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Light Finally Shining on FDA’s Approval Delays of Next-Generation Sunscreen Products

WLF Legal Pulse - Wed, 07/30/2014 - 12:00pm
Guest Commentary by Samantha J. Malnar, a 2014 Judge K.K. Legett Fellow at the Washington Legal Foundation and a student at Texas Tech School of Law. A “call to action” this week from the Surgeon General of the United States reports that nearly 5 million people are treated with skin cancer in America each year. […]
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Rockefeller: Staff Report Finds Cramming on Wireless Phone Bills Was Widespread

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller, IV, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, today released a majority staff report on the findings of the Committee’s investigation into wireless cramming – where consumers get charged on their phone bills for goods and services they never agreed to purchase.

The new report titled, “Cramming on Mobile Phone Bills: A Report on Wireless Billing Practices,” describes a billion dollar industry that has cost consumers hundreds of millions of dollars in u...

A Swing and a Miss by the Missouri Supreme Court

WLF Legal Pulse - Wed, 07/30/2014 - 9:05am
Have you ever been to a sporting event where the mascot and other cheerleaders shoot t-shirts and toss hot dogs into the crowd during lulls in the action? Fun for the whole family, right? Well thanks to a ruling from the Missouri Supreme Court, don’t be surprised if this tradition becomes a thing of the […]
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Rockefeller: New Evidence Proves Wireless Carriers Are Not Protecting Consumers From Bogus Charges on Their Phone Bills

Opening Statement

Chairman John D. (Jay) Rockefeller, IV

Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee

“Cramming on Wireless Phone Bills: A Review of Consumer Protection Practices and Gaps”

Today’s hearing is about a practice known as “cramming,” where consumers get charged on their phone bills for goods and services they never agreed to purchase.

The companies that put these bogus cha...

Cramming on Wireless Phone Bills: A Review of Consumer Protection Practices and Gaps

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller, IV, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, today announced a Full Committee hearing on Wednesday, July 30, 2014, at 2:30 p.m. titled, “Cramming on Wireless Phone Bills: A Review of Consumer Protection Practices and Gaps.”

Over two decades ago, phone companies began allowing third-party vendors to place charges on consumer phone bills for products unrelated to phone service such as photo storage. From the early days of this practice, industr...

EPA Has Lost Credibility With Land Owners, Small Business, Committee Republicans Say

House Small Business Committee News - Wed, 07/30/2014 - 12:00am

Bloomberg BNA: EPA Has Lost Credibility With Land Owners, Small Business, Committee Republicans Say
By Dean Scott
June 10, 2014

 

House Small Business Committee Republicans told a top Environmental Protection Agency official July 30 that the agency has lost credibility with farmers, land owners and small businesses over an April proposal they fear would expand EPA jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act to farm ditches and other minor streams.

EPA Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe sought to allay what he said were misconceptions about the proposed waters of the U.S. rule, which the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers unveiled in March and published April 21 (79 Fed. Reg. 22,187).

The joint proposal would bring under federal jurisdiction all tributaries of streams, lakes, ponds and impoundments as well as wetlands that affect the chemical, physical and biological integrity of navigable downstream waters (77 DER A-13, 4/22/14).

Perciasepe said the rule, which would clarify the Clean Water Act's jurisdiction over the nation's waters and wetlands, would only apply to waterways that have a significant “nexus” in affecting downstream navigable waters. He said the agency makes every effort to seek input on its regulatory proposals and that the regulations generally would not cover minor waterways, such as roadside ditches, as long as they don't affect water quality of larger waterways downstream.

Unwarranted Expansion of Jurisdiction?

But Republicans, including Reps. Chris Collins (N.Y.) and Scott Tipton (Colo.), said the EPA has grown tone deaf to concerns that it has overreached with its regulatory agenda under President Barack Obama.

“The farmers don't trust you, land owners don't trust you, and the public doesn't trust you,” Collins said.

Republicans said the agency's Clean Water Act jurisdiction rulemaking is an unwarranted expansion of EPA jurisdiction and fear the regulations could require permitting of roadside and farm ditches, groundwater seepage and other minor waters. Republicans on the panel pressed Perciasepe to ensure the agency applies more broadly Regulatory Flexibility Act provisions that require the EPA to seek input from small businesses on its rulemakings.

Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-Mo.) said he had to push the agency repeatedly over the last year to get an EPA official to testify before the panel on how its rules affect small businesses. EPA's recent rulemakings “are an unprecedented power grab that are infringing on the rights of both the individual and small business owner,” Graves said.

Perciasepe, a longtime EPA employee, is leaving his post as deputy EPA administrator in August to head the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES), formerly the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. He will succeed another former high-level EPA official, Eileen Claussen (138 DEN A-2, 7/18/14)(138 DER A-17, 7/18/14).

 

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Committee Challenges EPA’s Failure to Assess Regulatory Impact on Small Business

House Small Business Committee News - Wed, 07/30/2014 - 12:00am
The House Small Business Committee, under the chairmanship of Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO), today conducted an oversight hearing to determine whether the Environmental Protection Agency is assessing the impacts of its rules on small businesses as required by law.

