Public Policy

  • July 31, 2014

    Contractors Protest Ambiguities In Minimum Wage Proposal

    Contractor advocates are objecting to ambiguous terms in the Department of Labor's proposed minimum wage standards for federal contractor employees, saying that uncertainty about which employees must be covered is particularly worrisome in light of an increased debarment risk for wage violations.

  • July 31, 2014

    Obama's Labor Violation Order May Drive Contractors Away

    President Barack Obama signed an executive order Thursday requiring federal contractors to disclose recent labor violations, putting in place new reporting obligations that attorneys say will raise compliance costs for contractors and could drive some companies to abandon government contract work altogether.

  • July 31, 2014

    Senate Sends $17B VA Reform Bill To Obama's Desk

    The U.S. Senate on Thursday passed a $17 billion compromise bill to reform the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in the wake of its recent health care scandal, sending the bill to President Barack Obama’s desk.

  • July 31, 2014

    CMS Official Says HealthCare.gov Will Continue To Improve

    A top Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services official told lawmakers Thursday that the agency continues to expect some problems with the Affordable Care Act portal HealthCare.gov in the upcoming enrollment period, but has made significant progress since the rocky initial rollout of the marketplace last year.

  • July 31, 2014

    FDA Lab Test Oversight Will Touch Off Industry Tug-Of-War

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday detailed plans to start regulating certain diagnostic laboratory tests, likely sparking a lobbying fight over the extent of oversight and whether manufacturers of diagnostic medical devices should get some of the same special treatment being extended to labs, experts say.

  • July 31, 2014

    Rogers Joseph O'Donnell Adds GAO Veteran To DC Office

    Rogers Joseph O’Donnell announced Wednesday that it had hired Sharon L. Larkin, a veteran bid protest attorney at the Government Accountability Office and the current chair of the American Bar Association's section on Public Contracts Law, as a shareholder in its Washington, D.C., office.

  • July 31, 2014

    US Won't Follow UK Ban On Order Flow Payments, Experts Say

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority took a bold stride Thursday when it told brokerages under its watch to stop taking payments for orders routed to other firms, but while market reform advocates, including one prominent lawmaker, want U.S. regulators to do the same, industry experts say Wall Street’s police likely won’t fall in step.

  • July 31, 2014

    NJ Judge Dismisses 2nd Challenge To Gay Conversion Ban

    Opponents of a New Jersey law banning the use of “conversion therapy” to alter the sexual orientation of minors were dealt a setback Thursday, with a federal judge dismissing a second challenge to the law filed by parents claiming the law constrains their constitutional freedoms.

  • July 31, 2014

    Vermont’s GMO Law Stirs Up New Fight Over Corporate Speech

    Challengers of Vermont's first-in-the-nation genetically modified organism food labeling law are turning to an increasingly popular First Amendment argument that is being utilized by a variety of industry groups that say such labeling violates their right to “refrain from speaking,” setting the stage for another battle over corporate rights.

  • July 31, 2014

    Calif. Trumpets 4% Rate Rise For ACA Insurance Plans

    Californians who purchased coverage on the state’s Affordable Care Act marketplace will see average rate hikes of roughly 4 percent next year, a relatively modest rise that may stem partly from factors unique to the nation’s largest insurance market, state regulators said Thursday.

  • July 31, 2014

    Revolving-Door Roundup: Sidley, Bingham, Greenberg

    July was a busy month for attorneys bouncing back and forth between the government and BigLaw firms. Nine attorneys crossed the public-private divide, including U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commissioner Scott O'Malia, who raised eyebrows with a decision to join the International Swaps and Derivatives Association days after leaving his government post, and former Treasury Department general counsel George Madison, who joined Sidley Austin LLP after a cautious two-year hiatus.

  • July 31, 2014

    NJ Lawmakers Poised To Tackle Open Space Funding

    Chances for a ballot question in New Jersey this November that would ask voters to constitutionally dedicate a rising percentage of corporate business tax revenues to open space preservation remain very much alive, with lawmakers scheduling a vote on the proposal for Monday.

  • July 31, 2014

    Calif. Senator Pleads Not Guilty To Racketeering Charges

    California state Sen. Leland Yee pled not guilty Thursday to new racketeering charges that were tacked onto eight other pending felony counts, alleging Yee engaged in corrupt schemes with alleged Chinatown gangster Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow, a U.S. attorney's office spokeswoman said.

  • July 31, 2014

    Activists Appeal To Block $477M Sacramento Kings Arena

    Just days after a California judge refused to block construction of the Sacramento Kings' new $477 million arena, environmental activists on Thursday gave notice of an appeal and accused the basketball team and city of wrongfully pushing the project forward with the help of an unconstitutional law.

  • July 31, 2014

    EPA Delays Renewable Fuel Standards Compliance Deadline

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday extended the deadline for the third time for refiners to show they are complying with the 2013 renewable fuel standards, a change that drew criticism from the oil industry. 

