Regulatory Year in Review: 2011

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Health care reform, the Dodd-Frank Act, environmental protection, and open government are discussed in our top news posts from 2011.

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As 2011 draws to a close, The Regulatory Review reflects back on a year of major regulatory developments around the world.  For our daily essay today, as well as our essays for the next two days, we will feature the top 50 essays in The Regulatory Review over the past twelve months, based on the number of page views.  Today we feature, in chronological order, the top news stories from among our top overall essays, while tomorrow and the following day we will feature the top analysis and opinion essays, respectively.

Federal Courts Split on Constitutionality of Individual Mandate in Health Care LawPatient Form  

Penn Program on Regulation | February 15

The 2010 Patient Protection Affordable Care Act calls for the creation of insurance exchanges within each state, bans discrimination against patients with pre-existing conditions, and requires all Americans to purchase some form of health insurance. This last strategy, the individual mandate, has prompted a series of lawsuits by opponents who claim the law exceeds Congress’ authority under the Commerce Clause, which gives the federal government authority over economic activity. They argue that individual decisions not to buy health insurance are forms of inactivity.

Stem_cellsOngoing Litigation in Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Joel Outten | March 8

The Obama Administration faces ongoing lawsuits challenging financial support of human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research.


Elizabeth_WarrenConsumer Financial Protection Bureau Updates: New Website, Future Headquarters

Sean Moloney | March 23

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”), the highly publicized federal agency established by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, is beginning to take form online and in Washington, D.C.

In an effort to protect consumers in the mortgage market from unfair practices involving the compensation of loan originators, the Federal Reserve has issued a new rule amending Regulation Z, which implements the Truth in Lending Act. The new rule, which will take effect on April 1, 2011, prohibits lenders from compensating mortgage brokers or other loan originators based on a mortgage transaction’s terms and conditions, such as its interest rate, annual-percentage rate and loan-to-value ratio.

Screen Shot 2014-07-15 at 10.24.52 AMComing Soon! New The Regulatory Review Format . . . and a Celebration and Contest

Jonathan Mincer | March 29

The Regulatory Review proudly announces that on April 5th we will be posting to a new, enhanced website that better reflects our extensive reporting and analysis of cutting-edge policy issues.

Some members of Congress are attempting to moderate the pace of implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act by seeking to limit appropriations for implementing agencies and by introducing legislation to amend or repeal parts of the Act.

On Tuesday, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Administrative and Commercial Law conducted a hearing on the future of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). The APA governs how agencies propose and establish regulations.  Tuesday’s hearing explored ways to make agency rulemaking more effective.

Texas_flagTexas and EPA Battle Over Greenhouse Gas Regulations

Benjamin Thomas | May 9

The State of Texas is now pursuing its legal battle against the Environmental Protection Agency’s greenhouse gas (GHG) regulations in the D.C. Circuit. In February, the Fifth Circuit granted the EPA’s motion to transfer the pending litigation to the D.C. Circuit.

On his first day as President, Barack Obama announced his administration’s “commitment to creating an unprecedented level of openness in government.” Since then, the Obama Administration has implemented a major Open Government Initiative to increase transparency, participation, and collaboration across the federal government.

Judge Denny Chinthen on the District Court for the Southern District of New York, recently rejected a proposed settlement agreement between Google and a class representing book authors and publishers. The rejection followed objections from the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ) and may presage other antitrust scrutiny of Google.

The House of Representatives passed  Joint Resolution 37 on April 15, 2011, expressing disapproval of the net neutrality rules the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted last December. The resolution – along with a similar one pending in the Senate – marks the latest chapter in an ongoing Congressional debate over government regulation of consumer internet access.

Angela Herrington | June 9
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last month approved Merck’s hepatitis C drug, Victrelis. Ten days later, the agency approved a competing hepatitis C drug, Incivek, by Vertex Pharmaceuticals and Johnson & Johnson.

In a series of cases decided this past term, the Supreme Court clarified provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which requires federal agencies to disclose information to the public upon request. The Act mandates broad disclosure but also contains nine important exemptions to its disclosure requirements.

How much is too much to pay a financial regulator? A number of critics have posed this question to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the country’s largest independent securities regulator which oversees over 4,500 financial brokerage and securities firms.

Health_care_bill11th Circuit Finds Affordable Care Act’s Individual Mandate Unconstitutional

Elisa Solomon | August 18

Last week, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals became the first federal appeals court to rule that the individual mandate of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act violated the U.S. Constitution.  Attorneys general and governors of 26 states, small business owners, and two individuals brought the challenge that resulted in the court’s 2-1 decision.

SmokestackObama Asks EPA to Delay Ozone Standards

Sebastian Rowland | September 5

Citing undue regulatory burden and uncertainty, President Obama asked the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Friday to delay updating ozone standards until 2013. In response, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, while touting the “important” and “significant” steps her agency has taken to address environmental concerns, simply stated that the EPA “will revisit the ozone standard, in compliance with the Clean Air Act.”

Freshness - home spaDEA Plans Ban on ‘Bath Salts’ and ‘Plant Food’

Annie Chou | September 28

In response to an alarming report on the rising use of synthetic stimulants, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) published a notice earlier this month announcing its intent to prohibit the possession and sale of three substances that allegedly cause psychological effects similar to methamphetamine, cocaine, and LSD.

Boiler roomHouse Gives EPA 15 More Months to Promulgate New Boiler Rules

Chip Shaffer | October 19

With the support of nearly every Republican member of the House of Representative, along with about forty Democrats, the House passed a new bill last week that would create new guidelines for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in setting air pollution standards for industrial boilers, process heaters, and incinerators.