Public Policy

  • August 29, 2014

    Keystone XL's Fate May Hinge On Neb. Supreme Court Ruling

    The Nebraska Supreme Court has set a Sept. 5 hearing to consider the state’s challenge to a decision striking down a law that authorizes the governor to approve the route for the Keystone XL pipeline — a case the Obama administration has said will have a huge impact on whether the controversial project can move forward.

  • August 29, 2014

    Texas Federal Judge Strikes Down State Abortion Restrictions

    A Texas federal judge deemed unconstitutional two major state abortion restrictions Friday, just days before one was scheduled to take effect, saying that the laws place undue hardships on women seeking abortions and prompting the state to immediately appeal.

  • August 29, 2014

    Commerce Flags Thai Plastic Bags For Anti-Dumping Duties

    The Department of Commerce said Friday that it would order U.S. Customs and Border Protection to assess anti-dumping duties on plastic merchandise bags imported from Thailand, following a ruling earlier this year that the bags were being sold at below fair value in the U.S.

  • August 29, 2014

    Medicare Floats Deal To Clear Hospital Appeals Backlog

    The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on Friday offered to pay 68 cents on the dollar to hospitals that drop appeals of rejected claims for inpatient reimbursement, potentially helping clear an epic appeals backlog that’s infuriated providers and sparked litigation.

  • August 29, 2014

    Gay Marriage Ban Challenges Cleared For Florida High Court

    A Florida appeals court has rejected the state attorney general's request to stay its appeals of two rulings overturning the state's same-sex marriage ban, instead consolidating and certifying them for consideration by the Florida Supreme Court.

  • August 29, 2014

    Health Providers Get More Time To Meet E-Record Standards

    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Friday finalized a rule that will give eligible medical professionals and hospitals more time to meet the increasingly demanding standards for use of electronic health records, citing certification delays for necessary records technology.

  • August 29, 2014

    $42M Payday For NYC School Bus Drivers Ripe For Challenge

    A move by New York City leaders to mitigate pay cuts imposed on school bus drivers under less labor-friendly contracting rules by granting them $42 million is rankling spending watchdogs as well as contractors who won't accept the payout quietly, experts say.

  • August 29, 2014

    Va., Okla. Same-Sex Couples Urge High Court To Hear Cases

    Following decisions in their favor, same-sex couples from Virginia and Oklahoma have urged the U.S. Supreme Court to review rulings that found against same-sex marriage bans in their states, saying the time is now to clarify whether those types of prohibitions are unconstitutional.

  • August 29, 2014

    FERC Nominee Could Help Mend Fences With States

    With a pragmatic reputation as Arkansas' top utility regulator and head of the national umbrella group for state utility chiefs, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission nominee Colette Honorable could help mend frayed relations between the commission and states over electric grid policy, including FERC's controversial transmission planning rule, experts say.

  • August 29, 2014

    Ala. Asks Supreme Court To Nix Race Bias Suit Over Tax Law

    The state of Alabama has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to deny an appeal filed by a group of schoolchildren who claim the state's property laws are unconstitutional and racist, saying the students are unlikely to receive any benefit if they prevail.

  • August 29, 2014

    EU Mulls More Russia Sanctions As IMF Lends Ukraine $1.4B

    European diplomats on Friday warned of increased sanctions against Russia as President Vladimir Putin continued his military incursion into eastern Ukraine, while the International Monetary Fund pledged $1.39 billion in bailout loans to prop up the Ukrainian economy.

  • August 29, 2014

    Energy Groups Challenge EPA Carbon Solid Waste Regulation

    Three energy groups on Thursday urged the D.C. Circuit to reject an U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulation calling carbon dioxide emissions “solid waste” when transported in pipelines and stored in geological formation, arguing the rule contradicts Congress' intent. 

  • August 29, 2014

    Calif. Bill On Uber, Lyft Insurance Offers Road Map For Pa.

    A bill moving through the California Legislature that puts commercial insurers for ridesharing companies on the hook as soon as the app is activated will be a useful guide as Pennsylvania seeks to establish standards for companies like Uber and Lyft, representatives for trial lawyers and insurers say in a rare point of agreement.

  • August 29, 2014

    Revolving-Door Roundup: DLA Piper, Akin Gump, Covington

    August saw a number of big names move back and forth between the government and BigLaw, and no firm played a bigger role in that movement than DLA Piper. Of the nine attorneys who crossed the public-private divide, three of them now call DLA Piper home.

  • August 29, 2014

    Reps. Push Budget Authority, Not User Fees, To Fund FSMA

    Lawmakers have asked the Office of Management and Budget to seek a higher budget authority in 2016 to fund the Food Safety Modernization Act, adding that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration should drop its request for user-fee funding that has failed several times to win congressional approval. 

  • August 29, 2014

    Enviros Urge Calif. Court To Block $477M Sacramento Arena

    A $477 million sports arena planned for downtown Sacramento, California, was wrongfully pushed through an expedited approval process with the help of an unconstitutional law, environmental activists who seek to block the project argued in a brief filed Friday in California appeals court.

