Public Policy

  • January 28, 2015

    Enviros Criticize EPA's Delay Of Power Plant Emissions Rule

    A coalition of national and regional environmental groups including Greenpeace USA and the Center for Biological Diversity accused the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday of caving to special interests by delaying the implementation of greenhouse gas emission curbs for power plants.

  • January 28, 2015

    Ala. Chief Justice Faces Ethics Case Over Marriage Letter

    Alabama Chief Justice Roy S. Moore faces an ethics complaint filed Wednesday over a letter to the state’s governor that quoted both the Bible and the Constitution in saying that he would not recognize same-sex marriages despite a federal court ruling last week.

  • January 28, 2015

    US Reps. Rush and Barton Reintroduce DATA Act

    U.S. Representatives Bobby L. Rush, D-Ill., and Joe Barton, R-Texas, reintroduced the Data Accountability and Trust Act on Wednesday in honor of global Data Privacy Day.

  • January 28, 2015

    FDIC Can’t Ease ‘Choke Point’ On Its Own, Industry Says

    The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. on Wednesday took steps to encourage banks to keep doing business with risky corporate clients to ease concerns over the Justice Department’s “Operation Choke Point,” but other regulators will have to enact similar policies to ease fears, industry representatives said.

  • January 28, 2015

    Consumers Back Strong Privacy Rules In US-EU Trade Pact

    A consortium of prominent consumer advocacy groups on Wednesday endorsed a proposal floated by European Union lawmakers that would shield privacy rules from any effort to streamline the flow of data in the ongoing Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations with the U.S.

  • January 28, 2015

    US Loses Bid To Stay Fannie, Freddie Takeover Suit

    The U.S. federal government won't be able to pause a suit alleging it had unconstitutionally altered its bailout deal for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to keep the companies' profits for itself, a U.S. Court of Federal Claims judge said Wednesday.

  • January 28, 2015

    FDA Boosts Defibrillator Oversight After Device Failures

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday finalized rules requiring a stricter review of external defibrillators — devices paramedics use to treat sudden heart attacks — citing tens of thousands of reports of failures of such devices since 2005 and related recalls affecting millions of units.

  • January 28, 2015

    EPA Wins FOIA Suit Over Farmers' Personal Info

    A Minnesota federal judge on Tuesday tossed two farm groups’ attempts to block the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from releasing addresses and other information about large-scale animal farms under the Freedom of Information Act, ruling the information was already publicly available.

  • January 28, 2015

    Democratic Sens. Call For Vote On Clean DHS Funding Bill

    A letter signed by 45 Democratic senators was sent to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on Tuesday, asking for a clean spending bill that funds the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for the remainder of the fiscal year and includes funding for President Barack Obama's executive actions on immigration.

  • January 28, 2015

    Sens. Move To Revive Electronic Privacy Reform Bill

    A bipartisan pair of U.S. senators on Wednesday stepped up their long-running push to update the Electronic Communications Privacy Act by announcing their plans to reintroduce legislation that would raise the bar for government access to user data stored by service providers such as Google Inc. and Facebook Inc.

  • January 28, 2015

    Law Profs Ask To Weigh In On EPA Emissions Rule Row

    A group of law professors have asked the D.C. Circuit to allow them to file an amicus brief backing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants, saying the agency is empowered to put the plan into effect under the Clean Air Act.

  • January 28, 2015

    Obama Tax Plan Found To Yield Small Gains For Middle Class

    Middle-income earners would see only a modest benefit under President Barack Obama's recently proposed tax plan, while the changes would shift income from the very wealthy to the poor, according to estimates released Wednesday by the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center.

  • January 28, 2015

    Silver Arrest Could Complicate 421-A Renewal Talks

    In New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's recent indictment, a controversial property tax abatement program known as 421-a was implicated in the federal bribery and kickback charges. Now, some experts say the implications and Silver's arrest could throw a wrench in the program's renewal negotiations this summer.

  • January 28, 2015

    HomeAway's SF Rental Ordinance Dispute Axed On Standing

    A California federal judge dismissed HomeAway Inc.'s suit against San Francisco alleging the city was violating the Commerce Clause by restricting short-term rental activity and requiring such vacation rental companies to collect taxes, ruling Tuesday that HomeAway lacked standing.

  • January 28, 2015

    Democrats Rip ACA Subsidies Suit At Supreme Court

    A legal challenge to Affordable Care Act tax credits hasn’t found credible evidence that Congress limited subsidies in order to encourage creation of state insurance marketplaces, high-ranking Democratic lawmakers told the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday.

  • January 28, 2015

    House GOP Takes Another Stab At Repealing ACA

    For at least the third time this year, and echoing dozens of unsuccessful attempts last year, Republican legislators have introduced in the House of Representatives a bill that would fully repeal the Affordable Care Act.

  • January 28, 2015

    Anti-Trafficking Rule Sets New Contractor Compliance Regs

    A long-awaited rule to address human trafficking in federal contracts is set to be published by the U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Government Accountability Office and NASA in Thursday's Federal Register, introducing new compliance and enforcement policies for contractors and subcontractors.

