Public Policy

  • August 28, 2014

    Tweaked Calif. Ridesharing Insurance Bill Gets Senate's OK

    The California Senate on Wednesday approved a bill to amend state law and clarify insurance requirements for transportation network companies, the same day that a compromise to make insurance more affordable in the legislation prompted ridesharing companies Lyft and Uber to withdraw their opposition.

  • August 28, 2014

    Winners In 10th Circ. Marriage Ruling Seek High Court Review

    The couples who won a Tenth Circuit decision striking down Utah’s law against same-sex marriage joined their legal foes in asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review the decision in an unusual move intended to prompt the high court to make the decision apply nationally.

  • August 28, 2014

    Kilpatrick Townsend Partner Nominated As Next 'IP Czar'

    President Barack Obama has nominated Danny Marti, managing partner of Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP's Washington, D.C., office, to become the second U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator after the "IP czar" post remained empty for more than a year, the firm said Thursday.

  • August 28, 2014

    EEOC Pregnancy Light-Duty View Points Way For Calif. Suits

    While the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s recent pregnancy discrimination guidance is likely to have more influence on states that lack pregnancy rules as comprehensive as those in California, the guidelines could spur Golden State cases by workers looking to champion the idea that employers already offering light-duty positions make them available to pregnant workers.

  • August 28, 2014

    Florida Supreme Court Affirms Power Rate Hikes

    The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday affirmed an energy rate hike package that had been approved by the state's Public Service Commission, ruling that the PSC provided adequate notice for opponents to be heard and that the decision was based on sound evidence.

  • August 28, 2014

    Pa. Expands Medicaid In Win For Hospitals, Insurers

    The Obama administration on Thursday approved Pennsylvania’s plans to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, a win for hospitals and private insurers that should reap big financial benefits as an estimated 600,000 residents gain coverage.

  • August 28, 2014

    House Science Chair Casts Suspicious Eye On EPA Maps

    House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, on Wednesday argued that a series of maps recently made public by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reveal that the agency is attempting to covertly put private property under its jurisdiction through a new bid to update the Clean Water Act.

  • August 28, 2014

    IRS Delivers Guidance, Forms For ACA Employer Mandate

    The Internal Revenue Service on Thursday released draft forms and guidance instructing employers on how to comply with reporting requirements arising from the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate.

  • August 28, 2014

    Pa. Stakeholders Mull Ride-Sharing Insurance Requirements

    As Uber and Lyft seek permanent approval to operate in Pennsylvania, industry and government stakeholders on Thursday pushed for clearly delineated insurance requirements for the ride-share providers, saying the state needs to catch up with a quickly changing transportation landscape.

  • August 28, 2014

    NYC Kicks $42M To School Bus Drivers

    New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday signed legislation that grants up to $42 million to school bus drivers, represented by Local 1181 of the Amalgamated Transit Union, whose employers signed contracts under the previous mayor that did not guarantee protections including job security.

  • August 28, 2014

    Texas Judge Finds School Tax System Still Unconstitutional

    A Texas state judge on Thursday ruled for the second time that the state unevenly pays for its school system with an unconstitutional statewide property tax, echoing his February 2013 decision despite the subsequent passage of state laws restoring some funding cuts.

  • August 28, 2014

    CMS Gets Heat On Elimination Of Sunshine Act Exemption

    The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is facing heavy pressure from doctors to modify its plan to subject the financial support by drug and device makers of continuing medical education to disclosure under the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, records show.

  • August 28, 2014

    EU Sets Rules For Investor-State Dispute Settlement

    The European Union on Thursday adopted a set of rules holding it financially responsible for disputes over trade agreements between it or its member states and the financial institutions of nations outside the bloc only when its institutions or laws are the cause.

  • August 28, 2014

    Commerce Formally Reopens Trade Panels To Lobbyists

    The U.S. Department of Commerce on Thursday officially amended its internal rules by inviting federally registered lobbyists to fill slots on 16 international trade advisory committees as it aims to settle a lawsuit filed by lobbyists that were barred from participation under the previous policy.

  • August 28, 2014

    Ranchers Challenge Endangered Species Listing Procedures

    Two ranch owners and a cadre of agricultural groups filed suit Wednesday against the U.S. Department of the Interior in Oklahoma federal court, claiming the federal government violated the Endangered Species Act by prematurely classifying a type of wild chicken as “threatened” as part of a settlement agreement.

  • August 28, 2014

    Calif. Lawmakers OK Bill To Reduce Pipeline Methane Leaks

    California lawmakers on Wednesday approved legislation that would force natural gas companies to devise ways to clamp down on methane leaks from their pipelines, joining other federal and state efforts to reduce emissions of the short-lived, but potent, greenhouse gas.

  • August 28, 2014

    NH Supreme Court Upholds Educational Voucher Tax Credit

    New Hampshire's Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a state education tax credit program that funds scholarships for religious and private school students, after finding the program's challengers lacked authority to bring the suit because they failed to show how the program specifically affects them.

  • August 28, 2014

    New ABA Enviro Boss Aims To Tear Down Practice Boundaries

    Environment, energy and resource attorneys must abandon their silos and work together so their clients aren't getting slivers of specialized service, Steven Miano, the new chairman of the American Bar Association’s environment wing, told Law360 this week.

  • August 28, 2014

    Watchdogs Warn States Against Floating Tesla Too Many Perks

    A five-state bidding war for Tesla Motors' $5 billion "Gigafactory" could give away more concessions than their treasuries could afford, said a coalition of Southwestern advocacy groups, joining other critics of the states' so-called "race to the bottom."

  • August 28, 2014

    US, Myanmar To Begin Work On Improving Labor Rights

    The U.S. and Myanmar on Thursday agreed to develop an initiative that will focus on bolstering and reforming the Southeast Asian nation's protection of labor rights, representing part of the Obama administration's ongoing effort to open the country up to U.S. trade and investment flows.

Expert Analysis

  • 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.

  • 5 Reasons Large Companies Are Turning To Boutique Firms

    David M. Levine

    The departure of attorneys from large firms is a trend that has increased as a result of the Great Recession and its aftermath, and boutique firm partners who previously worked at large firms understand the potential large-firm pitfalls, say attorneys with Levine Kellogg Lehman Schneider & Grossman 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.