Public Policy

  • December 12, 2017

    GAO Says More Action Needed On Security Clearance Backlog

    Despite progress on reform efforts, security clearance processing for executive agency employees remains bogged down by delays and a backlog of more than 700,000 open applications that is exacerbated by a lack of reporting requirements, according to the Government Accountability Office.

  • December 12, 2017

    Grassley Questions Advancing Trump Judge Picks

    The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee has expressed concerns about confirming two of the Trump administration’s judicial nominees, a spokesman confirmed Tuesday, including one for the Eastern District of Texas.

  • December 12, 2017

    House Committee OKs Immigration Document Mailing Bill

    The House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday moved forward a bipartisan bill aimed at making sure immigration documents sent through the U.S. Postal Service are delivered to their rightful recipient, as well as a second bill that increases penalties for promoting online sex trafficking.

  • December 12, 2017

    GOP Introduces 5 Bills To Delay Affordable Care Act Taxes

    House Republicans introduced five bills on Tuesday aimed at undercutting the employer mandate and taxes imposed under the Affordable Care Act, looking to reduce the tax burden stemming from the health care law in 2018.

  • December 12, 2017

    House Passes Mortgage Escrow Safe Harbor For Small Banks

    Smaller financial institutions could have a new safe harbor to exempt them from federal mortgage escrow rules under a bill the U.S. House of Representatives passed Tuesday.

  • December 12, 2017

    NLRB Member Signals Shift On Grad Students As 'Employees'

    Republican National Labor Relations Board member Bill Emanuel said in an unpublished order on Tuesday that the board should review its 2016 ruling letting graduate student workers at private schools unionize, a day after the board’s new GOP majority issued its first decision overturning an Obama administration ruling.

  • December 12, 2017

    Calif. Hashes Out Regs For Recreational Pot Legalization

    As California prepares for the legalization of recreational marijuana next year, state authorities are issuing emergency regulations and rules to usher in cannabis sales beginning Jan. 1.

  • December 12, 2017

    DOT Escapes Enviro Suit Over Review Of Oil Spill Plans

    A Michigan federal judge on Tuesday granted a quick win to the U.S. Department of Transportation in a suit accusing it of shirking its responsibilities to review spill response plans for certain oil facilities, agreeing with the agency that the environmental group that brought the suit didn’t have standing.

  • December 12, 2017

    Fla. Gov.'s Measure To Make Tax Hikes Harder Advances

    A Florida Constitution Revision Commission committee on Tuesday advanced a proposed amendment backed by Gov. Rick Scott that would require the Legislature to reach a two-thirds supermajority to raise any taxes or fees.

  • December 12, 2017

    Ex-Trump Adviser Wants To Weigh In On AT&T Merger Row

    Former Trump administration campaign volunteer Carter Page asked a D.C. federal court on Tuesday if he could weigh in on the government’s challenge of AT&T’s proposed Time Warner deal, saying that he can provide unique insight into how media conglomerates wield their power.

  • December 12, 2017

    'McDonnell' Can't Upend Ex-Pa. County Official's Conviction

    The U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in McDonnell v. United States limiting the scope of federal bribery law cannot be used to upset an ex-Pennsylvania county official’s conviction in a pay-to-play scheme, a federal judge agreed Monday.

  • December 12, 2017

    Senate OKs Trump's 8th Circ. Pick Despite ABA Rating

    Senate Republicans on Tuesday confirmed Husch Blackwell LLP senior counsel L. Steven Grasz to a seat on the Eighth Circuit, brushing aside Democrats' concerns about his partisan bent and a "not qualified" rating from the American Bar Association.

  • December 12, 2017

    Senate Dems Protest Energy Tax Provisions In Reform Bill

    A group of Senate Democrats on Tuesday denounced Republican tax reform legislation for removing incentives for renewable energy such as wind and solar while propping up the fossil fuel industry.

  • December 12, 2017

    Enviros Ask DC Circ. To Rehear EPA Highway Pollution Case

    The Sierra Club and three Denver-area community groups have asked for an en banc rehearing of their challenge of allegedly weakened federal guidance for air pollution tests on planned highway projects, saying a D.C. Circuit panel’s decision tossing the case for lack of standing conflicts with D.C. Circuit precedent.

  • December 12, 2017

    White House Taps Feldblum For Fresh Term At EEOC

    President Donald Trump has tapped the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s Chai Feldblum, the agency’s first openly lesbian commissioner, to serve a third term, which would extend her tenure at the anti-bias watchdog to the summer of 2023, the White House said Monday.

  • December 12, 2017

    NY's OCC Fintech Charter Suit Dismissed As 'Speculative'

    A challenge to a proposed federal charter for financial technology firms was dismissed on Tuesday, with a federal judge ruling that New York's top financial regulator's case was speculative, because the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has not finalized its plans for the charter.

  • December 12, 2017

    Clyburn Offers 'Edits' To Net Neutrality Rollback Plan

    FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn on Tuesday circulated a tongue-in-cheek edit of the draft order on net neutrality that the agency is set to vote on Thursday, crossing out most of its words to transform it into a plan to preserve the current set of rules.

