President Obama authorizes FAA funding but may veto the DOD’s spending bill, the EPA updates its worker protection standard, and more…
IN THE NEWS
- On the same day that President Obama signed into law the Airport and Airway Extension Act of 2016, which provides funding for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) through March 2016, his advisors said that they recommended he veto the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act—the U.S. Department of Defense’s (DOD) spending bill—because of the caps the bill places on nondefense spending.
- In an effort to strengthen workplace safeguards for farmworkers, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that, for the first time in more than 20 years, it had updated the Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS)—a regulation designed to protect farmworkers from pesticide exposure—by mandating that employers adopt a host of new safety measures.
- In light of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) authority under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to regulate “tobacco products”—a term that the FDA says has created some confusion for consumers and drug manufacturers—the agency issued a proposed rule intended to clarify its interpretation of the term under the Act.
- The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the launch of the Strong Cities Network, a platform aimed at empowering communities to combat violent extremism by facilitating collaboration among cities through workshops, trainings, and other inter-city programs.
- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final rule aimed at reducing hazardous air pollutants by requiring that oil refineries employ monitoring systems that continuously track toxic air pollutant levels, among other requirements.
- In an effort to avoid potential train shutdowns, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure introduced the bipartisan Positive Train Control Enforcement and Implementation Act of 2015, which would extend the deadline for railroads to install Positive Train Control—automated technology capable of monitoring train speed and preventing collisions.
- The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed a lawsuit against Roca Labs, a company that sells dietary supplements and food products, for its allegedly deceptive advertising tactics and for including gag clauses in their contracts in order to sue customers who posted negative comments online about the products.
WHAT WE’RE READING THIS WEEK
- A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine examined the regulation of federal research funding in the sciences. The report argued that the growing number of federal regulations is forcing investigators to invest onerous amounts of time and resources into complying with redundant and cumbersome administrative requirements, effectively undercutting the nation’s research investment.
- In a forthcoming publication for the U.C. Davis Law Review, Professors Benjamin Means and Joseph Seiner explore the classification of “on-demand” workers as independent contractors, particularly in recent litigation involving Uber and Lyft drivers. Means and Seiner argue that the misclassification of these “on-demand” employees has an effect on the workers’ employment benefits, and propose a way to ensure that workers receive proper employment protections.
- In a recent Journal of the American Medical Association study, Michael McWilliams of Harvard Medical School found that patient characteristics like income significantly increase the risk of readmission. He argued that these findings show hospitals may be fined under the Affordable Care Act’s Readmissions Reduction Program for the patients they treat, rather than the quality of care they deliver.
- Amelia Frenkel, in a forthcoming article for the Harvard Environmental Law Review, considers the complexities of interstate water rights through a survey of relevant jurisprudence, including the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Kansas v. Nebraska. Frenkel offers a structural solution for litigating water rights, emphasizing the need for efficiency.