Public Policy

  • December 19, 2014

    Obama Signs $585B Defense Spending Bill

    President Barack Obama on Friday signed a $585 billion defense spending bill that also opens up federal land to oil and gas exploration and maintains a ban on moving terrorism suspects from the Guantanamo Bay detention center to the U.S.

  • December 19, 2014

    NJ Asks High Court to Review Power Plant Subsidies Denial

    The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review an appeals court decision rejecting the state’s subsidy program aimed at spurring construction of new gas-fired power plants, arguing that the program is within the state’s dual regulatory authority with the federal government.

  • December 19, 2014

    MetLife Poses Potential Stability Threat, Regulators Say

    MetLife Inc. is so big that its collapse or major financial troubles could cause significant damage to the broader economy, justifying the life insurance giant's designation as a systemically important financial institution subject to Federal Reserve oversight, a panel of U.S. regulators said in a report released Friday.

  • December 19, 2014

    Retiring Pa. Chief Justice Pegs Legacy On Fracking Decision

    As he prepares to leave the bench at the end of the year, the retiring chief justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court told Law360 in an interview that his legacy would live on through a 2013 ruling finding that statewide hydraulic fracturing rules violated constitutionally enshrined environmental protections.

  • December 19, 2014

    Obama Says He Won't Sanction Russia Under New Law

    President Barack Obama on Thursday signed a new law that allows the U.S. to provide weapons and drones to Ukraine and opens the door to further sanctions in the Russian defense, banking and energy sectors in connection with the ongoing conflict in the region — an option he said he didn’t plan to use.

  • December 19, 2014

    Sen. Rockefeller Proposes Drone Privacy Bill

    Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV, D-W.Va., outgoing chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, proposed a bill on Friday that would impose privacy regulations on commercial drone operators, calling for additional safeguards to protect individuals' personal information.

  • December 19, 2014

    FAA Urged To Allow Commercial Use of 'Micro' Drones

    A fund established to finance commercial drone development efforts has petitioned the Federal Aviation Administration, asking it to put a rule in place allowing for limited commercial use of “ultra-small” drones, it announced Friday.

  • December 19, 2014

    Walgreen, Kroger Urge 11th Circ. To Kill Fla. Swipe Fee Ban

    Consumer rights groups and major retailers including Walgreen Co. and Kroger Co. joined forces Wednesday and urged the Eleventh Circuit to strike down a Florida law prohibiting merchants from charging “swipe fees” on credit card sales, saying the law’s language is unconstitutionally vague and violated the First Amendment.

  • December 19, 2014

    Volcker Extension Stokes Fear Of Slipping Regulatory Resolve

    The Federal Reserve’s Thursday decision to grant banks more time to shed investments barred by the Dodd-Frank Act, just days after Congress jettisoned another provision of the law, has raised concerns that banks once again are getting their way in Washington.

  • December 19, 2014

    Catholic Orgs Take ACA Challenge To High Court

    Religious organizations affiliated with the Catholic Church have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh in on their challenge to an Affordable Care Act mandate that stipulates they fill out paperwork before being excused from providing birth control to their employees.

  • December 19, 2014

    Obama Says Specific Proposals Coming On Tax Reform

    President Barack Obama on Friday said his administration will put forth specific proposals on tax reform, adding that tax is one area where work can get done when a Republican-controlled Congress returns in 2015.

  • December 19, 2014

    ESMA Publishes Final Guidance On New EU Securities Rules

    The European Securities and Markets Authority on Friday published its final technical guidance on draft regulations that would restrict high-frequency trading, mandate clearing of derivatives trades and increase retail investor protections as part of a major rewriting of the European Union's securities market regulations.

  • December 19, 2014

    Medicare Penalizes Hospitals With High Patient Harm Rates

    Hundreds of hospitals will see reductions in their Medicare payments in fiscal 2015 due to poor grades in preventing accidental harm to patients, according to data released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on Thursday.

  • December 19, 2014

    DOE Needs Land, Water Rights For Nev. Nuke Waste Storage

    The U.S. Department of Energy must acquire land and water rights around Yucca Mountain in the Nevada desert before it can seek to use the site to store the country's radioactive waste, according to a Thursday report by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which was reviewing the DOE's application.

  • December 19, 2014

    Wash. Gov. Proposes New Capital Gains Tax To Boost Budget

    Washington Governor Jay Inslee on Thursday proposed a two-year budget plan that would raise a net $1.4 billion in revenue in part by instituting a new 7 percent tax on capital gains.

  • December 19, 2014

    New EU Challenge To Boeing Subsidies Takes Flight At WTO

    The European Union's prolonged battle with the U.S. over the legality of civil aircraft subsidies took another turn Friday as Brussels lodged a fresh World Trade Organization case targeting $8.7 billion in tax breaks granted to Boeing Co. for the production of its 777X commercial jetliner.

  • December 19, 2014

    Feds Won't Interfere With States' Medical Marijuana Laws

    The federal government will no longer enforce its drug policy in states where medical marijuana has been legalized, according to a provision in the national budget signed by President Barack Obama.

  • December 19, 2014

    EPA Will Treat Coal Ash As Solid Waste In Win For Industry

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Friday it will regulate coal ash as solid waste rather than the more strictly controlled hazardous waste, a victory for the power industry that frequently recycles the byproduct for building and agricultural uses.

  • December 19, 2014

    Neb., Okla. Ask Supreme Court To Stamp Out Colo. Pot Law

    Nebraska and Oklahoma pled with the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday to put an end to neighboring Colorado's recreational marijuana law, saying the first-of-its-kind legislation is overrunning their efforts to enforce federal drug laws.

  • December 19, 2014

    Calif. Appeals Court Backs State Agency's Sales Tax Rule

    A California appeals court on Thursday said the state tax board had been correctly applying state and local sales and use tax law and overturned a lower court's decision that threw out a state tax regulation that had been challenged by seven California cities.

Expert Analysis

  • Tracking State Data Protection Enforcement In 2014

    Heather Egan Sussman

    In 2014, state attorneys general continued to play the important parallel roles they have developed in recent years by expanding their use of joint, multistate investigations into data breaches and state legislatures introduced bills on issues such as revenge porn and students' personal and social media information, say attorneys at McDermott Will & Emery LLP.

  • Good Luck Guessing With The Gov't On Gainsharing

    Norman Tabler Jr.

    Despite the government continuously sending signals that it approves of gainsharing, such arrangements are illegal for both hospitals and physicians and yet, given the past and current position of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Inspector General, the office is highly unlikely to take enforcement action against a gainsharing arrangement with safeguards, says Norman Tabler Jr. of Faegre Baker Daniels LLP.

  • NY's Fracking Ban: Politics Under The Veil Of 'Science'

    Yvonne Hennessey

    The losers from Gov. Andrew Cuomo's decision to ban hydraulic fracturing in New York are countless in the state's Southern Tier. Perhaps one day the biggest question on everyone’s minds will be answered — whether science dictated the decision to ban drilling or just good old politics, says Yvonne Hennessey of Hiscock & Barclay LLP.

  • How Will States Put The Clean Power Plan Into Practice?

    Jennelle Arthur

    Setting aside arguments over the legality of President Obama's Clean Power Plan, of which there are many, commenters have expressed serious concerns over what is perceived as the plan’s largest flaw — its actual application on a state-by-state basis, particularly in the coal country of West Virginia, says Jennelle Arthur of Jackson Kelly PLLC.

  • Contracting With Inverted Corporations: The Latest Rules

    Jennifer Plitsch

    The recent flurry of inversion-related actions from a variety of government authorities, including two new rulemaking actions from the Federal Acquisition Regulation Council, have resulted in regulatory thicket of restrictions and obligations that has the potential to ensnare even sophisticated contractors, say Jennifer Plitsch and Mike Wagner of Covington & Burling LLP.

  • 6 Privacy Law Trends That Will Continue In 2015

    Liisa Thomas

    With expanding definitions of what constitutes “personal” information, rampant data breach litigation and increased activity in the international space, 2014 has been a busy year in privacy law. These trends will likely feed into what we see in the privacy space in 2015, say Liisa Thomas and Rob Newman of Winston & Strawn LLP.

  • Top 10 Things To Know About Obama’s Cuba Announcement

    Les P. Carnegie

    While signaling a dramatic shift in the U.S.-Cuba relationship, the president’s authority to lift sanctions is limited in several key respects, say attorneys with Latham & Watkins LLP.

  • IRS Guidance On Full-Time Status May Help Employers

    Ryan Gorman

    The Internal Revenue Service's recent guidance may be of particular relevance for employers with variable hour, seasonal and part-time employees that want to simplify, reconcile or consolidate differing measurement periods or methods for determining the full-time status of their workforce for purposes of the employer shared responsibility provisions of the Affordable Care Act, say Samuel Choy and Ryan Gorman of King & Spalding LLP.

  • Congress Surprisingly Passes Several Cybersecurity Bills

    Paul M. Tiao

    With many observers expecting little legislative activity on cybersecurity before the end of the year, that Congress has passed and sent major cybersecurity legislation to the White House for the first time in 12 years may signal Congress’ intent to address systems protection issues more thoroughly in the next two years, say Paul Tiao and Eric Hutchins of Hunton & Williams LLP.

  • Proposals To Reform Ch. 11 Target Secured Creditors

    David M. Hillman

    On Dec. 8, the American Bankruptcy Institute Commission to Study the Reform of Chapter 11 issued a 400-page report recommending wide-ranging changes to Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code. If enacted, the proposals would significantly impair the rights of secured creditors and materially increase the leverage of debtors and out-of-the-money stakeholders, say David Hillman and Adam Harris of Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP.