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Three Antitrust Developments to Watch in Wake of High Court’s “Ohio v. American Express” Ruling

WLF Legal Pulse - Mon, 07/30/2018 - 4:14pm
Featured Expert Column: Antitrust & Competition Policy — U.S. Department of Justice By Anthony W. Swisher, a Partner in the Washington, DC office of Baker Botts LLP As vertical issues continue to attract attention in the world of antitrust, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Ohio v. American Express was a long-awaited milestone.  The outcome …

Continue reading Three Antitrust Developments to Watch in Wake of High Court’s “Ohio v. American Express” Ruling

Categories: Latest News

Committee to Hold Hearing Examining the Federal Communications Commission

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, will convene a hearing titled “Oversight of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC),” at 10:15a.m. on Wednesday, August 15, 2018. As part of the committee’s oversight responsibilities, this hearing will examine policy issues before the Commission and review the FCC’s ongoing duties and activities.  

“From efforts to better utilize spectrum powering our wireless economy to expanding rural broadband access, combatting robocalls, and reviewing the media landscape, the FCC and its operations are critically important,”said Thune. “This hearing will offer Senators the opportunity to ask commissioners questions about topics of critical importance to their states and constituents.”

Witnesses:

  • The Honorable Ajit Pai, Chairman, Federal Communications Commission
  • The Honorable Michael O’Rielly, Commissioner, Federal Communications Commission
  • The Honorable Brendan Carr, Commissioner, Federal Communications Commission
  • The Honorable Jessica Rosenworcel, Commissioner, Federal Communications Commission

*Witness list subject to change.

Hearing Details:

Wednesday, August 15, 2018
10:15 a.m.
Full Committee 

This hearing will take place in Russell Senate Office Building, Room 253. Witness testimony, opening statements, and a live video of the hearing will be available on www.commerce.senate.gov.

Oklahoma High Court Rejects “Stream of Commerce” Doctrine as Basis for Specific Jurisdiction

WLF Legal Pulse - Fri, 07/27/2018 - 9:00am
Guest Commentary By Gary Isaac, Counsel in Mayer Brown LLP’s Litigation department. He has extensive experience litigating personal jurisdiction issues. In the past several years, the U.S. Supreme Court has issued several decisions significantly limiting the assertion of personal jurisdiction over nonresident defendants.1 However, it has been left to the lower state and federal courts …

Continue reading Oklahoma High Court Rejects “Stream of Commerce” Doctrine as Basis for Specific Jurisdiction

Categories: Latest News

Sens. Cruz, Nelson, Markey Introduce Space Frontier Act

U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), and Ed Markey (D-Mass.), members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, on Wednesday introduced the Space Frontier Act (S. 3277). This commercial space bill builds upon the 2015 Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act by streamlining and reforming the regulatory framework for commercial space launch and Earth observation operations, which is crucial to maintaining American leadership in space. The bill also extends the operation and utilization of the International Space Station (ISS) through 2030 to ensure that the U.S. is getting the maximum return on American taxpayer investment to avoid creating a leadership vacuum in low Earth orbit.

“The U.S. commercial space industry is a growing and vibrant sector of the American economy that has yet to reach its full potential due to outdated regulations that haven’t kept pace with advances in technology,” Sen. Cruz, chairman of the Subcommittee on Space, Science and Competitiveness, said. “The Space Frontier Act supports the continued development of a robust commercial space sector, and extends our leadership in space by maximizing our utilization and operation of the International Space Station. I am grateful for the efforts of Senators Nelson and Markey on this issue, as well as the broad, bipartisan support we have for the commercial space industry and America’s leadership in space.”

“This bill will help drive even more launches and space activity – bolstering our nation’s space economy and jobs in Florida,” said Nelson.

“This bill is a great step forward in providing certainty and a firmer launchpad for our commercial space industry,” said Senator Edward J. Markey, ranking member of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness. “This industry is booming, and our legislation will help it achieve new heights and protect small businesses and the scientific research that benefits all Americans through innovation and discovery. Healthy and fair competition among commercial space businesses will help our space program flourish as we enter the next great Space Age. I thank Senator Cruz for his partnership on an important effort to invest in this next, great horizon.”

The full bill text may be viewed here. Highlights of the Space Frontier Act may be viewed below:

Sustains the Utilization of the International Space Station

  • Supports full and complete utilization of the International Space Station through at least 2030.
  • Expresses support for maintaining a national lab to benefit the scientific community and promote commerce in space.

Modernizes Launch and Re-Entry Regulations

  • The Office of Commercial Space Transportation was previously located inside the Office of the Secretary at the Department of Transportation before being placed within the Federal Aviation Administration. The Space Frontier Act establishes an Assistant Secretary for Commercial Space Transportation within DoT, elevating the profile of commercial space issues within the Department.
  • Requires DoT to issue a rulemaking to overhaul existing regulations within 1 year, and directs that the revised regulatory framework be focused around clear, high-level performance requirements applicable to both reusable and expendable systems.
  • Encourages DoT to use its existing waiver and safety approval authorities to streamline the existing regulatory process while a more comprehensive regulatory overhaul is in work.

Overhauls Earth Observation Regulations

  • Since they were first created in the early 1990s, the regulations for Earth observation systems have failed to keep pace with a maturing industry. Applications frequently get stuck in an ineffective interagency consultation process which has led the Department of Commerce (DoC) to fail to meet its statutory requirement to act within 120 days on Earth observation satellite license applications.
  • The Space Frontier Act repeals the existing legal framework for Earth observation regulations and creates a new framework at DoC that focuses on managing risk to national security and preventing harmful interference to other space activities.
  • Provides a streamlined 90-day process for other agencies to review applications; non-responsiveness is treated as assent to the application, and non-concurrences must be signed by the head of the non-concurring agency or department.

Commerce Announces Markup on August 1

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation will hold an executive session on Wednesday, August 1, 2018 at 9:45 a.m. to consider the following legislative measure and nominations.

Click here for additional information on nominees.

Agenda:

1.     S. 3277, Space Frontier Act of 2018, Sponsors: Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.)

2.      S. 2242, the COASTAL Implementation Act of 2017, Sponsor: Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.)

3.      S. 2773, the Driftnet Modernization and Bycatch Reduction Act, Sponsors: Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.)

4.      S. 2861, Passenger Rail Crew Protection Parity Act, Sponsors: Sens. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.)

5.      S. 3119, the Endangered Salmon Predation Prevention Act, Sponsors: Sens. James Risch (R-Idaho), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.)

6.      S. 3143, the National Quantum Initiative Act, Sponsors: Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.)

7.      S. 3265, Waterfront Community Revitalization and Resiliency Act, Sponsor: Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.)

8.      S. 3273, Port Operations, Research, and Technology Act, Sponsor: Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.)

9.      Nomination of Rick Dearborn, of Oklahoma, to be a Director of the Amtrak Board of Directors

10.    Nomination of Martin Oberman, of Illinois, to be a Member of the Surface Transportation Board

*Agenda subject to change

Executive Session Details:

Wednesday, August 1, 2018
9:45 a.m.
Full Committee Markup
Senate Dirksen Building, Room G50
 
A live video of the markup and additional information will be available at www.commerce.senate.gov

Subcommittee Continues NASA Hearing Series with Hearing Focused on NASA Science Missions

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), chairman of the Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness, will convene a hearing titled “The Search for Life: Utilizing Science to Explore our Solar System and Make New Discoveries,” at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, August 1, 2018. The second in a series of hearings leading up to a potential National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) reauthorization, this hearing will focus on NASA's scientific priorities in space exploration. 

Witnesses: 

  • Dr. Sara Seager, Professor of Physics and Planetary Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology  
  • Dr. David Spergel, Professor of Astronomy, Princeton University
  • Dr. Ellen Stofan, Director, Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
  • Dr. Thomas Zurbuchen, Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate, NASA

*Witness list subject to change.

Hearing Details:

Wednesday, August 1, 2018
2:30 p.m.
Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness 

This hearing will take place in Russell Senate Office Building, Room 253. Witness testimony, opening statements, and a live video of the hearing will be available on www.commerce.senate.gov.

<p>I would like to thank our nominees,

I would like to thank our nominees, Rick Dearborn and Marty Oberman, for being here and for your willingness to serve in these important positions.  Thank you.

Rick Dearborn has had an impressive career in public policy that spans more than 24 years.  He has held leadership roles with the Trump and Bush administrations.  He has also been a staff member for six Senators, most recently serving as the Chief of Staff and State Director for Jeff Sessions.  After the 2016 election, Mr. Dearborn served as the Executive Director of President Trump’s Presidential Transition Team and was the President’s Deputy Chief of Staff from January 2017 until March 2018.    

The Amtrak Board of Directors is comprised of ten individuals.  They include eight Senate-confirmed appointees, and the Secretary of Transportation, and the President of Amtrak.  There are currently two vacancies on the board.  Mr. Dearborn has been nominated to replace board member Jeffrey Moreland, whose term expired in 2015.

Mr. Dearborn, we are very anxious to fill these vacancies.  If confirmed, I know your vast experience in public policy will be crucial as you work with fellow board members on issues like long-distance service, positive train control, Gateway, and the restoration of Gulf Coast Rail, which is of particular importance to some of us in the room.      

Our second nominee, Mr. Marty Oberman, has been nominated to serve as a member of the Surface Transportation Board.  Mr. Oberman has spent the past 49 years of his career as attorney.  His practice focuses on complex civil litigation spanning medical and legal malpractice, commercial disputes, local taxation, constitutional rights, civil rights, and financial crimes.

Apart from his distinguished legal career, Mr. Oberman has spent significant time in public service.  Most recently, he served as the chairman of Metra, a commuter railroad in the Chicago metropolitan area that serves more than 100 communities with 241 stations and 11 lines.  In this capacity, he led the formulation and adoption of a 10-year capital program totaling over $2 billion to revitalize and renew Metra’s rail cars and locomotives.     

Mr. Oberman has been nominated to fill one of the three vacancies on the Surface Transportation Board.  As a board member, he will help resolve railroad rate and service disputes and review proposed railroad mergers.  Filling these vacancies is vital to ensuring that the board has the staff and experience for these responsibilities. 

Mr. Oberman, if you are confirmed, I am sure that your diverse legal background and leadership within Metra will serve you well in your position as a board member.    

Again, thank you both for your willingness to serve. 

Nominations Hearing

U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, will convene a hearing at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, July 26, 2018, to consider two presidential nominees.

Completed nomination questionnaires are available at www.commerce.senate.gov/nominations  

Witnesses:

  • Mr. Rick A. Dearborn, of Oklahoma, to be a Director of the Amtrak Board of Directors
  • Mr. Martin J. Oberman, of Illinois, to be a Member of the Surface Transportation Board

*Witness list subject to change.

Hearing Details:

Thursday, July 26, 2018
10:00 a.m.
Full Committee 

This hearing will take place in Russell Senate Office Building, Room 253. Witness testimony, opening statements, and a live video of the hearing will be available on www.commerce.senate.gov.

Ranking Member Bill Nelson Opening Statement

We have two nominees before the committee today who have been nominated for positions at critical transportation organizations — the Surface Transportation Board and the Amtrak Board of Directors. 

Both these nominees may eventually deal with an issue that is critically important to my home state. Florida is still working to restore the Amtrak service along the Gulf Coast that was shut down after Hurricane Katrina. This line serviced two million people from Florida to Louisiana and has an impact on our tourism industry. I look forward to hearing their views on restoring the Gulf Coast rail service. 

Another important issue is positive train control implementation. It is critical that we do everything we need to make sure that railroads are on track to meet the 2018 deadline. I hope to hear Mr. Dearborn’s views today on Amtrak’s progress.

I look forward to hearing from our two witnesses today, but first I must address a critical matter that falls within the purview of this committee. 

One of the most important issues this committee oversees is transportation security, which is jeopardized by the recent decision by the Department of Justice and the State Department to settle a three-year-long legal battle to prevent the publication of blueprints on how to make 3D printed guns, including AR-15s, online for the public to download. 

The administration’s decision paves the way for the publication of these blueprints online on August 1—just a week from today.  Once those blueprints are posted on the Internet, it’ll be impossible to pull them back.

We can’t overstate the danger presented by 3D printed guns, many of which may evade detection by our current security screening systems.  

Let me be blunt about this:  Somebody could come into this building—and sit in this hearing room—and have a gun, and we wouldn’t know about it.  People could walk onto airplanes and have plastic guns—and we wouldn’t know about it.

We talk about “hardening” schools, “hardening” airports, “hardening” public spaces—but all of that is meaningless if a deranged individual can get past the metal detectors with a plastic gun.  

If this settlement is allowed to go through, we will see a fundamental shift in American safety and security.  

Mr. Chairman, I ask that this committee immediately hold a hearing on this issue.  We should hear directly from the TSA on the dangers posed by 3D-printed plastic guns at airports and on aviation security generally.  Time is of the essence.

 And with that, I conclude my remarks for today’s hearing.

Demands for On-Label Disclosure of Possible Supply-Chain Abuses Fail in Ninth Circuit

WLF Legal Pulse - Wed, 07/25/2018 - 4:18pm
A little over two years ago on this site, we discussed a new strain of food-labeling class action lawsuits quite unlike the run-of-the-mill “Food Court” litigation. Instead of complaining that consumers had been misled by a food label’s use of a term such as “natural,” these suits claimed harm from a company’s failure to disclose …

Continue reading Demands for On-Label Disclosure of Possible Supply-Chain Abuses Fail in Ninth Circuit

Categories: Latest News

The Race to 5G: Exploring Spectrum Needs to Maintain U.S. Global Leadership

U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, will convene a hearing titled, “The Race to 5G: Exploring Spectrum Needs to Maintain U.S. Global Leadership,” at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, July 25, 2018. The hearing will examine the economic impact of 5G and the importance of American leadership to meet the growing consumer demand for reliable broadband services.


Witnesses:

  • The Honorable Meredith Baker, President and Chief Executive Officer, CTIA – The Wireless Association
  • Mr. Dean Brenner, Senior Vice President, Spectrum Strategy and Technology, Qualcomm
  • Mr. Craig T. Cowden, Senior Vice President, Wireless Technology, Charter Communications Inc.

*Witness list subject to change.

Hearing Details: 

Wednesday, July 25, 2018
10:00 a.m.
Full Committee

This hearing will take place in Russell Senate Office Building, Room 253. Witness testimony, opening statements, and a live video of the hearing will be available on www.commerce.senate.gov.

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