The Committee examined the EPA’s failure to assess the economic impacts of both the recently issued “waters of the United States” proposed rule and the proposed rules to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from power plants on small businesses. Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), the EPA must thoroughly assess how these rules would impact small businesses and consider ways to reduce the rules’ negative consequences. It must also conduct outreach to small businesses before the rules are proposed to get direct input from small businesses. EPA Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe testified.
 
“The EPA’s power grab goes beyond the agency’s mission and infringes on the rights of individuals and small business owners, and it will potentially have costly economic consequences,” said Chairman Graves. “The EPA must withdraw the costly ‘waters’ rule, and reevaluate these decisions entirely. Congress passed the RFA precisely to protect small businesses from this kind of regulatory overreach. The EPA fell far short of its obligations, and must do more to ensure small businesses do not bear the brunt of a regulatory burden that was not properly assessed. The Committee has alerted small businesses and raised serious objections to these rules, and I urge the EPA to fulfill its responsibilities to small businesses. Assessing the impacts of regulations on small businesses is not a choice, it’s an obligation and the EPA must comply with the law.”

Materials from the hearing are available on the Committee’s website HERE.

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Revisiting the RESTORE Act: Progress and Challenges in Gulf Restoration Post-Deepwater Horizon

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation’s Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard will hold a hearing on Tuesday, July 29, 2014 at 10:30 a.m. titled, “Revisiting the RESTORE Act: Progress and Challenges in Gulf Restoration Post-Deepwater Horizon.” The hearing continues the Committee’s oversight of restoration efforts following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil well blowout and subsequent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The hearing will seek to assess the ongoing ...

EPA’s “Waters of the U.S.” Proposal: Coming Soon to a Back Yard Near You?

WLF Legal Pulse - Tue, 07/29/2014 - 9:00am
 Guest Commentary by Scott McFadin, a 2014 Judge K.K. Legett Fellow at the Washington Legal Foundation and a student at Texas Tech School of Law. On April 21, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the United States Army Corps of Engineers issued proposed regulations that would increase their regulatory jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act […]
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Rockefeller Supports Short-Term Fix for Highway Trust Fund

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Jay Rockefeller, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, today released the following statement after joining a majority of Senators in passing a short-term fix through December for the Highway Trust Fund, which is in jeopardy of going bankrupt without immediate Congressional action:   

“West Virginians have grown weary of deteriorating roads, crumbling bridges and unsafe conditions on our highways. But finding the political will to spend federal dollars—no matter how important the cause&m...

Opportunities and Challenges for Improving Truck Safety on our Highways

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation’s Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Security will hold a hearing on Tuesday, July 29, 2014 at 3 p.m. titled, “Opportunities and Challenges for Improving Truck Safety on our Highways.” Ahead of the surface transportation reauthorization, this hearing will focus on opportunities and challenges to address truck safety on our highways. In light of several major truck crashes and increases in truck fatalities, the hearing wi...

GSA Releases Shortlist for FBI Consolidated Headquarters

GSA news releases - Tue, 07/29/2014 - 1:00am
Shortlist for FBI HQ Released

Kline Statement on NLRB Joint Employer Decision

Education & the Workforce Committee - Tue, 07/29/2014 - 12:00am

House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) issued the following statement after National Labor Relations Board General Counsel Richard Griffin determined McDonald’s Corp. and its franchisees are “joint employers”:

This decision is detached from reality. While the board is considering this very issue, the general counsel is trying to rewrite the franchise model workers, employers, and consumers have known for decades. This is yet another activist decision from the general counsel's office. Big Labor has scored once again at the expense of workers and employers. Let’s hope wiser heads prevail and this absurd decision is rejected.

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The Supreme Court’s NOT Top 10: October 2013 Term Cases the Justices Wrongly Passed Over

WLF Legal Pulse - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 11:08am
The Supreme Court press and other court observers have spilled a lot of ink this past month discussing the cases the Supreme Court took and decided during October Term 2013. Relatively little was said about the cases the court chose not to decide—and it passed over some doozies. But as Rush drummer and lyricist Neil […]
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Monday Morning Mojo: It’s Important

InteroMojo - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 7:30am

One of the things I really focus on doing is making a conscious decision every day to spend my time doing the important and not the urgent. Most people spend the majority of their lives running around like a chicken with their head cut off jumping from one thing to another dealing with all of the urgent crap in life. But you know what? The urgent stuff is typically nothing more than the important stuff we procrastinated on doing and now if it doesn’t get done something is going to blow up! Guess what – it’s urgent.

It’s important that we exercise and eat right every day. If we don’t, when we get 50 to 100 pounds overweight, and our blood pressure and cholesterol are through the roof, it will be urgent that we take care of ourselves so we don’t keel over and have a heart attack, or worse.

It is important that we spend quality time with our family, every day. If we don’t, it will become urgent one day when we come home and they are gone.

It is important to constantly be embracing change and innovation. If not, one day we will wake up and the world will have past us by and we will be frantically trying to catch up. Change and innovation will become urgent.

I know the urgent will always pull at us, but the key is to have the discipline to stick to doing the important and we will be successful at whatever we do. It’s Important, not Urgent.

Make it a GREAT week!

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