  • July 31, 2014

    FTC's Wright Says Costs Of Apple Case May Exceed Benefits

    The Federal Trade Commission's Joshua Wright criticized the agency on Thursday for relying on inadequate cost-benefit analyses to bring forward consumer protection enforcement actions, saying a recent case over Apple mobile application purchases may impose greater compliance costs for negligible consumer benefits.

  • July 31, 2014

    Miami SkyRise Ballot Question Upheld, But Activist Fights On

    A Florida state judge on Wednesday denied a local activist's challenge to a ballot question asking Miami voters to greenlight an extended lease and renovations to downtown's Bayside Marketplace and to grant permission for a 1,000-foot entertainment tower on the property, saying the question was legally valid.

  • July 31, 2014

    WTO Trade Facilitation Pact Derailed As Deadline Lapses

    A World Trade Organization deal aimed at smoothing the flow of global commerce will not be implemented on schedule as negotiators failed to overcome opposition from developing nations aiming to tether the pact to food security initiatives, WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo said late Thursday.

  • July 31, 2014

    House Bill Would Cut Out Duplicate Pesticide Permits

    The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill on Thursday that would eliminate what its backers say are costly and redundant Clean Water Act permits for pesticides that were imposed five years ago by a federal appeals court.

  • July 31, 2014

    CIA Admits To Improperly Spying On Senate Computers

    The Central Intelligence Agency has learned through an internal investigation that its officers improperly searched and removed documents from a Senate Select Committee on Intelligence computer network that was being used to investigate the CIA’s detention program, the agency said Thursday.

Expert Analysis

  • Criminal Referral Of Alleged 'Unlobbyist' Is A Wake-Up Call

    Robert Kelner

    The Office of Congressional Ethics' recent referral of an unnamed entity to the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the District of Columbia for failure to register under the Lobbying Disclosure Act — which appears to be the first of its kind — is a major development in the regulation of lobbying and may signal a turning point in enforcement of lobbying disclosure laws, say Robert Kelner and Zachary Parks of Covington & Burling LLP.

  • 4 Goals, 4 Years And 1 Budget: The FDA's Ambitious Plan

    Cori A. Goldberg

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's goals have followed similar themes since the start of the decade, however with the agency’s regulatory role expanding alongside today's unyielding fiscal environment its latest budget request may prove challenging to meet, say attorneys at Norton Rose Fulbright.

  • Denied Rule Petitions In Texas Will Have No Day In Court

    Dale Wainwright

    The Austin Court of Appeals' holding in Texas Commission on Environmental Quality v. Bonser-Lain is significant because it precludes private parties from asking courts for "second opinions" on state agency denials of requests for rulemaking, thereby avoiding a protracted and potentially costly resolution of such requests, say attorneys at Bracewell & Giuliani LLP.

  • What Bitcoin Can Learn From International Arbitration

    Jaime D. Guttman

    International trade was successful in creating a completely private dispute resolution system outside of the courts but widely recognized and accepted by governments across the world. Bitcoin needs to follow a similar path, says Jaime Guttman of Private Advising Group PA.

  • Investing In Chinese Real Estate Will Soon Be Simpler

    David A. Blumenfeld

    Filing applications for foreign-invested real estate enterprises in China is expected to soon become merely an administrative matter instead of the approval process it currently is — a signal from the Chinese government that restrictions on such investments are being loosened, say attorneys with Paul Hastings LLP.

  • CFPB Enforcement Action Casts Shadow On Debt Collectors

    Jeffrey P. Taft

    In light of the ACE Cash Express Inc. enforcement action, financial institutions and other businesses engaging in first-party debt collection should assume the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will attempt to impose Fair Debt Collection Practices Act standards on them through the unfair, deceptive and abusive acts or practice provisions of Dodd-Frank, say attorneys at Mayer Brown LLP.

  • Court To Sen. Hershey: Tear Down Those Signs

    Susan Neuberger Weller

    The Hershey Company's trade dress infringement case against Maryland state Sen. Steve Hershey over his brown and white campaign signs is somewhat different from the usual campaign trademark dispute in that the politician is the one who was sued for use of a corporate trademark, says Susan Neuberger Weller of Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo PC.

  • Arguing Injury Can Prevent Harm From EPA Water Listing

    Brian G. Glass

    In light of City of Dover v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, those seeking to challenge impaired waters listings may be better served alleging injuries predicated on property value reductions since these kinds of injuries are more immediate than injuries based on regulatory impact — courts may be more willing to find they satisfy the requirements for Article III standing, says Brian Glass of Warren Glass LLP.

  • Refining What Qualifies As WTO 'Technical Regulation'

    Emily S. Fuller

    Although in previous cases World Trade Organization panels and the Appellate Body have rarely found that a measure did not qualify as a “technical regulation,” the European Communities seal products case puts future WTO complainants on notice that this threshold question regarding technical barriers to trade may have new life, say attorneys with Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP.

  • And Now A Word From The Panel: Top 10 Venue Arguments

    Alan E. Rothman

    As the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation heads to the “Heart of America” for its July 31 hearing, this column will take a bit of a detour from its regular format and present a top 10 list of arguments — some strange, yet true — made in support of a particular MDL venue, says Alan Rothman of Kaye Scholer LLP.