Latest News

Perpetual Dual Class Stock versus the SEC’s Dubious Raised Eyebrow Power

WLF Legal Pulse - Fri, 02/23/2018 - 9:00am
Featured Expert Contributor, Corporate Governance/Securities Law Stephen M. Bainbridge, William D. Warren Distinguished Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law. Newly confirmed SEC Commissioner Robert J. Jackson, Jr., gave his inaugural speech at Berkeley on February 15, 2018. In it, he criticized—in an admittedly nuanced way—the growing phenomenon of dual class stock. As he explained, …

Continue reading Perpetual Dual Class Stock versus the SEC’s Dubious Raised Eyebrow Power

Categories: Latest News

Another California Intrusion on Businesses’ Free Speech Fails in Court

WLF Legal Pulse - Thu, 02/22/2018 - 3:14pm
For a state with cities like Berkeley, which birthed the Free Speech Movement 54 years ago, California’s record on respecting the First Amendment is surprisingly spotty. That is especially true for the expressive activities of businesses. The state, as well as its municipalities, often curtail businesses’ speech, or compel them to speak, as a way …

Continue reading Another California Intrusion on Businesses’ Free Speech Fails in Court

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Advocacy to Host a Regulatory Reform Roundtable and a NAFTA Outreach Meeting for Small Businesses in San Antonio

Office of Advocacy - Wed, 02/21/2018 - 10:12am

 

Advocacy to Host a Regulatory Reform Roundtable and a NAFTA Outreach Meeting for Small Businesses in San Antonio

 

Categories: Latest News, SBA Advocate

Advocacy to Host a Regulatory Reform Roundtable and a NAFTA Outreach Meeting for Small Businesses in Houston

Office of Advocacy - Wed, 02/21/2018 - 10:06am

 

Advocacy to Host a Regulatory Reform Roundtable and a NAFTA Outreach Meeting for Small Businesses in Houston

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Tuesday, February 27th, the Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration will host a Regulatory Reform Roundtable at 8:30 a.m. and a NAFTA Modernization Outreach meeting at 1:30 p.m. for small business owners to attend and give input. Both events will be located at Amegy Tower, 1717 West Loop South Freeway, Houston, TX, 77027.

 

Categories: Latest News, SBA Advocate

Labor Issues in the Gig Economy: Federal Court Concludes That GrubHub Delivery Drivers are Independent Contractors under California Law

WLF Legal Pulse - Tue, 02/20/2018 - 9:20am
Guest Commentary By Adam S. Forman, a Member in the Detroit, MI and Chicago, IL offices of Epstein Becker & Green, P.C., and Kevin D. Sullivan, an Associate in the firm’s Los Angeles, CA office. Ed. Note: Cross-posted with permission from the Wage and Hour Defense Blog. Epstein Becker Members Nathaniel Glasser and Stuart Gerson …

Continue reading Labor Issues in the Gig Economy: Federal Court Concludes That GrubHub Delivery Drivers are Independent Contractors under California Law

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Ninth Circuit Blows Limiting Principle on “Point Source” Out of Water with CWA Ruling

WLF Legal Pulse - Fri, 02/16/2018 - 11:41am
Featured Expert Column – Environmental Law and Policy by Samuel B. Boxerman, Sidley Austin LLP with Ben Tannen, Sidley Austin LLP In a recent decision in Hawai’i Wildlife Fund v. Cty. of Maui, Case No. 15-17447 (9th Cir. Feb. 1, 2018), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit became the first federal circuit …

Continue reading Ninth Circuit Blows Limiting Principle on “Point Source” Out of Water with CWA Ruling

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Statement by Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL) | Subcommittee Hearing on The Opioids Epidemic: Implications for America's Workplaces

Education & the Workforce Committee - Thu, 02/15/2018 - 12:00am

Good morning, and thank you Chairman Walberg for beginning today’s joint subcommittee hearing. 

I’m pleased to be joining our witnesses and members of both subcommittees as we continue the discussion on the impact the opioid epidemic is having on American communities and workplaces.

The alarming increase in the abuse and misuse of opioids is a matter of great national concern, and I am pleased that Congress and the private sector are having these discussions and actively looking for ways to reverse the damage of opioids in our communities.

One of the most alarming aspects of this epidemic is that misuse and abuse of opioids can happen so quickly, and often begins with prescription medication.

