Public Policy RSS

  • April 16, 2014

    If Russia Sanctions Expand, So Will Legwork For US Cos.

    A month after the U.S. issued sanctions in response to the unrest in Ukraine, American companies are struggling to determine whether their dealings in Russia are affected, and with additional targets potentially on the horizon, attorneys say the situation could get trickier for businesses.

  • April 16, 2014

    MGM-Backed Voters Slam Mass. Anti-Casino Measure

    A group of 22 Massachusetts voters backed by MGM Resorts International and other gambling operators told the state's high court Wednesday that a ballot initiative petition seeking to repeal parts of Massachusetts' casino gambling law should be struck down as an unconstitutional taking.

  • April 16, 2014

    NY Online Poker Bill Would Redefine State Gambling Test

    A recent bill to bring online poker to New York faces a long, hard road, but experts say its passage would bring the state's definition of what constitutes gambling in line with less stringent federal standards — and provide new clarity for local courts handling illegal gambling issues. 

  • April 16, 2014

    3 Ways To Beef Up Remedies In Trademark Cases

    The remedies provided under the Lanham Act need to be updated to provide more consistent results and tougher penalties for trademark litigants, some attorneys say. Here, Law360 breaks down three proposed ideas for how it might be done.

  • April 16, 2014

    USPTO Takes Second Shot At Patent Eligibility Guidance

    The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office said Wednesday that it's already updating its recent guidelines for determining whether inventions stemming from natural materials are patent eligible, noting that many practitioners have misunderstood the office's original examples.

  • April 16, 2014

    Feds Asked To Regulate 'Orange Clouds' Caused By Mining

    The environmental group WildEarth Guardians on Monday asked the U.S. Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement to clamp down on mining activity that leads to the creation of so-called orange clouds of gas, saying experts have found the clouds to have concentrations of nitrogen oxides that exceed safety limits.

  • April 16, 2014

    FBI Set To Launch Facial Recognition Database, EFF Says

    The FBI is on track to roll out a massive facial recognition database holding records on as much as one-third of the U.S. population by this summer, digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation revealed on Monday, amid a growing debate over what limits should be placed on the technology's governmental and commercial use.

  • April 16, 2014

    Wiley Rein Adds FAA Vet To Aviation, Drone Practices

    Wiley Rein LLP said Monday that it has hired a Federal Aviation Administration attorney with more than 30 years of regulatory experience to its aviation and unmanned aircraft groups, bolstering its efforts to stay ahead of the competition in the emerging field of drone law.

  • April 16, 2014

    Sens. Probe GM Switch Supplier's Role In Recall

    General Motors Co.'s ignition switch supplier Delphi Automotive PLC became the target of an inquiry Tuesday by senators questioning its role in producing the allegedly defective switches, which have led to at least 13 fatal crashes, and in the decade-long delay in addressing it.

  • April 16, 2014

    Energy Cos. Wary As Calif. Fracking Moratorium Gains Favor

    Hydraulic fracturing in California is at a crossroads, as mounting pressure from citizens and environmental groups pushes lawmakers toward a moratorium that would dismantle a new regulatory framework that allows energy developers to continue working, clouding the future of projects around the state.

  • April 16, 2014

    Panel Backs Fla. County Inspector's Call For Ethics Officer

    The committee that appointed the inspector general for South Florida's Broward County voted Wednesday to back his proposal that the county create a single ethics officer and a review panel to improve implementation of the ethics code that covers local officials.

  • April 16, 2014

    DOJ Wary Of Offering Bounties To Antitrust Whistleblowers

    Implementing a bounty program for employees blowing the whistle on criminal antitrust behavior could lead to weaker witnesses at cartel trials and to a flood of false leads, a top U.S. Department of Justice official said Wednesday.

  • April 16, 2014

    Huge NY Wage Hike Bill Would Touch Off Litigation Bonanza

    A bill to nearly double the hourly minimum wage large New York businesses pay to $15 would keep New York lawyers busy for years by setting the plaintiffs bar on the hunt for misclassifications and other missteps and spurring employers to argue the law doesn't apply to them, experts said Wednesday.

  • April 16, 2014

    AT&T May Bail On Spectrum Auction If Restrictions Adopted

    AT&T Inc. on Wednesday warned that it may not participate in the Federal Communications Commission's planned auction of low-frequency broadcast television spectrum if the agency adopts restrictions on the amount of spectrum it can purchase.

  • April 16, 2014

    Coal Plants See Sliver Of Hope In EPA Mercury Rule Win

    The D.C. Circuit's decision Tuesday to uphold the Obama administration's rule limiting mercury and other toxic emissions from coal- and oil-fired power plants is another blow to the coal industry, but experts say a judge's dissent over the administration brushing aside the rule's costs provides the roadmap for a likely industry appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

  • April 16, 2014

    NYC Taxi Group Looks To Put Brakes On Crash Testing Rules

    A New York City taxi trade association sued the city in state court Friday, seeking to have recent rules mandating crash testing struck down as an illegal effort to compel the use of one vehicle model.

  • April 16, 2014

    Half Of Americans Think Taxes Hit Middle Class Too Hard

    Nearly half of Americans believe that the middle class is paying too much in taxes, according to a Gallup poll released Monday that suggests public opinion on tax reform is more polarized than ever before.

