Week in Review

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Obama’s State of the Union Address, EU data protection overhaul, revised U.S. school lunch standards, the World Economic Forum, and more.

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  • At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, UK Prime Minister David Cameron promoted an “unashamedly pro-business agenda,” including cutting unneeded business regulations, signing free trade agreements, and continuing credit easing across the EU.
  • Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper stated at Davos that increasing energy exports is a top priority for the country, and that the government would focus on removing unnecessary regulatory delays in the approval of energy and mining projects.
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) closed its investigation of of the Chevy Volt after finding “no discernible defect,” while a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee majority staff report sought to raise questions about the agency’s responsiveness in launching the investigation in the first place.
  • The European Commission proposed an overhaul to its data protection laws intended to provide users with more control over how their personal data are used and to simplify the monitoring of data security.
  • Open government groups reported that U.S. agencies are clearing their backlogs of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests but are also relying on FOIA exemptions to prevent the disclosure of information to the public.
  • Tax practitioners have reportedly expressed uncertainty about the compliance costs associated with the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) Repair Regulations, which were released last month and which change the tax treatment of repairs, maintenance, and improvements on tangible property.
  • The U.S. Forest Service issued a final environmental impact statement, signalling the agency’s intent to adopt a major overhaul of public land management planning.