My home state of Alabama is not immune from this troubling development. Alabama ranks first in the nation in the number of painkiller prescriptions per capita, with more than 5.8 million opioid prescriptions written in 2015. That’s more than 1.2 prescriptions per person.

An unfortunate reality is that this epidemic is happening to our coworkers, and in business communities large and small. Employers and employees alike are seeing the personal and economic toll this epidemic is having.

Only now are we grasping the tragic statistics that illustrate the impact this problem is having on the American workforce. According to one recent estimate, opioid abuse costs employers $18 billion per year in sick days and medical expenses.

It is troubling to hear that workplaces around the country have been affected by opioid misuse and addiction. But increased costs are not the most troubling way this epidemic has impacted the workplace. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of overdose fatalities on the job has increased by at least 25 percent annually since 2012.

These facts are alarming because they show that employees who abuse drugs, like opioids, are creating unintended consequences for their fellow coworkers.

Those who misuse any illicit substance while at work are creating a risky environment, and that can also lead to workplace incidents where other employees could be hurt on the job.  

Employers are recognizing the risks that opioid abuse has on the workplace, and it is reassuring to hear that businesses large and small are taking steps to address this problem in their organizations.

It is encouraging to hear that more employers are looking for ways to identify, educate, and assist employees who struggle with opioid abuse and addiction. Employee Assistance Programs are a great tool to help employees get the resources they need to start on the road to recovery. I do believe more can and should be done to make employees more aware of these resources before it is too late.

Employers and fellow coworkers play a pivotal role in keeping workplaces safe across the country. I join my colleagues in cautioning the federal government from taking broad and sweeping action to create unnecessary bureaucratic mandates that would inhibit employers who know what programs work best for their individual employees.

Our witnesses today have proven that they are uniquely positioned to tell us more about how companies are adopting and executing new best practices to combat this tragic epidemic in our communities. I would like to thank the witnesses for sharing their stories about how the opioid epidemic affects the workplace, as well aswhat they are doing to help solve this problem.

Working together with government, businesses, nonprofits, and local communities, I am hopeful we can bring an end to the opioid epidemic.

To read the PDF version, click here.

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Opening Statement by Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI) | Subcommittee Hearing on The Opioids Epidemic: Implications for America's Workplaces

Education & the Workforce Committee - Thu, 02/15/2018 - 12:00am

Good morning, and welcome to today’s joint subcommittee hearing with the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections. I’d like to thank our witnesses for joining us for this important discussion on how the opioid epidemic is impacting workplaces, workers, and families cross this country.

The tragic opioid epidemic has unfortunately become a major part of our national conversation, and a problem that we must understand and address.

Too many Americans – from all walks of life and from all parts of the country – are facing the terrifying realities of opioid abuse, and far too many are dying from opioid misuse and overdose every day.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, opioid use (including prescription opioids, heroin, and fentanyl) was the cause of over 42,000 deaths in 2016, 40 percent of which involved a prescription.

As policymakers, we need these statistics to inform what we do. But it’s most important to remember that every casualty was a person with incredible potential.

Not only were they members of our larger social communities, they were members of our work communities.

Our coworkers see more of us during the average day than even our own families. The people we see in the workplace have a significant role in each of our lives, and are part of the community around us.

Many Americans work alongside those who suffer from opioid misuse, but may not understand what can be done to help their fellow coworker.

According to the National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence, 70 percent of the 14.8 million individuals that are misusing drugs, including opioids, are currently employed.

While this statistic is alarming, it also shows the workplace can be a resource for the community to identify those who are struggling with opioid misuse. And, we are already seeing some employers assisting employees in their treatment and rehabilitation.

Already, many employers have deemed it necessary to update or promote existing policies to provide support to employees who struggle with opioid abuse.

In fact, 70 percent of U.S. companies and 90 percent of Fortune 500 companies have an employee assistance program to assist employees struggling with substance abuse and other problems.

It is reassuring to see these kinds of programs and practices implemented by companies who want to see their employees healthy and productive.  But more needs to be done.

While much of the current dialog is about the dangers of the opioid epidemic, we also need to hear about the proactive steps employers are taking to fight this epidemic within their workplaces and the broader community.

That brings us to today’s discussion of how the opioid epidemic is impacting American workers and what some employers are doing to address this problem.