  • April 16, 2014

    Colo. House Backs 'Advanced Industries' Tax Credit

    The Colorado House of Representatives on Tuesday approved legislation that would create a new tax credit for individuals investing in aerospace, bioscience, information technology and energy startups within the state.

  • April 16, 2014

    Fed. Agencies Don't Track Costs Of NEPA Reviews: Report

    Federal agencies are not maintaining adequate records or routinely tracking costs associated with environmental reviews required by the National Environmental Policy Act, the U.S. Government and Accountability Office said in a report released Tuesday.

  • April 16, 2014

    Christie Wants To Ditch NJ Realty Transfer Fees

    New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Tuesday that he would happily abolish real estate transfer fees in New Jersey, but due to political pressure, lawmakers in the state refuse to pass a bill nixing the tax.

Expert Analysis

  • CFTC Data Will Be A Powerful Tool For FERC Enforcement

    Terry S. Arbit

    The Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission recently signed two long-awaited memoranda of understanding, the lower-profile information-sharing one, which provides FERC with “large trader data” in the CFTC’s possession, being the more significant. Regulators achieved a significant victory by including surveillance purposes in the memo — it was a long time coming and provides FERC with a potent tool for surveilling the natural gas and power markets, say attorneys at Norton Rose Fulbright.

  • Antitrust Guidance On Cybersecurity Reaffirms Old Approach

    Jamillia Ferris

    Though the antitrust agencies’ recent policy statement on cybersecurity information-sharing is consistent with prior guidance, it is significant. It is not likely that cybersecurity legislation will become law anytime soon, and this statement responds to industry’s concerns by clearly establishing that properly designed and executed cyberthreat information-sharing does not raise antitrust concerns, say Jamillia Padua Ferris and Paul Tiao of Hunton & Williams LLP.

  • The 6 Most Important Changes To Russian Pledge Rules

    Alexey Kukharev

    Among the most significant changes being made to the Russian Civil Code is the introduction of the security trustee concept, which will strengthen syndicated lending and asset-backed security structures involving Russian collateral, and will bring the Russian legal system into harmony with the most developed legal systems in the world in this area, says Alexey Kukharev of Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP.

  • Sweet Or Sour Development? EPA Tightens Tier 3 Gas Program

    Brenna K. Finn

    Gasoline sulfur levels have dropped up to 90 percent from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Tier 2 Gasoline Sulfur Program, and the EPA's recently issued notice for the Tier 3 Program will further reduce gasoline sulfur content. However, it does not take much for a refinery to exceed the 10 ppm sulfur standard, and a stronger incentive may exist for refiners to generate and bank credits for their own future use, say Laura Riese and Brenna Finn of Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP.

  • Calif.'s Small Step Toward 'Redevelopment 2.0'?

    Laurie N. Gustafson

    More than two years after Gov. Jerry Brown and the California Legislature dissolved the state's 400-plus redevelopment agencies, the governor has begun addressing their replacement by proposing to revise and expand the use of infrastructure financing districts. The proposal, however, appears to be only a small step toward “Redevelopment 2.0,” with many expressing concerns that the new tax-increment financing tools may not be as effective as redevelopment, says Laurie Gustafson of Sedgwick LLP.

  • Inside Calif.'s De Facto Moratorium On Well Stimulation

    Michael N. Mills

    California's SB 4 requires the state's Division of Oil, Gas & Geothermal Resources to develop a permitting scheme to regulate the use of well-stimulation practices, including hydraulic fracturing. However, the division's interim regulations have created more problems than they've solved and established a de facto moratorium that the state Legislature and governor rejected in 2013, say Michael Mills and Chelsea Huffman of Stoel Rives LLP.

  • 'Internet Of Things' 101: Legal Concerns

    Philip Blum

    The "Internet of Things" — a decentralized network of “smart” objects — is only just beginning to change the way people live and work in the U.S. and around the world. The possibilities seem infinite. But the challenges to legal and policy concerns may yet prove even more difficult than the hurdles of science and engineering that brought us here, say Philip Blum and Bryan Goff of Bingham McCutchen LLP.

  • The British (Financial Regulatory Principles) Are Coming!

    Manley Williams

    Regulation of financial products and services in the United States historically has relied on rules-based regulatory policy, governing business processes including disclosures relating to terms, pricing, structure and marketing. The U.K. has been a leader in applying principles-based regulation, which governs conduct at a higher level of generality. It is clear that strands of the British approach are gaining hold in the U.S., say attorneys with BuckleySandler LLP.

  • Will Dodd-Frank’s Diversity Mandates Go Far Enough?

    Doreen E. Lilienfeld

    Section 342 of the Dodd-Frank Act and recent diversity standards proposed by regulated agencies may impact employment and recruiting practices, but it is unclear whether they will actually lead to greater diversity and inclusion at financial services institutions. To begin with, there is no enforcement mechanism under Section 342, and the proposed standards do not mandate reporting, disclosure or other specific actions, say Doreen Lilienfeld and Amy Gitlitz Bennett of Shearman & Sterling LLP.

  • Troubled Waters Ahead: CWA Rule Sure To Rock The Boat

    Radcliffe Dann IV

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' recently proposed rule defining the jurisdictional “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act attempts to clarify the regulatory impact of Rapanos v. U.S. Since a few courts have held that groundwater hydrologically connected to regulated waters of the U.S. can be regulated under the CWA, the rule is important to stakeholders — the current proposed rule contains no such exception, say attorneys at Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP.