Public Policy RSS

  • April 23, 2014

    Vt. Legislature Sends GMO Labeling Bill To Gov.

    Vermont is poised to become the first state to require mandatory labels on genetically modified food after its state House of Representatives approved a labeling bill on Wednesday, sending the bill to the governor's desk. 

  • April 23, 2014

    De Blasio Introduces Sandy Property Tax Relief Bill

    New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Wednesday proposed legislation that would provide relief to city homeowners who rebuilt or repaired their homes after Superstorm Sandy and who are soon facing a huge increase in their property tax bills.

  • April 23, 2014

    White House Tries To Table Rand Paul's Phone Spying Suit

    The White House, FBI and National Security Agency asked a D.C. federal judge to stay Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul’s proposed class action over the government’s phone call metadata collection practices, saying Wednesday that their appeal of an injunction on the program takes precedence.

  • April 23, 2014

    Fla. Bill Shielding Nursing Home Investors Heads To Gov.

    The Florida House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a bill that substantially reforms existing law regarding negligence lawsuits against nursing home facilities, shielding passive investors from liability but also adding teeth to enforcement.

  • April 23, 2014

    FCC To Introduce New Open Internet Rules

    The Federal Communications Commission will reportedly propose new net neutrality rules on Thursday that would allow content creators to pay Internet providers to guarantee faster access to consumers, replacing the regulations struck down by the D.C. Circuit in January.

  • April 23, 2014

    Mass. AG Jumps Into Experian Unit Data Breach Probe

    The Massachusetts attorney general on Tuesday revealed her involvement in a multistate probe into a data breach in which hackers gained access to Social Security numbers and bank account information for more than 200 million consumers through a unit of data provider Experian PLC.

  • April 23, 2014

    Port Authority OKs Minimum Wage Boost For Airport Workers

    The governing board of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey on Wednesday adopted a minimum wage policy that would start with a boost in pay for contract workers at three of the bistate agency's airports.

  • April 23, 2014

    DOE's Moniz Calls For 'Urgency' In Climate Change Action

    Energy Secretary Ernest J. Moniz said Wednesday the agency plans to harness all of its administrative authority to curb greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, maintaining it needs to take urgent action rather than waiting for congressional legislation.

  • April 23, 2014

    Fla. Lawmakers Push MLB To Ease Rules For Cuban Players

    Spurred by the recently reported dangers Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig faced being smuggled out of Cuba, two Florida lawmakers on Wednesday launched a bid to push Major League Baseball to change its rules regarding Cuban players by attaching the issue to a stadium financing bill.

  • April 23, 2014

    FTC Commish Warns Of State-Federal Divide In Consumer Law

    Federal Trade Commissioner Joshua Wright said Wednesday he believed that state and federal consumer law and regulations had drifted apart over time and that harmonizing their efforts could help both sides protect consumers and preserve regulators' limited resources.

  • April 23, 2014

    Fla. Senate Clears Amended Data-Breach Notification Law

    The Florida Senate on Wednesday passed amended information-protection legislation that proposes new required measures for companies and other entities to take in securing personal information and giving notice of data breaches.

  • April 23, 2014

    FDA Expected To Release E-Cigarette Regulations Soon

    Long-awaited rules for electronic cigarettes are expected to be released by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration this month, which could include a ban on sales to those under age 18, according to multiple news reports.

  • April 23, 2014

    COPPA Guide Updated To Tackle Student Privacy Concerns

    The Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday expanded its children's online privacy rule guidance to provide schools with more assistance in dealing with the hot-button issue of how to obtain consent for the collection of students' personal data.

  • April 23, 2014

    FDA Gets Heat On Pharma Ad Risk Disclosures

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is feeling pressure on multiple fronts as it considers relaxing risk disclosures in prescription drug commercials, according to comments released Wednesday from manufacturers trying to shape the agency's approach and a prominent consumer group expressing strong opposition.

  • April 23, 2014

    Grid May Not Be Ready To Lose Coal, FERC Official Says

    Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioner Philip Moeller expressed concern on Wednesday that the electric grid doesn't have the infrastructure to replace retiring coal and nuclear plants, saying some U.S. regions could be subject to rolling blackouts due to energy deficits in the next few years.

  • April 23, 2014

    CFPB Pushes For More Mortgage eClosings

    The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced on Wednesday a pilot program to determine if relying on electronic documents and other tools could make the mortgage closing process simpler, as part of a campaign to make it easier to buy a home.

  • April 23, 2014

    Dems Push SEC To Enact Conflict Minerals Rule

    A group of Democratic federal lawmakers on Tuesday urged the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission to implement a new rule requiring issuers to conduct due diligence and report on the sourcing of conflict minerals from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

  • April 23, 2014

    Ariz. Gov. Won't Expand Religious Property Tax Exemption

    Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer on Tuesday vetoed legislation that would have added leased property to a property tax exemption for religious institutions, saying the bill would have compounded assessors' administrative burdens and may not actually benefit tenants.

  • April 23, 2014

    Congressman Urges FTC To Take Action On Health M&A

    Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., has asked the Federal Trade Commission to issue better guidance on potential antitrust issues raised by Affordable Care Act-inspired health care mergers, after a federal court agreed with the agency that hospital operator St. Luke's Health System Ltd. must divest itself of a recently acquired physician practice.

  • April 23, 2014

    NJ Rolls Out New Sales Tax Regs On Software Sales

    The New Jersey Division of Taxation released proposed rules Monday clarifying the proper sales tax treatment of computer software and related software maintenance services, a move the regulator said is intended to clear up confusion within the industry.

Expert Analysis

  • Major Changes Come To China's Medical Device Industry

    Katherine Wang

    China’s medical device industry is going through rapid growth and change as the country's population ages and urbanizes. Recently promulgated regulations will reward innovative and ethical companies and also provide an opportunity for industry consolidation as noncompliant domestic players may be forced to exit the market, say Katherine Wang and Fan Yang of Ropes & Gray LLP.

  • Will Investors 'Like' SEC's New Social Media Ad Rules?

    Abigail Bertumen

    The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's recent guidance on third-party social media commentary in investment adviser advertising maintains existing agency principles while providing greater latitude under the Testimonial Rule. Advisers must be willing to adopt a fairly specific and practical policy for social media advertising, and policies should include ways of managing the "do's" and "don'ts" of publishing site commentary, say attorneys at Bingham McCutchen LLP.

  • Gender Pay Gap: A Problem For Contractors And Feds

    Alan G. King

    Data compiled on federal employee compensation reveals statistically significant differences based on gender in the U.S. Departments of Justice and Labor, the two agencies expected to be most vigilant in rooting out discrimination. Thus, before the DOL considers adopting a reporting standard for federal contractors' compensation practices, it should consider how the government would fare under alternatives, say Stephen Bronas of Welch Consulting Inc. and Allan King of Littler Mendelson PC.

  • Mandatory Pro Bono Is Not The Answer For Practitioners

     Amanda D. Smith

    The State Bar of California has decided to follow New York's lead and require prospective attorneys to record 50 hours of pro bono service in order to be eligible for admission. While we applaud the intentions behind these initiatives, there are a number of reasons why state bars should limit any mandatory pro bono requirement to this context, rather than extend it to licensed attorneys as some have suggested, say attorneys with the Association of Pro Bono Counsel.

  • States May Beat Congress To Consumer-Tracking Laws

    David Zetoony

    Assuming that Congress does not pass legislation on consumer location data, there is a risk that states may attempt to pass their own statutes — a phenomenon that is well known when it comes to data privacy issues. Nationwide retailers may end up facing inconsistent statutes and regulations that require state-by-state differences in how they present their privacy practices to consumers, say David Zetoony and Shahin Rothermel of Bryan Cave LLP.

  • Earth Day And The Evolution Of Environmental Law

    Timothy J. Bergere

    Since 1970, environmental lawyers have been immersed in a myriad of federal, state and local environmental laws and regulations, beginning with the National Environmental Policy Act. As the movement has grown, Earth Day has become a placeholder for the idea that we can better manage our environment, and in the legal community, it reminds us that we must continue advancing the law with the goal of a cleaner environment in mind, says Timothy Bergere of Montgomery McCracken Walker Rhoads LLP.

  • The EPA's Next Regulatory Frontier: Large Ship Emissions

    Granta Nakayama

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's enforcement office is signaling a new area of interest — air pollution from large ships and ocean-going vessels. Public statements indicate sulfur oxide and nitrogen oxide requirements are on the EPA's agenda and, given the agency's foray into new applications of existing environmental law, it may apply its practice of issuing notices of violation in the marine-vessels context, say Granta Nakayama and Ilana Saltzbart of Kirkland Ellis LLP.

  • Paycheck Fairness Act Would Have Drastic Consequences

    Paul H. Kehoe

    Should the Paycheck Fairness Act ever pass the Senate, employers would face a drastically changed landscape regarding both compensation decisions and litigation. The included measures would provide the plaintiffs bar with more bargaining power in pay discrimination claims, regardless of the merits or the employees' interest in participation, says Paul Kehoe of Seyfarth Shaw LLP.

  • Fla. Film Tax Credit Bills Are Good For Business

    Alan Feldman

    The goal of the proposed tax incentive bills being considered by the Florida Legislature is to encourage production companies to produce movies, music and television series in the state. The incentives will likewise benefit law firms and the legal profession by increasing revenues, says Alan Feldman of Lydecker Diaz.

  • The Evolving New Normal For Data Breach Responses

    Mark Salah Morgan

    The Target Corp. and Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey data breaches differed in manner, size and scope, but both reveal the vulnerabilities all companies are facing. A nuanced, more responsive, and more uniform legal and regulatory framework is required. That environment is being shaped by private actions, legislative and administrative responses, and various corporate initiatives, say Mark Salah Morgan and Andres Acebo of Day Pitney LLP.