Public Policy

  • September 27, 2016

    Facebook Can't Collect WhatsApp Data: German Regulator

    A German data protection regulator on Tuesday ordered Facebook to stop using and immediately destroy any data on German users that it had obtained from its subsidiary WhatsApp, saying that the new data-sharing arrangement flies in the face of the duo's earlier promises to keep the information separate.

  • September 27, 2016

    FTC Heads Face Senate Scrutiny Over Data Security Approach

    The heads of the Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday defended their recent decision to continue to press data security claims in a case where no consumers suffered financial harm, although they did push U.S. Senate lawmakers for additional powers to close gaps in their ability to regulate privacy issues.

  • September 27, 2016

    DC Circ. Puts Clean Power Plan Foes, Backers On Hot Seat

    Ten D.C. Circuit judges wrestled Tuesday with the Obama administration’s ambitious plan to slash greenhouse gas emissions at existing power plants, grilling government, industry and environmental attorneys about the new rule’s constitutionality and the EPA’s authority to craft it.

  • September 27, 2016

    Christie Enjoyed Lane Closures, GWB Scandal Architect Says

    The government's star witness testified Tuesday at the George Washington Bridge lane-closing trial that he and one of the defendants bragged to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie about causing a traffic jam to punish a mayor for not endorsing the governor for re-election and that Christie “seemed to be enjoying it.”

  • September 27, 2016

    ‘Airbnb And The Rentals Of Doom’ Reported By NY Legislators

    Members of the New York state legislature issued a report Monday that found dangerous conditions in some Airbnb rentals in New York City that advertise space for large numbers of guests and called for new laws to help crack down.

  • September 27, 2016

    Family Businesses At Risk Under Clinton's Estate Tax Plan

    Family businesses that fail to budget early for covering estate taxes could face the threat of forced liquidation under Hillary Clinton's plan to hike estate tax rates, and an Internal Revenue Service proposal to prevent the undervaluation of transferred interests could compound the problem.

  • September 27, 2016

    Dems Slam Private Immigrant Detention Centers Amid Review

    Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and 11 other senators urged the Department of Homeland Security on Monday to freeze planned private detention facility procurements pending an internal review of the use of private contractors for immigration detention.

  • September 27, 2016

    11th Circ. Says Ex-Fla. Mayor Can't Escape Fraud Conviction

    The Eleventh Circuit ruled Tuesday that former North Miami Mayor Lucie Tondreau can't escape a conviction and over-five-year prison sentence for an $8 million scheme in which she and others used a radio show to recruit straw borrowers for fraudulent mortgage loans, saying it found no error in the lower court's decision.

  • September 27, 2016

    Calif. Gov Signs Bill To Limit Choice-Of-Law Provisions

    Employers in California can't require workers to arbitrate disputes outside the state starting Jan. 1, according to a bill signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Sunday that deems choice-of-law provisions in employment contracts illegal.

  • September 27, 2016

    NJ Court Clears Path For $1.15B Meadowlands Bond Sale

    A New Jersey state appeals court on Tuesday denied a nonprofit group’s attempt to block the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority from issuing $1.15 billion in bonds to pay for construction of the unfinished American Dream mall at the Meadowlands, saying the group’s arguments lacked merit.

  • September 27, 2016

    IRS Floats Guidance On Qualification Requirements For RICs

    The IRS released guidance Tuesday related to income test and asset diversification requirements that are used to determine whether a corporation may qualify as a regulated investment company for federal income tax purposes.

  • September 27, 2016

    Commerce Secretary Wants To Talk About Cyber Threats

    U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker wants business and government to talk more candidly about cybersecurity threats by making it easier for companies and institutions to acknowledge emerging cyber attacks without being reprimanded, the commerce secretary said on Tuesday.

  • September 27, 2016

    Flint Aid Looms Over Water Projects Bill In House

    House Republicans pushed forward Tuesday with consideration of the biennial Water Resources Development Act, despite a fight over aid to Flint, Michigan, that has increasingly tied the project authorization bill to efforts to keep the government running after the end of the week.

  • September 27, 2016

    IRS Tackles ‘Unnecessary’ QTIP Elections

    The IRS offered further relief Tuesday to widows and widowers when it released a new revenue procedure that nullifies estate tax deferrals that are unnecessary for reducing an estate tax to zero, treating as void an irrevocable decision with potentially adverse tax consequences.

  • September 27, 2016

    Senate Dems Demand Garland Vote Before Fall Recess

    Democratic senators on Tuesday again called on their Republican counterparts to hold a confirmation hearing and vote on President Barack Obama’s U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Merrick B. Garland, demanding the vote take place before a pre-election recess.

  • September 27, 2016

    FCC Commish Seeks Probe On Wi-Fi At Monday’s Debate

    Federal Communications Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel tweeted Tuesday that she has asked the Enforcement Bureau to investigate the “Wi-Fi situation” at Hofstra University during the presidential debate Monday night, citing past FCC action for Wi-Fi blocking amid reports that the school forced reporters onto its network at a price of $200.

