and in Indian Country, the bill’s sponsor told Law360 on Thursday.

  • March 26, 2015

    Texas Senate Passes $4.6B In Business, Property Tax Cuts

    The Texas Senate approved a package of bills Wednesday that would cut an estimated $4.6 billion in property and business taxes over the next two years and amend the state constitution to eliminate taxes on real estate sales.

  • March 26, 2015

    Estate Tax Repeal Would Be Costly And Unwise, Experts Say

    As legislation to repeal the estate tax heads to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, experts say that although the levy affects only a handful of estates, striking it would reduce federal revenue by hundreds of billions of dollars and increase income inequality.

  • March 26, 2015

    DHS Deputy Wins Support In EB-5 Favoritism Saga

    The nation’s top immigration ombudsman rose to defend former U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services director Alejandro Mayorkas during a hearing before a House committee Thursday, just two days after a new report accused him of possibly pulling strings in the EB-5 program for certain politically connected Democrats.

  • March 26, 2015

    Bill Would Require Confirmation Of Secret Service Directors

    Future directors of the Secret Service would have to go through Senate confirmation under a bipartisan bill put forward by members of the House Judiciary Committee Thursday, along with requiring more training and reports to Congress.

  • March 26, 2015

    Accounting Standards Debate Ran Its Course: SEC Official

    In a speech Thursday in Brooklyn, Democratic Commissioner Kara Stein of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission called for a new vision of accounting standards, saying the debate over whether the country should switch from domestic to international standards has run its course.

Expert Analysis

  • Patent Reform — Texas Style

    Richard Smith

    On the heels of initiatives by other states, Texas may soon have its own statute addressing demand letters that allege patent infringement. Of particular interest in the recently filed bill are the registration and disclosure requirements for certain patent infringement claims, says Richard Smith, an intellectual property attorney.

  • Some Background On Fed. Circ.'s CVD Ruling

    Neil Ellis

    The outcome in GPX International Tire Corp. v. U.S. was perhaps unsurprising, as the opposite result would have been contrary to the Federal Circuit’s long-standing disinclination to find constitutional flaws in the trade remedies statutes. It also would have led to significant uncertainty regarding the legality of eight years of countervailing duties proceedings involving nonmarket economy imports, agency determinations and tariff... (continued)

  • Operation Choke Point Changing Culture But Not Mission

    Barkley Clark

    Suggestions that regulators are distancing themselves from Operation Choke Point and will be more restrained in holding banks accountable are nice but may not prove to be accurate. While the culture is shifting at the federal banking agencies, expect vigorous continued civil and criminal prosecutions, say Barkley Clark of Stinson Leonard Street LLP and Barbara Clark of Commercial Law Institute.

  • IRS Gives Good Directions On ACA Cadillac Tax

    Sarah L. Fowles

    An employer can use the Internal Revenue Services' recent notice on the Affordable Care Act's so-called Cadillac tax to approximate the cost of coverage for employees. Since the cost will likely vary by employee, employers may want to estimate costs under a range of coverage scenarios, say attorneys at Quarles & Brady LLP.

  • Inside USCIS' Much-Anticipated L-1B Visa Guidance

    Sari M. Long

    Practitioners and employers have been waiting for this guidance since U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services promised to review consistency in L-1B “specialized knowledge” nonimmigrant visa adjudications in early 2012. The policy proposal comes hot on the heels of an independent report highlighting a historic increase in denial rates for L-1B petitions, say attorneys with Faegre Baker Daniels LLP.

  • How Appraisal Statute Amendments Would Affect Mergers

    Philip Richter

    Proposed amendments to the Delaware appraisal statute — like courts’ recent increased reliance on the merger price in determining fair value — will not significantly discourage appraisal overall so much as it will further drive activity toward strong appraisal claims, say attorneys with Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson LLP.

  • Combating Climate Change Continues With Executive Orders

    George O. Wilkinson Jr.

    President Obama's latest executive order on greenhouse gas emissions will impact both federal agencies and government contractors and once again signals the White House's intention to combat climate change in spite of some members of Congress, state governments and industry groups, say George Wilkinson Jr. and Corinne Snow of Vinson & Elkins LLP.

  • Top Tips For Data Breach Readiness And Response

    Elizabeth C. Rogers

    Until Congress agrees on uniform responsibilities and liabilities for data breaches, companies operating in the U.S. must traverse a patchwork of laws in 47 states and the District of Columbia. Still, firms can and should develop a written information security response plan and maintain relationships with breach response vendors, say Elizabeth Rogers and Alan Sutin of Greenberg Traurig LLP.

  • EMIR's Effectiveness Is Doubtful

    Stephen Phillips

    If a “Lehman-like” collapse were to happen again tomorrow or if a central clearing counterparty becomes insolvent, it is questionable whether regulators would glean useful insights from the costly and far-reaching reporting requirements imposed on the derivatives market by the European Market Infrastructure Regulation, say attorneys with Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP.

  • Unmanned But Not Unarmed: State Dept.'s New Drone Policy

    Brandon Bodnar

    While the U.S. State Department's new export policy places significant conditions on the sale or transfer of military drones, it also for the first time provides explicit guidance regarding under what circumstances the United States will approve the sale of armed drones to the U.S. allies and coalition partners, say attorneys with Arnold & Porter LLP.