We must understand that the federal government must not act as a barrier or tie the hands of employers when it comes to addressing opioid abuse and the workplace. Rather, we should fortify employers’ efforts to help their employees and family members, who are affected by this epidemic.

I look forward to hearing from our witnesses today, and thank Chairman Byrne for co-chairing this important joint subcommittee hearing.

To read the PDF version, click here.

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U.S. Department of Energy Extends Comment Period on Revising Energy Conservation Standards for Consumer Products

Office of Advocacy - Wed, 02/14/2018 - 1:31pm

On December 18, 2017, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) published a request for information on revising energy conservation standards for consumer products. The request for information is in response to DOE’s regulatory reform efforts. DOE is seeking comments and information on potential improvements to the process of revising energy conservation standards.

Categories: Latest News, SBA Advocate

CPSC seeks comments on its Proposed Rule on Amendments to Fireworks Regulations

Office of Advocacy - Wed, 02/14/2018 - 1:16pm

On  February 5, 2018, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) published an opportunity for oral presentation of comments on its proposed rule to amend its fireworks regulations. That proposed rule was published in February 2017; the period for written comments on the proposed rule ended on July 17, 2017. CPSC is now soliciting oral comments, information and data on several specific provisions of the rule. The public hearing will take place in Bethesda, MD on March 7, 2018. The deadline to register is February 28, 2018.

Categories: Latest News, SBA Advocate

Opening Statement by Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN) | Subcommittee Hearing on Examining the Government’s Management of Native American Schools

Education & the Workforce Committee - Wed, 02/14/2018 - 12:00am

Good morning, and welcome to today’s subcommittee hearing. I’d like to thank our witness, Mr. Tony Dearman, Director of the Bureau of Indian Education, and our members for joining today’s important discussion regarding the government’s management of Native American schools.

Under the Department of Interior, the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) is tasked with providing Native American children with a high-quality education that upholds their tribes’ traditions and culture.

Over 47,000 students in 183 elementary and secondary schools depend on this government agency to provide them with educational opportunities in a safe and healthful learning environment.

Unfortunately, so many Native American children are not receiving the education they deserve.

Over the years, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has expressed concern regarding BIE’s ability to effectively manage the schools under its jurisdiction. In 2017, the GAO placed BIE on its High Risk List, identifying the bureau as one of several government programs and offices at risk of exhibiting a high degree of waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement.

This is especially alarming for me to hear because it involves children in K-12 education, the most formative and important stage in a student’s career as a learner.

Site visits have also indicated to members of the committee that the schools managed by BIE frequently fail to provide students with an environment that keeps them safe and healthy.

Three years ago, I was a first-hand witness to the inadequate school conditions Native American children are faced with. On a visit to Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig School in Northern Minnesota with then-Chairman John Kline, I observed the absence of basic classroom supplies like desks and paper, foundational and structural problems, and health hazards like rodent infestations.

Seeing the problems with my own eyes galvanized me to work more closely with the BIE so that we can improve conditions for these children. We must do better by these students, including ensuring access to safe schools and improved academic opportunities.

In 2014, the Secretary of Interior directed the Bureau of Indian Affairs to restructure BIE from a school operating organization to a school improvement organization. This change will reorganize BIE to function more like a state educational agency that oversees the system, rather than a local educational agency tasked with school operation.

By reorienting BIE to a role that will provide technical assistance to schools, the Department of Interior will be able to work with Congress and the GAO to rehabilitate BIE so that it’s better equipped to serve its students and improve its facilities.

According to GAO, restructuring of BIE is currently behind schedule, but it is the committee’s hope that with the leadership of the new administration, BIE will be able to accelerate its timeline to deliver better results for its schools and students.

As this committee continues to follow the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act and BIE’s ongoing restructuring efforts, it is important that we continue the dialogue about opportunities to better serve Native American students in attendance at BIE schools.

Today’s hearing presents such a chance to explore ideas and initiatives to improve schools and strengthen education, as well as hear from the BIE’s director Tony Dearman about what steps are being taken to restructure the bureau both quickly and effectively.

I look forward to learning from our witness about the Bureau of Indian Education and the schools under its jurisdiction, and I am encouraged that today we can make significant progress on behalf of these students. With that, I will now recognize Ranking Member Polis for his opening remarks.

To read the PDF version, click here.

