Week In Review

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The Supreme Court allows California to bar sales of flavored tobacco, the SEC proposes changes to stock market rules, and more…

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  • The U.S. Supreme Court declined to block a California ban on flavored tobacco products, such as menthol cigarettes. In requesting the Court’s intervention, tobacco companies argued that under the Tobacco Control Act, a state cannot impose a prohibition on sales of tobacco that differs from national regulations of tobacco. California rebutted that Congress passed the Tobacco Control Act with the express intention of preserving state authority to take prohibitive action. The ban will take effect on December 21, 2022.
  • The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission advanced several proposals to change stock market rules. One proposal would broaden the scope of Rule 605, which regulates securities exchanges and other trading venues, by expanding the entities it covers and its monthly disclosure requirements. A second proposal would require broker-dealers, who trade securities on behalf of customers, to make additional disclosures about trade orders based on when they are submitted and executed, among other things. A third proposal would reduce the minimum increment used to price shares and reduce maximum access fees for trades. Finally, a fourth proposal would establish policies and procedures for broker-dealers to fulfill their duty of best execution, which obligates them to execute trades for investors at the most favorable terms possible.
  • The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed a new rule that would require many of its programs to adopt policies to streamline the electronic exchange of health care data. CMS projected that the proposal will make health information more accessible to both patients and providers, in addition to improving the prior authorization process, which requires health care providers to receive approval for a health plan before delivering a service. Furthermore, CMS outlined, these updated policies would advance CMS’s goals of increasing interoperability in health care and reducing patient and provider burdens.
  • The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would get rid of a statue of Roger Taney, the former Supreme Court justice who wrote the 1857 Dred Scott v. Sandford decision, from the Old Supreme Court Chamber in the U.S. Capitol. In Dred Scott, the Court ruled, in an opinion spearheaded by Taney, that enslaved Black people were not citizens of the United States and could not be afforded governmental protection. The current bill would replace the Taney statue with a permanent sculpture of Thurgood Marshall “in a prominent location in the Capitol or on the United States Capitol Grounds.”


  • In an essay in Adult Literacy Education, Elizabeth A. Roumell of Texas A&M University argues that the move to digital learning, sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic, invites regulators to make workforce education policies more responsive to the needs of adult learners. Roumell identified the need for ensuring that learners have adequate and productive learning conditions that promote wellbeing and community participation. To do this, Roumell encouraged creative partnerships between local, state, and federal policymakers and workforce organizations to address the “real, on-the-ground, and contextual needs of adult learners.”
  • In a recent case study, Silvia Damme and Marina Schmitz of CBS International Business School discuss the shortcomings of the fast fashion industry. Damme and Schmitz described three main issues with the industry: working conditions and human rights, overconsumption and waste, and environmental impact and health. Damme and Schmitz identified one company, LANIUS, as a pioneer in the sustainable fashion scene. The founder of LANIUS advocated regulation of the fashion industry as a means of increasing industry sustainability. LANIUS’s founder pointed to large companies, such as H&M, as influential in making the shift toward a more sustainable industry but maintained that the consumer is the most powerful influencer.
  • In an article published in The IEEE Ethics Journal, Meg Leta Jones of Georgetown University and Natalie Meurer of Probably Something argued that companies must construct smart toys carefully at each stage of development to ensure data protection and privacy. The design of some smart toys such as “Hello Barbie,” a doll that initiates and records conversations with children, values parental control over children’s privacy. Jones and Meuer argued that in the future, smart toy companies should create a higher standard of user data protection and integrate privacy values in their product design through strict regulation of company data sharing practices.