Public Policy

  • May 5, 2016

    BREAKING: E-Cigarettes Will Be Subject To FDA Regulation

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday announced that it's finalized a rule that expands its ability to regulate all tobacco products — including e-cigarettes, hookah and pipe tobacco, and cigars — and bars retailers from selling those products to juveniles under 18 years old.

  • May 4, 2016

    CFPB Unleashes Draft Rule On Arbitration Clauses

    The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released a highly anticipated proposed rule Thursday to ban consumer financial services providers from prohibiting customers, through contracts with mandatory arbitration clauses, from filing or joining class actions.

  • May 4, 2016

    3 Sticking Points In The FCC’s Special Access Plan

    The Federal Communications Commission’s proposal for regulating business data services may clear the chairman’s desk this year, but experts said it will take much longer for the FCC to work through the thorniest issues while continually battling rapidly shifting market forces and deep divides among industry players.

  • May 4, 2016

    Planned Parenthood Sues Kansas For Pulling Medicaid

    Two Planned Parenthood affiliates launched a proposed class action in Kansas federal court Wednesday seeking to block state officials from ending Medicaid reimbursements to the organization, a decision they argued was based on discredited videos purporting to show the group encouraged the illegal sale of fetal tissue.

  • May 4, 2016

    Taxis Respond To Miami Uber Law With $1B Class Action

    Taxicab companies hit Miami-Dade County with a putative class action seeking upward of $1 billion Wednesday, a day after its county commissioners approved a draft ordinance legalizing ride-hailing providers such as Uber and Lyft.

  • May 4, 2016

    Miami Beach Mayor Unveils Plan For Local $13 Minimum Wage

    Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine announced a proposal Wednesday to set a citywide living wage that, if passed by the city commission, would boost wages of local hotel workers but could land the city in hot water over a state law barring local minimum wage laws.

  • May 4, 2016

    New Rule Won't Moot STEM Visa Worker Case, DC Circ. Told

    A technology workers' union urged the D.C. Circuit Wednesday to keep alive its challenge to a U.S. Department of Homeland Security program allowing certain student visa holders to work in the U.S., saying the program will remain in place even with the imminent withdrawal of a related rule.

  • May 4, 2016

    Pfizer Cools To Tax Inversion After Nixed Allergan Deal

    Pfizer Inc. said Tuesday it isn’t inclined to seek another inversion transaction after it scrapped a proposed $160 billion merger with Irish drugmaker Allergan in April in light of the U.S. Department of Treasury’s new rules aimed at curbing the tax-motivated deal structure.

  • May 4, 2016

    DOJ Hits NC With Warning Over Transgender 'Bathroom' Law

    The U.S. Department of Justice on Wednesday sent a letter to North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory saying the state's controversial law restricting bathroom access for transgender persons is in violation of civil rights laws prohibiting employment discrimination, according to news reports.

  • May 4, 2016

    Ill. Parents Sue Feds Over Transgender Locker Room Policy

    A group of parents from the suburbs of Chicago sued their local school district and the U.S. Department of Education Wednesday over the district’s decision to comply with a federal law allowing students who identify as female to use the girls' locker room.

  • May 4, 2016

    Enviros Press Case Against DOT On Oil Spill Response Plans

    The National Wildlife Federation asked for a quick win Wednesday in its lawsuit over what it calls insufficient government review of pipeline operators’ spill response plans, saying the U.S. Department of Transportation’s top official shirked legal obligations to personally review such plans for pipelines that cross the country’s inland waterways.

  • May 4, 2016

    Divide On Atlantic City Bailout Plan Widens On Eve Of Vote

    The road to saving Atlantic City’s finances hit a bump on Wednesday when New Jersey Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, D-Hudson/Bergen, announced that the chamber wasn’t going to consider a Senate bill calling for a state takeover, which is the only plan Republican Gov. Chris Christie said he’d endorse to fix the resort town.

  • May 4, 2016

    FTC Says Ala. Health Bill Could Harm Competition

    The U.S. Federal Trade Commission issued comments in opposition to proposed legislation in Alabama that would shield mergers between medical schools and health providers in the state from federal antitrust scrutiny, saying the bill will likely result in increased health care costs to consumers.

  • May 4, 2016

    Trump Primary Win Doesn't Sway McConnell On Garland

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is not backing down from his opposition to U.S. Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland in light of Donald Trump’s inevitable Republican primary win, holding firm to the view that the next president should fill the vacancy.

  • May 4, 2016

    SEC Says Timbervest Case Should Return To In-House Court

    The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday told the D.C. Circuit that Timbervest LLC’s challenge to the agency’s in-house court will have to return there if the investment adviser submits new evidence about its sanctions, potentially putting the constitutional arguments on hold.

  • May 4, 2016

    Chicago Mayor Pins Lucas Museum Hopes On 7th Circ.

    Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is asking the Seventh Circuit to step in and dismiss a lawsuit challenging the location of an upcoming museum dedicated to the art collection of "Star Wars" creator George Lucas, saying Wednesday that the city can't abide any further delays as Lucas threatens to take his business elsewhere.