  • January 28, 2015

    Futures Industry Group Calls On SEC To Simplify Reg NMS

    An association representing more than 20 firms trading their own capital joined a growing debate over equity market structure reform Wednesday, calling on the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to simplify Regulation NMS, a set of rules passed in 2007 to modernize the U.S. equities markets.

  • January 28, 2015

    DOL To Modernize 1970 Sex Discrimination Regulations

    Seeking to revoke and replace sex discrimination guidelines that have not been substantially updated since 1970, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs announced Wednesday a notice of proposed rule-making to create new regulations for contractors and subcontractors to clarify provisions related to compensation, pregnancy and harassment.

  • January 28, 2015

    Landmark Wants Criminal Sanctions Against EPA In FOIA Row

    The Landmark Legal Foundation urged a D.C. federal judge on Wednesday to impose criminal sanctions against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for allegedly erasing emails during discovery in a Freedom of Information Act suit, saying a civil contempt charge would be "a pinprick" for the agency.

Expert Analysis

  • FDA Policy On Wellness Products Is Healthy For Industry

    Erin M. Bosman

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's shift away from needlessly regulating low-risk products as presented in its draft guidance on general wellness products is significant since, if implemented, manufacturers would be able to say more about the well-known health benefits of their products without risking FDA regulation, say Erin Bosman and Joanna Simon of Morrison & Foerster LLP.

  • Obama's Data Breach Law Is Just What The Doctor Ordered

    Boris Segalis

    The White House's proposed single national breach notification standard — the Personal Data Notification and Protection Act — contains a number of requirements that reflect the commonalities among the various existing state breach notification laws, but also proposes some new obligations, say Boris Segalis and David Navetta of Norton Rose Fulbright.

  • White Collar Exemption Changes May Increase Labor Costs

    Michael V. Abcarian

    When the U.S. Department of Labor publishes the specifics of its anticipated changes to the white collar exemption rule in February, it is a virtual certainty the DOL will impose a substantially higher minimum salary for valid application of the Fair Labor Standards Act's administrative, executive and professional exemptions, says Michael Abcarian of Fisher & Phillips LLP.

  • New Coal Ash Standard May Reignite Tax-Exempt Bond Market

    Mary Nash Rusher

    The Environmental Protection Agency’s recent determination that coal ash is solid waste could have a material impact on capital expenditures relating to coal ash. Coal plant owners should be aware that the final rule provides certain financing benefits by clarifying the ability to finance certain facilities with tax-exempt bonds, say Mary Nash Rusher and S. Christina Kwon of Hunton & Williams LLP.

  • 11 Ways To Reform NY's Brownfield Cleanup Program

    Lawrence P. Schnapf

    All stakeholders agree the Brownfield Cleanup Program has significantly driven the cleanup and redevelopment of contaminated properties in New York state. There is also broad consensus that the program should be extended, but with changes to better target tax credits to sites that need them most. A number of recommendations are now on the table, say co-chairmen of the New York State Bar Association's Brownfield Task Force.

  • 5 Employment Laws Calif. Businesses Should Know In 2015

    Hilary Weddell

    The California Legislature recently enacted a number of wide-ranging employment laws that will affect California businesses in 2015, including expanded discrimination protections to interns, required anti-bullying training and a codified joint employer liability, says Hilary Weddell of McManis Faulkner.

  • China's Draft Foreign Investment Guidance Is Encouraging

    Woon-Wah Siu

    The draft of China's new Foreign Investment Guidance Catalogue lifts restrictions on foreign investment in dozens of service and general manufacture industries and would relax Chinese ownership requirements. Although foreign investors still would have to operate in some of these industries through Sino-foreign joint ventures, control by the Chinese partners would no longer be required, say Woon-Wah Siu and Liang Tao of Pillsbury Wi... (continued)

  • Preemption Questions For Ill. Payroll Deduction IRA Plan

    Joni Andrioff

    There are important differences between the federal myRA program and Illinois Secure Choice Savings Program Act and it remains an open question whether a state law requiring employers to participate in a state-run payroll deduction individual retirement account program is preempted by Section 514(a) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, say Joni Andrioff and Eric Serron of Steptoe & Johnson LLP.

  • DOD Credit Rule May Limit Lending To Service Members

    Leonard N. Chanin

    With the U.S. Department of Defense's comment period regarding proposed changes to the way it intends to apply the Military Lending Act to new types of creditors and credit products now closed, harsh results from violating the MLA are likely to give lenders pause when providing credit to covered persons and could result in a negative impact on lending to service members and their families, say Leonard Chanin and Ryan Rogers of Morr... (continued)

  • Tracking The Transparency Of Enviro Justice Policies

    Mark R. Ter Molen

    The execution of recent state and federal regulatory agency initiatives over environmental justice raises legal questions regarding transparency. While some mapping and screening tools and their underlying methodologies are publicly accessible, others are not, and the regulated community is unable to “audit” assessments when faced with seemingly arbitrary decision-making, say attorneys at Mayer Brown LLP.