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New Slate of Commissioners Should Elevate FTC’s Consideration of the First Amendment

WLF Legal Pulse - Tue, 02/13/2018 - 3:26pm
The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation has scheduled a hearing for tomorrow, February 14, 2018, on the nominations of a new Chairman and three new Commissioners to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). In recent years, FTC has become the primary national regulator of consumer data privacy and security, a responsibility that accords …

Continue reading New Slate of Commissioners Should Elevate FTC’s Consideration of the First Amendment

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When Assessing Burdens for Farmers, Other Landowners, White House Shouldn’t Duck Overhaul of Wetlands Regulatory Juggernaut

WLF Legal Pulse - Fri, 02/09/2018 - 10:24am
Guest Commentary By Lawrence A. Kogan* Last year, two WLF Legal Pulse posts (here and here) explored the federal government’s incremental expansion of control over privately owned agricultural property through the Clean Water Act (CWA) and the law’s hydra-like oversight of wetlands. Those commentaries presented one Erie, Pennsylvania farmer’s 30-year legal battle as a microcosm …

Continue reading When Assessing Burdens for Farmers, Other Landowners, White House Shouldn’t Duck Overhaul of Wetlands Regulatory Juggernaut

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Advocacy Appoints Bruce LeVell to Serve as Region 4 Advocate

Office of Advocacy - Tue, 02/06/2018 - 1:36pm

Advocacy Appoints Bruce LeVell to Serve as Region 4 Advocate

 

Categories: Latest News, SBA Advocate

Opening Statement by Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL) | Subcommittee Hearing on MSHA Policies and Priorities

Education & the Workforce Committee - Tue, 02/06/2018 - 12:00am

Good morning, and welcome to today’s subcommittee hearing. I’d like to thank our witness, David Zatezalo, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health, and our members for joining today’s important discussion regarding the policies and priorities of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA).

Mining is not only essential for America’s homes and businesses; it is an essential industry for the economy. This is an industry that literally keeps the lights on, and it deserves our gratitude.

Workers in the mining industry have been the unsung heroes of the American economy, and thanks to President Trump, many Americans are being reminded of how much we rely on miners on a daily basis.

In 2017, more than 319,000 Americans were employed by the mining industry, and we must ensure they have a safe and healthful workplace.

We ask so much of these hardworking Americans, and vital policies are in place to provide them with the safest environment possible.

For the federal government, this task falls on MSHA. Created by the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977, it is the duty of MSHA to establish and enforce regulations governing all mining activities both above and below ground.

Of course, safety is very important to the mining industry as well, and we commend the large majority of law-abiding companies in the industry who do the right thing.

Mine safety remains a major priority for this Committee, and we are particularly interested in how the federal government is regulating the mining industry to ensure the highest standards of safety while also allowing the industry to innovate for the benefit of mine workers and the American economy.

Among other issues, today’s hearing will examine the regulatory agenda of MSHA, and how MSHA intends to work with all industry stakeholders to promote the best possible policies and practices that protect mine workers and encourage economic growth.

Unfortunately, this was not always the stance of MSHA in recent years.   

America is seeing a new age of innovation and enthusiasm in the mining industry. The Trump Administration has made clear that it will promote policies that recognize the economic importance of the mining industry, and this Committee intends to play a key role in these efforts.

Congress will continue to work with all of the relevant stakeholders in order to create and promote policies that improve the safety and overall strength of the mining industry.

We urge this administration, as we did the prior administration, to hold bad actors accountable. At the same time, MSHA should direct its focus towards a more collaborative approach with the mining industry to address worker safety.

The American mining industry plays a major role in driving the American economy, and will continue to do so. We look forward to hearing from Assistant Secretary Zatezalo—who I should add is a former miner himself—in order to understand the current state of workplace safety within the industry, and what can be done to strengthen American mining and protect the safety of mine workers.

To read the PDF version, click here.

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District Courts Divide over Application of “Bristol-Myers Squibb” Decision to Class Actions

WLF Legal Pulse - Mon, 02/05/2018 - 4:28pm
Guest Commentary By Brian A. Troyer, a Partner with Thompson Hine LLP in its Cleveland, OH office. In a September 8, 2017 Washington Legal Foundation Legal Backgrounder on Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of California, 137 S. Ct. 1773 (2017), I noted that it would remain to be determined how courts would apply it …

Continue reading District Courts Divide over Application of “Bristol-Myers Squibb” Decision to Class Actions

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