  • December 12, 2017

    DC, DHS Police To Step Up Security For Net Neutrality Vote

    The D.C. Metropolitan Police Department’s Homeland Security Bureau and federal police officers have agreed to monitor the Federal Communications Commission building on Wednesday and Thursday in light of the agency’s upcoming vote on net neutrality, after receiving a request for increased security by the nonprofit organization Free Our Internet.

  • December 12, 2017

    NJ Gov.-Elect Taps County Prosecutor As Attorney General

    New Jersey Gov.-elect Phil Murphy announced Tuesday that he planned to nominate Bergen County Prosecutor Gurbir Grewal, a onetime attorney with Howrey LLP, to serve as the state's next attorney general, saying Grewal would be the first Sikh-American to fill such a position in U.S. history.

  • December 12, 2017

    The Top 10 Trademark Rulings Of 2017

    From Cheerios box trade dress to generic “googling” to a blockbuster U.S. Supreme Court decision, 2017 was another bumper year for major rulings in trademark law. Here are the 10 you need to remember.

Expert Analysis

  • High Court's Latest Travel Ban Ruling Lacks Details

    Tahanie Aboushi

    On Monday the U.S. Supreme Court lifted all stays on the third version of President Trump's travel ban. The paragraph-long ruling was devoid of limitations on the wide discretion available when deciding whether or not to bar an individual, which essentially leaves U.S. customs agents, defense counsel and those affected by the order to decipher the logistics as they go, says Tahanie Aboushi of The Aboushi Law Firm.

  • Is A Shift In DOJ Qui Tam Intervention Policy Coming?

    Brian McEvoy

    A U.S. Department of Justice official recently made a surprising policy announcement that has the potential to change the practice of attorneys involved in bringing and defending against qui tam lawsuits under the False Claims Act, say Brian McEvoy and Michael Besser of Polsinelli PC.

  • Opinion

    Leave The Never-Was-Neutral Net Alone

    Doug Hass

    Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai bills his recent net neutrality proposal as a “repeal” of the 2015 rules, but it really just imposes his own version of net neutrality through impenetrable and ultimately ineffectual disclosures that both harm providers and confuse users, says Doug Hass, general counsel at Lifeway Foods Inc.

  • Navigating Whistleblower Protections Across The Atlantic

    Lynne Bernabei

    Both the Dodd-Frank Act in the U.S. and rules under the Financial Conduct Authority in the U.K. provide whistleblower protections for financial industry employees who report fraud and regulatory breaches. Whereas the specific protections in the U.S. and U.K. differ somewhat, many of the protection mechanisms are remarkably similar, say Lynne Bernabei and Kristen Sinisi of Bernabei & Kabat PLLC.

  • New Burma Act Would Hinder US Investment In Myanmar

    Geoffrey Atkins

    Some experts estimate that the Burmese military controls up to 50 percent of the country’s economy, and that an additional 20 percent is controlled by individuals and entities targeted under separate sanctions programs. As a practical matter, enactment of the Burma Act of 2017 would mean that a significant portion of Myanmar's economy would be off-limits to U.S. investors, say members of Ropes & Gray LLP.

  • 5 Things US Cos. Should Know About Labor Reform In France

    Severine Martel

    The French government recently unveiled administrative orders setting out details of the reform aiming to revise French employment law. Now, with 2018 upon us, U.S. companies operating businesses in France need to be prepared for the implementation of those changes, say Severine Martel and Marie Brunot of Reed Smith LLP.

  • Putting China’s Fair Competition Review System Into Action

    Shelley Zhang

    Five competition-related authorities recently issued another “top-level design" for promoting implementation of China’s Fair Competition Review System, which should contribute to achieving the Chinese government's goals of regulating the activities of government agencies and maintaining fair competition in markets, say Shelley Zhang and David Goldstein of Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP.

  • Opinion

    Trump's Contraception Rules Suffer From Fatal Legal Flaws

    Nancy Northup

    As the comment period comes to a close Tuesday for the Trump administration’s interim final rules on contraception, the administration will start preparing final regulations — risking access to birth control coverage under the Affordable Care Act for thousands of women, says Nancy Northup, CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights.

  • How Lying To The US Government Can Land You In Jail

    Wilfredo Ferrer

    Michael Flynn, George Papadopoulos and many others have not been charged with the crimes for which they were being investigated. The reasons why prosecutors make charging decisions are complex and case-specific. Regardless, the extraordinary scope of Section 1001 can easily ensnare the unwary, say Wifredo Ferrer and Michael Hantman of Holland & Knight LLP.

  • Congressional Forecast: December

    Richard Hertling

    Members of Congress face a daunting to-do list in the final weeks of 2017. While some believe a looming deadline will help get things done, there is worry on Capitol Hill that the legislative pileup and long-simmering partisan battles on major budget and policy issues have created a prime opportunity for political brinkmanship to paralyze the high-stakes negotiations, say Richard Hertling and Kaitlyn McClure of Covington & Burling LLP.