Public Policy

  • August 21, 2014

    FDA Unveils Action Plan For Clinical Trial Demographics

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday released a 27-point action plan aimed at strengthening the demographic makeup of clinical trials performed by drug and device makers, an issue that has grown in prominence amid globalization of research and rising interest in personalized medicine.

  • August 20, 2014

    Fla. Legislators Fight For Newly Redrawn Congressional Maps

    Florida state legislators told a judge Wednesday that the congressional district maps they redrew conformed to the court's order to fix the constitutional problems with two districts, though opponents argued that the new maps don't go far enough.

  • August 20, 2014

    Texas’ Suit Against EEOC Over Background Check Policy Axed

    A federal judge ruled Wednesday that Texas cannot challenge the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's guidance on criminal background checks because the state is not presently at risk of being penalized for refusing to adopt the policy.

  • August 20, 2014

    FSOC Closes Evidentiary Record In MetLife SIFI Review

    U.S. financial regulators have moved a step closer to deciding whether to designate MetLife Inc. a “systemically important financial institution,” approving the completion of the evidentiary record in the probe.

  • August 20, 2014

    Pa. Diocese Wins Permanent Injunction On Contraception Rule

    A Pittsburgh-area Roman Catholic diocese won a permanent injunction on Wednesday blocking provisions of the federal Affordable Care Act mandating that it provide contraceptive and sterilization coverage as part of insurance plans offered to employees of its religiously affiliated schools and charities. 

  • August 20, 2014

    MSRB Gives SEC Best-Execution Plan for Municipal Securities

    The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board on Wednesday advanced a proposal to hold municipal securities dealers to a best-execution standard when trading on behalf of clients.

  • August 20, 2014

    GOP Rep. Rips FEMA's Anti-Fracking Land Acquisition Policy

    U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Pa., and a group of energy industry officials on Wednesday slammed a U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency policy unveiled in May barring the acquisition of flood-prone properties that could host hydraulic fracturing activity due to separate ownership or leasing of subsurface rights.

  • August 20, 2014

    High Court Blocks Va. Same-Sex Marriage Pending Review

    The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday stayed the Fourth Circuit’s recent ruling that struck down Virginia's state ban on same-sex marriages as unconstitutional, holding that same-sex marriages can’t continue in the state until the high court can resolve a dispute over the appellate decision.

  • August 20, 2014

    SEC's Investor Advocate Makes Case For Adviser Exam Fees

    The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s newly appointed investor advocate on Tuesday said the agency should be allowed to charge investment advisers fees to support more frequent examinations of their shops, as alternatives to so-called user fees would spell less effective oversight for investors.

  • August 20, 2014

    House Committee's Bid For 'Fast and Furious' Docs Stymied

    The U.S. Department of Justice does not have to immediately cough up documents subpoenaed by a House committee in a dispute over the controversial “Fast and Furious” gun-tracking program, but must prove that privilege legitimately applies to each document, a D.C. federal judge ruled Wednesday.

  • August 20, 2014

    Swiss Parliament Poised To Approve Tax Info Agreements

    Switzerland's Federal Council on Tuesday approved a dispatch on tax information exchange agreements with Andorra, Greenland, San Marino and the Seychelles, paving the way for the nation's parliament to greenlight the proposals.

  • August 20, 2014

    DOL Vows To Root Out Transgender Bias Among Contractors

    The U.S. Department of Labor vowed Tuesday to focus enforcement efforts on investigating and cracking down on employment bias against transgender federal contractor employees, a move that follows a presidential order barring contractors from discriminating based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

  • August 20, 2014

    House Panel To Investigate USPTO Telework Abuse Reports

    A U.S. House of Representatives oversight panel said Tuesday that it has begun an investigation into reports that some U.S. Patent and Trademark Office examiners who work from home have misrepresented the hours they work, calling recent allegations of possible abuse "unacceptable."

  • August 20, 2014

    Whistleblower Law No Guarantee Of Jury Trial, Pa. Court Says

    The Pennsylvania Superior Court ruled Tuesday that the state’s whistleblower law does not guarantee a right to a jury trial, upholding a judgment that a western Pennsylvania substance abuse treatment facility justly fired an employee over forging a document.

  • August 20, 2014

    Pa. Groups Call For Audit Of Fracking Complaint Response

    A group of environmental and health care activists called Tuesday for an independent investigation into reports that officials at the Pennsylvania Department of Health were instructed not to respond to complaints from citizens about the effects of fracking operations near their homes.

  • August 20, 2014

    Australia Won't Tax Small, Personal Bitcoin Transactions

    Australia's tax agency will treat bitcoin transactions as barter transactions and not as money, it said Tuesday, echoing the U.S. government's decision to treat the virtual currency like property, not currency.

