CFPB issues rule for prepaid cards, the Paris Climate Deal will enter into legal force, and more…
IN THE NEWS
- The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a final rule for prepaid cards that aims to provide users of prepaid cards with the same protections as users of traditional debit cards by requiring that companies, who have three months to comply with the rule, provide both short form and long form disclosures—which are intended to assist customers in understanding the terms of an account prior to opening one—as well as requiring that customers be given at least 21 days to repay debt before charging late fees.
- Now that the European Union has ratified the Paris Climate Agreement, support for the Agreement has reached the threshold required for the Agreement to enter into legal force, and the Agreement will take effect on November 4th, after which participating countries will hammer out details of implementing the Agreement at COP 22, the annual meeting of the parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC).
- The U.S. Supreme Court rejected, without comment, a petition from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) asking the Court to rehear U.S. v. Texas—the case in which a 4-4 decision by the Court left in place a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit blocking the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) plan, a cornerstone of the Obama Administration’s immigration policy—when a ninth Justice is appointed to the Court, meaning that the nationwide injunction against the executive action will remain in place.
- Eight public health and medical groups filed suit against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts seeking to require FDA to issue a final rule mandating graphic warnings on cigarette packs and advertisements by alleging that FDA’s failure to issue a graphic warnings rule is in violation of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (Tobacco Control Act)—a law which gave FDA until June of 2011 to issue a rule requiring these warnings—and noting that, though the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit struck down FDA’s initial graphic warning rule, the ruling applied to the specific images in the rule, not the law’s underlying requirement.
- The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that Credit Suisse AG agreed to pay a $90 million fine to settle charges that it misrepresented the methodology it used to determine an important wealth management performance metric. In disclosures, Credit Suisse claimed it individually assessed each client’s assets in determining net new assets, but the SEC said an investigation it conducted found that Credit Suisse sometimes used “an undisclosed results-driven approach” to determine net new assets.
- In a second major development for international climate policy this week, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) adopted an agreement among its 191 member countries, including the United States, to limit carbon dioxide emissions from international airline flights by adopting a market-based policy that will require airlines to purchase offset credits for every increase in emissions beginning in the year 2020—a policy that members of the environmental community call a “good first step” towards curbing carbon emission from airlines and which was applauded by U.S. airline industry.
- The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) released a final rule that will increase efficiency standards for certain “miscellaneous refrigeration products”—most notably, wine chillers and “combination” products such as chiller-freezers or chiller-refrigerators—and which the DOE stated could result in a reduction of up to 58 percent in energy use and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an amount “equivalent to the emissions resulting from the annual electricity use of more than 2.8 million homes.”
- The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) at the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced that Tyson Foods, Inc. agreed to pay a $1.6 million settlement stemming from allegations of discriminatory hiring practices at six locations in Texas, New Mexico, and Arkansas. Lola Hithon, Tyson’s Vice President for Employment Compliance, reportedly stated that the company was “disappointed” with the OFCCP’s allegations and that the company works “hard to comply with all hiring laws and to treat all job applicants fairly,” but the OFCCP alleged that its investigation had uncovered evidence of discrimination “on the bases of sex, race and/or ethnicity.”
- The Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) released the “living wills” of five major U.S. banks—plans that are required of banks with more than $50 billion in assets under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, and that “must describe the company’s strategy for rapid and orderly resolution in the event of material financial distress or failure of the company.” The living wills were released after several banks’ plans were rejected by regulators earlier this year, and, according to the agencies, not “yet been reviewed by the agencies, which will now be initiating their process for review.”
WHAT WE’RE READING THIS WEEK
- A new report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) assessed the “resources the federal government devotes to public relations,” including by making information about regulations available to the public. The GAO found that over the past decade, total federal spending on public relations has averaged about $1 billion annually, with ten agencies accounting for roughly 95 percent of spending. The report also noted that “[t]he combined salary amounts for federal public relations employees averaged approximately $430 million from fiscal year 2006 through 2014.” Overall, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) had the largest public relations staff, and also accounted for the majority of spending on “advertising and public relations contracts.”
- In an essay for The Hill, Adonis Hoffman said that Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler’s decision to postpone voting on the FCC’s set-top box proposal might have been “one of his most prudent.” Hoffman, a former chief of staff and senior legal advisor to FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, argued that the FCC has not been transparent about the development of the proposal, and urged Chairman Wheeler to use the delay as an opportunity to release the current draft of the proposal for public review.
- A report released by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) examined the efficacy of state-based workers’ compensation programs, and concluded that “the current situation warrants a significant change in approach in order to address the inadequacies of the systems.” Among other policy recommendations, the report recommends that the DOL explore the possibility of establishing “standards that would trigger increased federal oversight if workers’ compensation programs fail to meet those standards.”