  • May 4, 2016

    Calif. Agencies Unveil Zero-Emission Freight System Draft

    Several California agencies on Tuesday released the first draft of their plan to reform regulations on the state’s freight industry, aimed at increasing efficiency and zeroing-out carbon emissions by 2050 while keeping the $740 billion-per-year industry competitive in relation to other states'.

  • May 4, 2016

    UK Softens Accountability For Top Finance Execs

    The British Parliament passed an act Wednesday reversing a controversial measure that would have forced senior financial sector managers to prove they weren’t responsible for misconduct by employees.

  • May 4, 2016

    SIFMA Blasts FINRA Mortgage Market Margin Proposal

    The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association has blasted a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority proposal to establish margin requirements for the "to-be-announced" market, which facilitates forward-trading of certain mortgage-backed securities, saying FINRA has not meaningfully addressed its cost concerns about the proposal.

  • May 4, 2016

    Small Biz Org Accuses SBA Of 'Creative Accounting'

    The American Small Business League on Tuesday accused the U.S. Small Business Administration of “creative accounting” in a California federal court lawsuit seeking to block the agency from demonstrating small business participation goals in government contracts by leaving out some agencies and counting major corporations as small.

Expert Analysis

  • 'Ancient Documents' Exception Could Be Ancient History

    Jonathan Reich

    The proposed elimination of Federal Rule of Evidence 803(16) — the exception to the hearsay rule for “ancient documents” — would have a dramatic impact on certain long-tail tort claims and insurance coverage for those claims, says Jonathan Reich at Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice LLP.

  • Gig Economy: Settlements Leave Labor Issues Unsettled

    Miriam A. Cherry

    Perhaps what the recent $100 million Uber settlement shows us, more than anything, is the weakness of regulating labor standards through the method of private attorneys bringing class actions. But more important than these legal maneuvers is the issue of work changing in response to technological restructuring, says Miriam Cherry, a professor at Saint Louis University School of Law.

  • Time To Stop The End-Arounds In Muni Market Regulation

    Thomas K. Potter III

    The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board recently issued a concept release suggesting that market transparency trumps the Tower Amendment — the direct congressional prohibition against federal regulations requiring filing of information by municipal issuers. This expansion of regulatory reach by tip-toeing around statutory prohibitions disserves us all, says Thomas Potter III of Burr & Forman LLP.

  • Treasury Regs Cause Issues For 'Lonely' Life Insurance Cos.

    William R. Pauls

    New proposed U.S. Department of the Treasury regulations on whether a domestic life insurance company may join in filing a consolidated U.S. federal income tax return with one or more domestic nonlife insurance companies could create new problems with respect to recently acquired domestic life insurance companies that are not allowed to join in the consolidated return, say attorneys at Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP.

  • Gig Economy: Are Your Workers Employees? The 6-Part Test

    Rachel Bien

    Unfortunately, many sharing economy companies have tried to have it both ways — benefiting from the cost savings of calling workers independent contractors while at the same time treating them as employees in most other respects. Guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor suggests that many of these companies have misclassified their workers as independent contractors, say Rachel Bien and Cara Chomski of Outten & Golden LLP.

  • The Deemed Export Rule And Employment Nondiscrimination

    John J. Burke

    For employers that are caught between complying with export control laws and anti-discrimination laws, the U.S. Department of Justice recently issued guidance to help companies navigate these seemingly contradictory requirements. But, while helpful in some areas, the guidance may add to the confusion in other areas, say John Burke and Sabrina Shadi at BakerHostetler LLP.

  • Canada's Best-Interest Standard Plan And Related Concerns

    Linda Fuerst

    The Canadian Securities Administrators recently proposed a best-interest standard for investment advisers and dealers similar to the U.S. Department of Labor’s new fiduciary rule. The proposal may create legal uncertainty, and highlights concerns surrounding the application of best-interest standards in both the United States and Canada, say attorneys with Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP.

  • VA Now Open To Non-Trade Agreements Act Compliant Drugs

    Jeffrey Orenstein

    In a significant policy reversal, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs recently announced that all “covered drugs” under the Veterans Health Care Act will be offered on Federal Supply Schedule contracts, regardless of whether they meet the “country of origin” standards of the Trade Agreements Act, opening up FSS contracts to hundreds of pharmaceutical products, say Jeffrey Orenstein and Lawrence Sher at Reed Smith LLP.

  • Takeaways From FCC’s Briefing Defending TCPA Ruling

    Michael J. Stortz

    In briefing before the D.C. Circuit in defense of its July 2015 Telephone Consumer Protection Act order, the Federal Communications Commission has suggested some modest limits to the otherwise expansive language of the order. The briefs are worth considering on key issues such as revocation of consent and whether a platform or device may come within the definition of automatic telephone dialing systems, says Michael Stortz of Drink... (continued)

  • Gig Economy: The Case For Local Regulation Of Ride Apps

    Peter M. Mazer

    “The operation of taxicabs is a local business,” declared the U.S. Supreme Court more than 60 years ago. Hence, standards for on-demand transportation exist at the local or state level to adapt to local needs and the regulatory and political climate of the locality. The onset of ride-sharing has significantly altered this dynamic, says Peter Mazer, general counsel of the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade in New York.