  • August 19, 2014

    Senator Prods Airlines To Clarify Pricing, Privacy Policies

    Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., on Monday launched a probe into the airline industry's pricing disclosures and data security policies by pushing United Airlines Inc., Delta Air Lines Inc. and eight others to reveal how they disclose certain additional fees and privacy practices to consumers.

  • August 19, 2014

    SEC’s Muni Adviser Exams Offer Crash Course In Regulation

    The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday showed it has no plans to relax on regulating municipal advisers when it launched an exam initiative focused on those firms, but attorneys say they are hopeful the effort will be more about teaching what it means to be regulated than dinging compliance failings.

  • August 19, 2014

    NJ Lawmakers Urge Support For DOT's Crude Oil By Rail Rule

    Two New Jersey lawmakers on Monday announced their bipartisan support for stricter federal regulations for rail tank cars carrying flammable materials like crude oil, urging the state's congressional delegation to back the proposal to keep New Jerseyans safe from potential derailments.

  • August 19, 2014

    Hagel Yet To Decide On Police Equipment Transfer Review

    Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is currently examining information regarding a Pentagon program to transfer excess military equipment to local law enforcement agencies, amid public debate over police “militarization,” but is yet to make any decision on any official review, a top Pentagon official said on Tuesday.

Expert Analysis

  • AKS Unlikely To Be Raised Over Pharma Discount Sales

    Stephanie Trunk

    A recently issued opinion from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Inspector General assented to a drug manufacturer’s online discount program for branded drugs, making discount and referral arrangements less likely to raise concerns when they avoid federal reimbursement systems, say Stephanie Trunk and Brian Schneider of Arent Fox LLP.

  • EPA Boosts Cellulosic Fuels In Push For Renewables

    Bernadette M. Rappold

    While the nation has a long way to go to meet Congress' renewable fuel mandate for 2022, a recent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rulemaking has provided a much-needed shot in the arm to the nascent waste-to-energy industry generally, and to cellulosic biofuel producers in particular, says Bernadette Rappold of McGuireWoods LLP.

  • FCC Opinion On TCPA Consent Could Impact Debt Collectors

    Alan D. Wingfield

    Read broadly, if a recent opinion from the Federal Communications Commission is adopted it may mean that businesses can only obtain consumer consent under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act during the initial transaction giving rise to a debt if the consumer is being contacted by automated means on a cell phone, say attorneys at Troutman Sanders LLP.

  • Sponsors Should Mind FDA Informed Consent Guidance

    Gail H. Javitt

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's draft guidance on informed consent, though nonbinding, reflects the FDA’s current thinking about what is necessary for sponsors to fulfill their legal obligations and comes as the U.S. Department for Health and Human Services considers a broad overhaul of the Common Rule, say Gail Javitt and Ryan Kaat of Sidley Austin LLP.

  • Inside New York's Proposed Virtual Currency Regulation

    Marcus A. Asner

    New York’s proposed virtual currency rules intended to prevent money laundering and bolster cybersecurity have been met with mixed reactions and will likely trigger a lot of discussion about issues such as rooting out illegal activity without stifling innovation, say attorneys with Arnold & Porter LLP.

  • AIA Hasn't Really Changed Pretrial Landscape

    Peter Chassman

    How has the America Invents Act changed the behaviors of nonpracticing entities and the plight of the defendants that they sue? The biggest effect likely will be on those cases that actually go to trial. But since most of these cases settle before trial, the big-picture answer is “not much,” says Peter Chassman of Winston & Strawn LLP.

  • A Temporary Detour For Highway Transportation Funding

    Paul J. Epstein

    Given the passage of the Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2014, the resumption of bipartisan discussions regarding a long-term bill is unclear. The act possibly postpones debate regarding the future shape of federal surface transportation funding until a new Congress is sworn into office in 2015, says Paul Epstein of Shearman & Sterling LLP.

  • Congress Asks, CFPB Delivers On SCRA Violations

    John Costello

    A prudent retailer, lender or servicer should avail itself of the online database that provides information regarding the active-duty status of service members. As noted by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s recent actions, Servicemembers Civil Relief Act compliance is regaining focus and attention, says John Costello of Locke Lord LLP.

  • The Missed Trade Facilitation Deadline — What Now?

    Terence Stewart

    India's recent refusal to add the trade facilitation agreement to the World Trade Organization agreements sends the WTO once again to the precipice of irrelevance for trade negotiations. WTO members need to surprise themselves by exhibiting leadership to get the process restarted — or 2014 will go down as a catastrophic failure of the WTO negotiating function, says Terence Stewart of the Law Offices of Stewart and Stewart.

  • USDA Poultry Regulations To Undergo Major Overhaul

    Ann P. Havelka

    The nation's first major overhaul of its poultry inspection system in nearly 60 years is poised to privatize the inspection process, however the shifting onus of regulation and inspection duties from government to industry have raised concerns from agency inspectors and advocacy groups, say Ann Havelka and Ryan Farnsworth of Shook Hardy & Bacon LLP.