Public Policy

  • January 30, 2015

    Senate To Weigh DHS Funding, Block Of Immigration Actions

    The U.S. Senate will consider a bill on Tuesday that would fund the U.S. Department of Homeland Security while blocking funding for President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration, although a high-ranking Senate Democrat said on Friday that it’s unlikely to pass.

  • January 30, 2015

    LA Hotels Must Be Able To Contest Searches, High Court Told

    A coalition of Los Angeles motel owners is urging the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold a Ninth Circuit ruling striking down a city law allowing warrantless searches of hotel registries, arguing that the Fourth Amendment requires an opportunity for judicial review before the government can conduct such searches.

  • January 30, 2015

    Fla. Lawmaker Files Bills To Implement Conservation Program

    A Florida senator on Friday filed six bills to implement a state constitutional amendment overwhelmingly backed by voters last November that dedicates one-third of the revenue from an existing real estate tax to fund the state's land-buying conservation program.

  • January 30, 2015

    Alaska High Court Explains Mining Ballot Decision

    Seven months after upholding a ballot initiative that created a new hurdle for a controversial copper mining project, the Alaska Supreme Court on Friday detailed the reasoning behind its decision, saying the measure doesn’t intrude on the Legislature’s control over state resources.

  • January 30, 2015

    Pa. Treasurer Admits To Strong-Arming Potential Donors

    Pennsylvania State Treasurer Rob McCord released a video Friday admitting he verbally threatened two potential gubernatorial campaign donors and implying he'll plead guilty to the related charges that are expected to come down, one day after announcing his resignation amid rumors of a federal investigation. 

  • January 30, 2015

    NY Senator Bets On Casino Licensees' Success In Court

    New York state Sen. John J. Bonacic told a room of lawyers on Friday that he believes the state's casino license winners will survive litigation attempts to block the projects and that with Albany reeling from Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's indictment, lawmakers’ outside employment should be banned to avoid corruption temptation.

  • January 30, 2015

    Obama Keystone XL Stance Unlikely To Impact Other Projects

    While President Barack Obama will likely veto a congressional bill authorizing TransCanada Corp.'s long-delayed Keystone XL crude oil pipeline, experts say his opposition to the controversial project shouldn't affect the viability of other planned oil and gas projects.

  • January 30, 2015

    Some Insurers Use Drug Prices To Discriminate, Report Says

    Some health insurers are subverting the Affordable Care Act’s nondiscriminatory coverage requirements by employing pricing models that make it harder for those with chronic conditions to afford life-saving medications, according to an analysis published by The New England Journal of Medicine on Thursday.

  • January 30, 2015

    CMS Extends Bans On New Providers In 6 States

    The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on Friday once again extended bans on new ambulance and home health care providers in six states, an apparent sign that regulators and prosecutors need more time to tackle rampant fraud in major metropolitan areas.

  • January 30, 2015

    Senate Panel Passes Iran Sanctions Over Obama Veto Threat

    A Senate committee on Thursday advanced a bill that would toughen economic sanctions against Iran if ongoing negotiations over the country's nuclear capabilities fail to secure a deal by July, despite President Barack Obama's vow to veto any new financial sanctions.

  • January 30, 2015

    DOJ Drops 9th Circ. Appeal In Patriot Act FOIA Dispute

    The Electronic Frontier Foundation on Thursday said the U.S. Department of Justice dropped its Ninth Circuit appeal in a Freedom of Information Act dispute over a secret legal interpretation of a section of the Patriot Act, teeing up the release of an unpublished opinion on census data access by law enforcement and intelligence agencies. 

  • January 30, 2015

    House GOP Plans Votes To Make Tax Extenders Permanent

    U.S. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said in a letter to GOP colleagues Thursday that the House will work in February on passing permanent versions of some tax extender provisions.

  • January 30, 2015

    CFTC Swaps Reform Seen As Big Plan With Steep Climb

    A recent blueprint for reforming U.S. swap trading rules offers common-sense ways to improve the market for U.S. participants, attorneys say, but the sheer ambition of the proposal by a U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission member likely means its impact will be felt mostly at the margins.

  • January 30, 2015

    Mass. Gov. Cleared In NJ Investment Controversy

    Massachusetts Gov. Charles Baker and a venture capital firm where he worked didn't breach political contribution regulations over Baker's donation to New Jersey Republicans before the state invested in one of the firm's funds, according to an audit released Thursday.

  • January 30, 2015

    Fed Eyeing Asset Management Risks, Tarullo Says

    The Federal Reserve’s lead governor for financial regulations on Friday said the central bank was considering new rules for preventing runs in the so-called shadow banking sector, particularly in asset management firms.

  • January 30, 2015

    House GOP Chairmen To Devise Obamacare Replacement

    House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said Friday that the Republican leaders of three House committees will collaborate to develop an alternative to the Affordable Care Act, as a vote on the party’s latest bill to repeal the law is anticipated next week.

  • January 30, 2015

    NJ Officials Vow To Fight Obama's Atlantic Drilling Plans

    A contingent of New Jersey federal and local officials have vowed to fight President Barack Obama’s proposal to open up portions of the Atlantic coast to offshore drilling in 2017, the state's senators confirmed on Friday.

  • January 30, 2015

    Paul, Boxer Would Fund Highways With Repatriation Tax

    Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., on Thursday announced they will introduce a bill to tap into the estimated $2 trillion in earnings held offshore by American companies to finance the dwindling Highway Trust Fund.

  • January 30, 2015

    Rep. Demands Answers On HealthCare.gov Data Sharing

    The chairman of the House Committee On Science, Space and Technology sent three letters on Thursday asking the federal government to explain media reports that it is sharing the personal data of HealthCare.gov users with third-party websites such as Google Inc., Twitter Inc. and YouTube LLC.

  • January 30, 2015

    Sens. To Probe Verizon Over Supercookie Tracking

    Senate lawmakers are launching an investigation of Verizon Communications Inc.’s use of a controversial tracking technology known as supercookies, and are demanding to know what actions the company plans to take to protect consumer privacy.

Expert Analysis

  • Avoid Myopia While Maneuvering The ACA Employer Mandate

    R. Pepper Crutcher Jr.

    Whether the U.S. Supreme Court rules against the government in King v. Burwell or not, employers in states served by healthcare.gov shouldn't bank on a favorable outcome given the new exposures they will be liable for under the Affordable Care Act in 2016 if they're wrong, says Pepper Crutcher Jr. of Balch & Bingham LLP.

  • The Day Government Contractor Compliance Changed

    Markus Funk

    It is no overstatement that the Federal Acquisition Regulation provisions on human trafficking that were published on Thursday will have an immediate and significant impact on the 300,000 or so prime contractors, as well as the quite literally countless subcontractors and lower-tier subcontractors, for the world’s largest consumer of goods and services — the U.S. government, say attorneys with Perkins Coie LLP.

  • EU’s Russia Sanctions And Tips For The Year Ahead

    Tobias Caspary

    European Union sanctions on Russia are relatively specific — at least where they relate to the access restrictions to EU capital markets and the Russian energy sector. This means businesses have to consider very carefully whether their commercial operations, or specific transactions, are caught by these prohibitions, say Tobias Caspary and Till Vere-Hodge of Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson LLP.

  • OIG Showed Commitment To Senior Health Care In 2014

    Norman G. Tabler Jr.

    One of the themes that ran throughout policy pronouncements from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Inspector General in 2014 was the recognition that Medicare enrollees need help with the financial burden posed by health care, making the OIG one of seniors' best friends in Washington, D.C., says Norman Tabler Jr. of Faegre Baker Daniels LLP.

  • High Court Provides Closure On Durbin Rules — What Now?

    Robert J. Pile

    While merchants’ legal appeals in NACS v. Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System have been exhausted with the U.S. Supreme Court declining to review the case, continued efforts by both merchant groups and banks are possible to have the Durbin rules modified in their favor, or even to repeal the Durbin Amendment, say Robert Pile and Brian Murphy of Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP.

  • Reflections On The Remarkable Rise Of Orphan Drugs

    Charles J. Andres

    Despite receiving an initially cool reception in the early 1980s, orphan drugs are increasingly important to pharmaceutical companies and patients with rare diseases. The Orphan Drug Act's incentives, along with potentially strong marketplace rewards and largely unmet medical needs, are important drivers of orphan drug growth, say attorneys at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati PC.

  • 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.