Public Policy

  • March 27, 2015

    Calif. Gov. Signs $1B Drought Relief Package

    As California confronts severely dry conditions for the fourth year in a row, Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday signed a legislative package that will steer $1 billion in emergency funding toward drought relief and water infrastructure projects.

  • March 27, 2015

    2nd Circ. Says NY Health Law Not Preempted By ERISA, NLRA

    The Second Circuit on Friday affirmed a lower court ruling that said a section of the New York Public Health Law is not preempted by either the National Labor Relations Act or the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, finding plaintiffs’ arguments to be without merit.

  • March 27, 2015

    Troll Bill Threatens To Weaken All Patents, GCs Say

    In-house counsel for IBM Corp., United Technologies Corp. Aerospace Systems, Juniper Networks Inc. and others said at a conference Friday that they are worried that a bill in Congress aimed at thwarting so-called patent trolls will actually weaken all patents and hurt their business.

  • March 27, 2015

    DOL Rolls Over On Standing Issue In H-2B Regulations Case

    The U.S. Department of Labor on Friday opted not to challenge the standing of a restaurant server suing the department in Florida federal court over regulations governing the H-2B labor certification process, saying it had no reason to question whether the plaintiff was telling the truth.

  • March 27, 2015

    Lawmakers Urge DOI To Hold Off On Tribal Recognition Rule

    A group of U.S. House of Representatives members asked Interior Secretary Sally Jewell on Thursday not to issue the department’s final rule on tribal acknowledgement regulations, saying changing the regulations could deprive currently recognized tribes of federal money.

  • March 27, 2015

    Hospice Loses Constitutional Fight Over Medicare Discharges

    An Arkansas federal judge on Thursday shot down a hospice chain’s constitutional challenge to Medicare’s requirement that it serve certain patients without getting more money, finding that the company can exit the program if it’s dissatisfied.

  • March 27, 2015

    CPA Group Asks Lawmakers To Simplify Retirement Plans

    The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants on Friday released a letter recommending that lawmakers working on tax reform take several steps to simplify retirement plans, such as condensing the four existing employee contribution plans into a single plan.

  • March 27, 2015

    GOP Rep. Floats Bill To Deny Benefits For Illegal Work

    Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., floated a bill Thursday to exclude any wages earned by undocumented workers not authorized to work in the U.S. from the sums used to calculate their Social Security benefits.

  • March 27, 2015

    FDA Hears Wide Debate On Generic-Drug Warning Label Plan

    Drugmakers, lawyers and consumers on Friday debated the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's controversial plan to let generic-drug makers independently update their warning labels, trading divergent views on how patient safety and medication prices would be affected.

  • March 27, 2015

    NJ OKs Bill Restricting Access To Car Recording Devices

    The New Jersey General Assembly unanimously approved a bill Thursday 73-0 that would limit access to data from recording devices in automobiles that capture information about the driver's activity to car owners and certain qualified individuals and officials.

  • March 27, 2015

    Senate Dems Seek Permanent Backing For Conservation Fund

    A group of U.S. Senate Democrats on Thursday unveiled a bill to provide long-term funding to the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a program scheduled to expire in September that uses offshore oil and gas revenues to help preserve public lands ranging from national parks to community ballfields.

  • March 27, 2015

    US Prods China On Murky Banking Sector Rules At WTO

    After much cajoling from a litany of business groups, the U.S. government has begun pressing China to shed more light on the controversial rules placing restrictions the use of foreign technology in its banking sector, according to a World Trade Organization document circulated Thursday.

  • March 27, 2015

    Australia OKs Data Retention Bill Despite Privacy Concerns

    The Australian Parliament on Thursday passed a data retention bill that will require telecommunications providers to retain certain types of metadata for two years, amid heavy criticism from opposition parties and privacy hawks that the legislation oversteps the mark by "entrenching" mass surveillance.

  • March 27, 2015

    BIA Rejects Wis. Tribe's Casino Bid After Walker Balks

    The U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs has officially denied a Wisconsin tribe’s request to open a casino in Kenosha after Gov. Scott Walker declined to support the proposal, according to a letter the agency published online Thursday.

  • March 27, 2015

    Steel Execs Urge Congress To Act On ‘Illegal Trade Practices’

    Executives from the nation’s largest steel companies on Thursday urged Congress to take action against "illegal trade practices" threatening the domestic steel industry, saying the government must improve its policies on trade, workforce investment and infrastructure to ensure continued competitiveness.

  • March 27, 2015

    Fed’s Fischer Urges Vigilance Over Shadow Banking Sector

    A key Federal Reserve policymaker on Friday said regulators needed to keep a close watch on the growing shadow banking sector in order to prevent it from threatening the broader economy.

  • March 27, 2015

    Intel Asks For Increased H-1B Cap As Filing Period Looms

    Intel Corp. pled with Congress to increase the cap for H-1B visas for highly skilled workers on Thursday — roughly a week before immigration services will begin taking petitions for the visas — claiming the U.S. has a shortage of science and engineering workers.

  • March 27, 2015

    House Bill Would Apply Oil Spill Law No Matter Spill’s Origin

    A pair of U.S. Congress members from Florida introduced legislation on Thursday that would make companies pay cleanup costs under the Oil Pollution Act and face Clean Water Act penalties for oil spills that originate in foreign waters but reach U.S. waters.

  • March 27, 2015

    3 States Can't Call Shots On Immigration For US, 5th Circ. Told

    Speculation from three states about the economic consequences of deferred deportation policies created by the president’s executive actions doesn’t justify barring important changes for the entire country, the U.S. Department of Justice told the Fifth Circuit on Thursday.

  • March 27, 2015

    Senate Passes 2016 Budget After Marathon Debate Session

    The U.S. Senate on Friday narrowly approved the chamber’s proposed 2016 budget plan after a marathon session that saw it back amendments to ease environmental and tax laws and provide paid sick leave, while rejecting bids to restore health care cuts and increase defense spending.

Expert Analysis

  • Patent Reform — Texas Style

    Richard Smith

    On the heels of initiatives by other states, Texas may soon have its own statute addressing demand letters that allege patent infringement. Of particular interest in the recently filed bill are the registration and disclosure requirements for certain patent infringement claims, says Richard Smith, an intellectual property attorney.

  • Some Background On Fed. Circ.'s CVD Ruling

    Neil Ellis

    The outcome in GPX International Tire Corp. v. U.S. was perhaps unsurprising, as the opposite result would have been contrary to the Federal Circuit’s long-standing disinclination to find constitutional flaws in the trade remedies statutes. It also would have led to significant uncertainty regarding the legality of eight years of countervailing duties proceedings involving nonmarket economy imports, agency determinations and tariff... (continued)

  • Operation Choke Point Changing Culture But Not Mission

    Barkley Clark

    Suggestions that regulators are distancing themselves from Operation Choke Point and will be more restrained in holding banks accountable are nice but may not prove to be accurate. While the culture is shifting at the federal banking agencies, expect vigorous continued civil and criminal prosecutions, say Barkley Clark of Stinson Leonard Street LLP and Barbara Clark of Commercial Law Institute.

  • IRS Gives Good Directions On ACA Cadillac Tax

    Sarah L. Fowles

    An employer can use the Internal Revenue Services' recent notice on the Affordable Care Act's so-called Cadillac tax to approximate the cost of coverage for employees. Since the cost will likely vary by employee, employers may want to estimate costs under a range of coverage scenarios, say attorneys at Quarles & Brady LLP.

  • Inside USCIS' Much-Anticipated L-1B Visa Guidance

    Sari M. Long

    Practitioners and employers have been waiting for this guidance since U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services promised to review consistency in L-1B “specialized knowledge” nonimmigrant visa adjudications in early 2012. The policy proposal comes hot on the heels of an independent report highlighting a historic increase in denial rates for L-1B petitions, say attorneys with Faegre Baker Daniels LLP.

  • How Appraisal Statute Amendments Would Affect Mergers

    Philip Richter

    Proposed amendments to the Delaware appraisal statute — like courts’ recent increased reliance on the merger price in determining fair value — will not significantly discourage appraisal overall so much as it will further drive activity toward strong appraisal claims, say attorneys with Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson LLP.

  • Combating Climate Change Continues With Executive Orders

    George O. Wilkinson Jr.

    President Obama's latest executive order on greenhouse gas emissions will impact both federal agencies and government contractors and once again signals the White House's intention to combat climate change in spite of some members of Congress, state governments and industry groups, say George Wilkinson Jr. and Corinne Snow of Vinson & Elkins LLP.

  • Top Tips For Data Breach Readiness And Response

    Elizabeth C. Rogers

    Until Congress agrees on uniform responsibilities and liabilities for data breaches, companies operating in the U.S. must traverse a patchwork of laws in 47 states and the District of Columbia. Still, firms can and should develop a written information security response plan and maintain relationships with breach response vendors, say Elizabeth Rogers and Alan Sutin of Greenberg Traurig LLP.

  • EMIR's Effectiveness Is Doubtful

    Stephen Phillips

    If a “Lehman-like” collapse were to happen again tomorrow or if a central clearing counterparty becomes insolvent, it is questionable whether regulators would glean useful insights from the costly and far-reaching reporting requirements imposed on the derivatives market by the European Market Infrastructure Regulation, say attorneys with Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP.

  • Unmanned But Not Unarmed: State Dept.'s New Drone Policy

    Brandon Bodnar

    While the U.S. State Department's new export policy places significant conditions on the sale or transfer of military drones, it also for the first time provides explicit guidance regarding under what circumstances the United States will approve the sale of armed drones to the U.S. allies and coalition partners, say attorneys with Arnold & Porter LLP.