Public Policy

  • August 21, 2014

    9th Circ. Chief Judge Not On Board With Attack On NSA Bill

    Chief Judge of the Ninth Circuit Alex Kozinski has clarified that he has "serious doubts" about the views expressed by the federal courts' administrative chief who recently attacked a proposed U.S. Senate bill to curb the National Security Agency’s controversial bulk telephone record collection program.

  • August 21, 2014

    Mayor Cleared Of Bribery Sues Fla. Gov. For Reinstatement

    Former Miami Lakes, Florida, Mayor Michael A. Pizzi, recently acquitted of federal bribery and extortion charges, asked the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday to force the hand of Gov. Rick Scott, who he claims is “playing politics” by refusing to revoke his suspension from office.

  • August 21, 2014

    Fla. Federal Judge Strikes Down Gay Marriage Ban

    A Florida federal judge on Thursday became the fifth judge in the state to declare Florida's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional in two suits brought by gay couples who want Florida to recognize their out-of-state marriages and want to marry in the state.

  • August 21, 2014

    Ex-CFTC Commish Joins Speed Traders He Once Derided

    DLA Piper senior policy adviser and former U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commissioner Bart Chilton, who derided high-frequency traders as "cheetahs" during his time at the CFTC, has been enlisted to advise a high-frequency trading advocacy group, the group said Thursday.

  • August 21, 2014

    New Census Rule Allows Agencies To Share Export Data

    The U.S. Census Bureau on Thursday said it has tweaked confidentiality rules over confidential export data collected by the government, allowing other federal agencies’ data to be collected in unified digital hub overseen by the Census Bureau as part of the International Trade Data System.

  • August 21, 2014

    EPA Urged To Place Sunsets On Chemical Data Protection

    Several environmental, public health and labor groups on Thursday petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to create a sunset rule that would prevent chemical companies from indefinitely classifying chemical information, saying the current system threatens public health.

  • August 21, 2014

    Toxic Emissions Slashed From 1990 Levels, EPA Report Says

    U.S. toxic air emissions have fallen dramatically since the passage of amendments to the Clean Air Act in 1990, in some instances by more than half, the U.S Environmental Protection Agency said in a report issued Thursday.

  • August 21, 2014

    Tax Policy Pessimism Driving Inversions, Brookings Says

    The recent surge in corporate inversions can be blamed on the corporate desire to hold on to foreign earnings, and a general belief that U.S. policy concerning the taxation of those earnings isn't likely to change anytime soon, according to a Brookings Institution paper released Wednesday.

  • August 21, 2014

    Colo. Town Wants Industry Suit Against Fracking Ban Blocked

    Residents of Lafayette, Colorado, who filed a putative class action against the state asked a state judge Tuesday to rule that parts of the state's Oil and Gas Act violate the state constitution and urged the court to stay the Colorado Oil and Gas Association’s suit challenging the city’s ban on hydraulic fracturing while the class action is pending.

  • August 21, 2014

    Philly Mayor Drops Challenge To Blocked Lap Dance Tax

    The city of Philadelphia will not appeal a state judge's decision to block Mayor Michael Nutter's effort to tax lap dances at the city's strip clubs, a city spokesman said in a Thursday email, dropping its pursuit of nearly $1.3 million in taxes, interest and penalties from local strip clubs.

  • August 21, 2014

    DEA Clamps Down On Hydrocodone Combo Medications

    The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration on Thursday announced it has finalized a rule tightening restrictions on combination prescription drugs containing the opioid hydrocodone, citing the risk of addiction and other potential dangers of the painkiller.

  • August 21, 2014

    NC Lawmakers Advance Bill To Regulate Coal Ash

    North Carolina lawmakers on Wednesday passed legislation to regulate coal ash in the wake of a massive spill at a Duke Energy Corp. power plant, but environmental groups say the bill lets Duke avoid being forced to clean up coal ash facilities at most of its 14 plants.

  • August 21, 2014

    Calif. Gov. Signs Bill To Curb Minimum Wage Violations

    California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bill that will update the state labor law and provide additional protections to workers by allowing them more time to seek liquidated damages when pursuing claims against an employer for failure to pay minimum wage.

  • August 21, 2014

    FDA Unveils Action Plan For Clinical Trial Demographics

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday released a 27-point action plan aimed at strengthening the demographic makeup of clinical trials performed by drug and device makers, an issue that has grown in prominence amid globalization of research and rising interest in personalized medicine.

  • August 20, 2014

    Fla. Legislators Fight For Newly Redrawn Congressional Maps

    Florida state legislators told a judge Wednesday that the congressional district maps they redrew conformed to the court's order to fix the constitutional problems with two districts, though opponents argued that the new maps don't go far enough.

  • August 20, 2014

    Texas’ Suit Against EEOC Over Background Check Policy Axed

    A federal judge ruled Wednesday that Texas cannot challenge the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's guidance on criminal background checks because the state is not presently at risk of being penalized for refusing to adopt the policy.

  • August 20, 2014

    FSOC Closes Evidentiary Record In MetLife SIFI Review

    U.S. financial regulators have moved a step closer to deciding whether to designate MetLife Inc. a “systemically important financial institution,” approving the completion of the evidentiary record in the probe.

  • August 20, 2014

    Pa. Diocese Wins Permanent Injunction On Contraception Rule

    A Pittsburgh-area Roman Catholic diocese won a permanent injunction on Wednesday blocking provisions of the federal Affordable Care Act mandating that it provide contraceptive and sterilization coverage as part of insurance plans offered to employees of its religiously affiliated schools and charities. 

  • August 20, 2014

    MSRB Gives SEC Best-Execution Plan for Municipal Securities

    The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board on Wednesday advanced a proposal to hold municipal securities dealers to a best-execution standard when trading on behalf of clients.

  • August 20, 2014

    GOP Rep. Rips FEMA's Anti-Fracking Land Acquisition Policy

    U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Pa., and a group of energy industry officials on Wednesday slammed a U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency policy unveiled in May barring the acquisition of flood-prone properties that could host hydraulic fracturing activity due to separate ownership or leasing of subsurface rights.

Expert Analysis

  • Tax Credit Timetable Should Lead The Way For Renewables

    John C. Crossley

    Developers in the renewable energy industry that are able to move quickly now have a clearer path forward for a number of projects that appeared quite risky prior to the recent release of additional guidance on production tax credits from the Internal Revenue Service, says John Crossley of Husch Blackwell LLP.

  • AKS Unlikely To Be Raised Over Pharma Discount Sales

    Stephanie Trunk

    A recently issued opinion from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Inspector General assented to a drug manufacturer’s online discount program for branded drugs, making discount and referral arrangements less likely to raise concerns when they avoid federal reimbursement systems, say Stephanie Trunk and Brian Schneider of Arent Fox LLP.

  • EPA Boosts Cellulosic Fuels In Push For Renewables

    Bernadette M. Rappold

    While the nation has a long way to go to meet Congress' renewable fuel mandate for 2022, a recent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rulemaking has provided a much-needed shot in the arm to the nascent waste-to-energy industry generally, and to cellulosic biofuel producers in particular, says Bernadette Rappold of McGuireWoods LLP.

  • FCC Opinion On TCPA Consent Could Impact Debt Collectors

    Alan D. Wingfield

    Read broadly, if a recent opinion from the Federal Communications Commission is adopted it may mean that businesses can only obtain consumer consent under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act during the initial transaction giving rise to a debt if the consumer is being contacted by automated means on a cell phone, say attorneys at Troutman Sanders LLP.

  • Sponsors Should Mind FDA Informed Consent Guidance

    Gail H. Javitt

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's draft guidance on informed consent, though nonbinding, reflects the FDA’s current thinking about what is necessary for sponsors to fulfill their legal obligations and comes as the U.S. Department for Health and Human Services considers a broad overhaul of the Common Rule, say Gail Javitt and Ryan Kaat of Sidley Austin LLP.

  • Inside New York's Proposed Virtual Currency Regulation

    Marcus A. Asner

    New York’s proposed virtual currency rules intended to prevent money laundering and bolster cybersecurity have been met with mixed reactions and will likely trigger a lot of discussion about issues such as rooting out illegal activity without stifling innovation, say attorneys with Arnold & Porter LLP.

  • AIA Hasn't Really Changed Pretrial Landscape

    Peter Chassman

    How has the America Invents Act changed the behaviors of nonpracticing entities and the plight of the defendants that they sue? The biggest effect likely will be on those cases that actually go to trial. But since most of these cases settle before trial, the big-picture answer is “not much,” says Peter Chassman of Winston & Strawn LLP.

  • A Temporary Detour For Highway Transportation Funding

    Paul J. Epstein

    Given the passage of the Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2014, the resumption of bipartisan discussions regarding a long-term bill is unclear. The act possibly postpones debate regarding the future shape of federal surface transportation funding until a new Congress is sworn into office in 2015, says Paul Epstein of Shearman & Sterling LLP.

  • Congress Asks, CFPB Delivers On SCRA Violations

    John Costello

    A prudent retailer, lender or servicer should avail itself of the online database that provides information regarding the active-duty status of service members. As noted by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s recent actions, Servicemembers Civil Relief Act compliance is regaining focus and attention, says John Costello of Locke Lord LLP.

  • The Missed Trade Facilitation Deadline — What Now?

    Terence Stewart

    India's recent refusal to add the trade facilitation agreement to the World Trade Organization agreements sends the WTO once again to the precipice of irrelevance for trade negotiations. WTO members need to surprise themselves by exhibiting leadership to get the process restarted — or 2014 will go down as a catastrophic failure of the WTO negotiating function, says Terence Stewart of the Law Offices of Stewart and Stewart.