  • August 29, 2014

    Voter Coalition Appeals Fla. Court's OK Of Redrawn Maps

    A coalition of groups challenging the Florida Legislature's congressional district maps appealed on Friday an order approving new maps that were redrawn after two districts in Central and North Florida were ruled unconstitutional.

  • August 29, 2014

    Calif. Student Online Privacy Bills Head To Governor

    The California Legislature has sent to the governor's desk a pair of groundbreaking student online privacy bills that would prohibit school districts and their third-party partners from surreptitiously analyzing students' social media postings and using their personal educational data to target advertising.

  • August 29, 2014

    Meal Delivery Cos. Not Liable For Sales Tax On Fees, NY Says

    Online food ordering companies don't count as food vendors and don't have to pay sales tax on their service fees on individual orders, according to an advisory opinion recently issued by the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance.

  • August 29, 2014

    Pressure Grows For Statewide Paid Sick Leave In NJ

    Paid sick leave measures pending in several New Jersey towns are increasing the pressure for a uniform statewide standard, and while a bill poised for consideration in September currently calls for more time off for workers than local proposals do, that could be a tough sell to Gov. Chris Christie.

Expert Analysis

  • Calif. Anti-Fracking Ordinances On Shaky Legal Ground

    Jeffrey D. Dintzer

    Compton’s hydraulic fracturing ban may implicate the Takings Clause of the U.S. and California Constitutions since fracking is meant to access energy resources that cannot otherwise be extracted from the underlying property — the ban could constitute a taking of private property without just compensation, say Jeffrey Dintzer and Nathaniel Johnson of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP.

  • Distracted Driving: Technology As A Double-Edged Sword

    Joshua L. Becker

    Vehicle manufacturers and lawmakers alike have been making efforts to reduce the number of automobile accidents caused by distracted driving. Interestingly, technology can both contribute to distracted driving and offer solutions that help mitigate it, say Joshua Becker and Bradley Strickland of Alston & Bird LLP.

  • NY Joins Texas In The Broad Use Of Appraisal

    Steven J. Badger

    New York's scope of appraisal after a recent change in state insurance law appears to support an appraisal process even broader than Texas' after that state's high court decided State Farm Lloyds v. Johnson, says Steven Badger of Zelle Hofmann Voelbel & Mason LLP.

  • Tracking Fracking: Where Is Ill. 1 Year Later?

    Lawrence W. Falbe

    While final hydraulic fracturing regulations in Illinois can reasonably expect approval by mid-October, the rules may be challenged on the basis that the Illinois Department of Natural Resources did not properly consider all public comments and revise them accordingly, say Lawrence Falbe and Sanford Stein of Quarles & Brady LLP.

  • Noteworthy Changes To The Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act

    Laura Amato

    A series of discrete amendments to the Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act — now renamed the Uniform Voidable Transactions Act — should promote better uniformity across secured lending and bankruptcy practices and provide better guidance to both courts and litigants about how avoidance actions should be adjudicated, say Jonathan Korman and Laura Amato of Reed Smith LLP.

  • EPA's Concern Over TCE Vapor Intrusion Is Misguided

    Richard C. Coffin

    A recently issued memo from a director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on short-term trichloroethylene exposure levels in Region 9 should be reconsidered — if there is a legitimate weight of scientific evidence supporting them, then they should be applied to all Superfund sites, say attorneys of Barg Coffin Lewis and Trapp LLP.

  • A 2014 US-UK Criminal Competition Law Roundup

    Trupti Reddy

    Recent developments indicate that the regulatory mood in the United States and U.K. is increasingly shifting toward going after not only companies involved in cartel activity, but also individuals working at those companies, say Trupti Reddy and Chime Metok Dorjee of Edwards Wildman Palmer UK LLP.

  • Trademark Law Leaves Legal Marijuana Sellers High And Dry

    Molly M. Crandall

    In what other industry can one establish a legal business, but not obtain federal trademark protection for its goods and services? The closest analogy is to legal brothel services in Nevada — yet, Nevada brothels have obtained federal registrations for their trademarks, say Molly Crandall and Laura Ernst of Brooks Kushman PC.

  • Vague Deadline For Pre-Award Protests Has Silver Lining

    Terrence O’Connor

    The Federal Circuit has created a “deadline” for government contractors considering a pre-award protest at the U.S. Court of Federal Claims that fails to create the bright-line point-in-time so essential to a traditional deadline. But there's a subtle silver lining for unsuccessful offerors, says Terrence O’Connor of Berenzweig Leonard LLP.

  • As Climate Changes So Does Focus On Methane Emissions

    Andrew R. Wheeler

    Given that the Obama administration has focused almost entirely on carbon dioxide up until now, stakeholders should be prepared for the president to move quickly and aggressively to reduce methane emissions from the natural gas sector in the coming months, say attorneys at Faegre Baker Daniels LLP.