The Regulatory Week in Review: November 20, 2015

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The French government tightens security ahead of Paris’ climate change conference, U.S. Senators urge President Obama to stamp out mandatory arbitration clauses, and more…

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IN THE NEWS

  • An administrative law judge dismissed the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) complaint against cancer-testing laboratory LabMD, Inc. for the company’s allegedly unfair trade practice of failing to prevent unauthorized access to its patient information—marking the federal agency’s first unsuccessful enforcement action against a company concerning data security issues.
  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a proposed rule that would require certain power plants to emit less nitrogen oxides emissions—a requirement created in response to the agency’s finding that current emissions travel downwind, causing affected states to exceed the permitted ozone pollution level.
  • Sixteen Senate Democrats wrote a letter to President Obama, urging that the executive branch adopt the lawmakers’ recommendations aimed at cracking down against mandatory arbitration clauses in consumer contracts, including that: the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issue rules limiting these clauses, federal agencies strip companies of federal dollars that continue to include the clauses in consumer contracts, and these clauses are declared unenforceable against servicemembers, among other proposals.
  • Following several drone-related accidents, Chicago’s City Council passed an ordinance proscribing drones in the city, with the exception of those that are used “for hobby or recreational purposes” and are in compliance with certain other restrictions.
  • The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sued dietary supplement company, Sunrise Nutraceuticals, for allegedly falsely claiming in advertisements that one of its supplements treats heroin and other opiate addictions—one of several lawsuits that the FTC has launched against dietary supplement companies due to their marketing practices.

WHAT WE’RE READING THIS WEEK

  • A recent report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) stated that there are significant vulnerabilities in the cyber security of 15 federal agencies.
  • In a recent report for the Brookings Institution, authors Matthew M. Chingos and Kristin Blagg proposed a new model for comparing colleges based on their graduates’ earnings. Chingos and Blagg suggested that the Obama Administration’s College Scorecard—which helps students pick schools based on factors like graduates’ salaries—provide earnings data by major and ensure income data omit spousal income.