  • September 27, 2016

    CFTC Chair Tackles Stress Tests At Clearinghouses

    The head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission said Tuesday the agency is working on its own supervisory or regulatory stress tests of domestic clearinghouses to analyze the impact of potentially stressful events on clearinghouses and their members.

  • September 27, 2016

    Auto Group Concerned With ‘Flawed’ Future Emissions Report

    The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers on Monday expressed concern with a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report examining automakers’ ability to meet greenhouse gas emissions standards and implement fuel-efficient technologies for light-duty vehicles, calling the study’s data and analyses “flawed.”

  • September 27, 2016

    Groups Blast 'Intrusive' TSA Body Scanner Rule At DC Circ.

    The Competitive Enterprise Institute and the Electronic Privacy Information Center both told the D.C. Circuit on Monday that the Transportation Security Administration's recent final rule on airport body scanners downplays the technology's intrusiveness and has actually heightened travel risks by inducing people to drive instead of fly.

  • September 27, 2016

    Business Data Rate Regs Will Hurt Workers, Union Tells FCC

    The Communications Workers of America has told the Federal Communications Commission that any new regulatory scheme for the special access services market that imposes a “drastic” rate cut could hurt workers’ jobs and standards of living, according to a filing posted Tuesday.

Expert Analysis

  • Why Have Lawyers Forgotten About The Middle Class?

    Chas.jpg

    Sorry, fellow lawyers, judges and legislators, but the jig is up. It’s time to show the public the cards up our sleeves and give them a chance to weigh in on the fairness of a system that touches so many aspects of their everyday lives, says Chas Rampenthal, general counsel of LegalZoom.

  • EPA Signals Intent To Exercise TSCA Section 6 Authority

    Lawrence E. Culleen

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is poised to begin exercising its expanded regulatory authority over the makers and users of chemical substances pursuant to recent amendments to the Toxic Substances Control Act. In addition to other proposals, the EPA may soon publish proposed rules regulating uses of specific chemical substances under Section 6 of the TSCA, says Lawrence Culleen of Arnold & Porter LLP.

  • Small-Breach Focus Shows Growing Scope Of HIPAA Probes

    Joanna Bergmann

    Flexing more enforcement muscle, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently announced it will more widely investigate breaches of protected health information affecting fewer than 500 individuals. As a result, health care providers and other covered entities and their business associates should expect an uptick in the volume of enforcement actions triggered by small-scale breaches, say attorneys with Ropes & Gray LLP.

  • Tribal Consultation Opportunity Could Change US Landscape

    Lael Echo-Hawk

    The U.S. Department of Interior, U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of the Army have released a joint statement halting construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline and inviting tribes to discuss whether new legislation should be proposed in order to better protect tribal rights. Lael Echo-Hawk of Hobbs Straus Dean 7 Walker LLP discusses the steps tribes should take in order to make the most of this opportunity.

  • EPA Offers Insights For Retailer Waste Management

    Joseph S. Kakesh

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently published what it has termed a strategy for dealing with the management of hazardous wastes in the retail sector. Although the devil is in the details, the plan is potentially a promising step by the agency to provide the regulated community with greater clarity regarding its obligations in this complicated and confusing area, says Joseph Kakesh of Wiley Rein LLP.

  • Looking Ahead: Emerging Labor And Employment Law Trends

    Joel S. Barras

    With summer 2016 well behind us, employers should begin to plan for the major labor and employment law trends expected to emerge in the final quarter of the year and into 2017. From the looming overtime regulations to equal pay legislation and class action waivers, Joel Barras and Mark Goldstein of Reed Smith LLP dissect several of the developing trends in this arena.

  • In Congress: Ticktock

    Richard Hertling

    With five days to go before a government shutdown, the parties are not that far apart, but those differences have proven difficult to resolve, say Richard Hertling and Kaitlyn McClure of Covington & Burling LLP.

  • Clinton Vs. Trump On IP Law

    Jack Hicks

    At the presidential debate Monday night, we will hear about the distinct policy differences between Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump in such areas as immigration, national defense, crime and taxation. But this election also will set the tone for the future of intellectual property law, says Jack Hicks of Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice LLP.

  • What Employers Should Know About New Ill. Noncompete Law

    James M. Witz

    Illinois' recently enacted Freedom to Work Act prohibits nongovernmental employers from entering into noncompete agreements with low-wage employees. The new law is part of a greater focus by state and federal governments on ensuring the mobility of low-wage workers and preventing potential abuse of noncompete agreements, say Jim Witz and Abiman Rajadurai at Littler Mendelson PC.

  • Triclosan: Proposition 65’s Next BPA?

    Gabriel J. Padilla

    A new rule from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration bans the sale of over-the-counter antibacterial soaps containing certain chemicals, including triclosan. With this recent federal ban, and the growing evidence that triclosan may be harmful to human health, it could end up on the list of chemicals subject to California's Proposition 65 warning requirements, says Gabriel Padilla of Bick Law LLP.