Week in Review

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The Social Security Administration issued a rule streamlining the Supplemental Security Income application process, Ron DeSantis signed a bill that prohibits children under 14 years old from having social media accounts, and more…

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  • The Social Security Administration published a final rule updating and simplifying the process of applying for and receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSI provides monthly payments to adults and children with a disability or blindness and adults aged 65 and older. The final rule omits food from calculations used to determine eligibility for SSI. The agency explained that this policy removes a “critical barrier for SSI eligibility,” because reporting food can be burdensome and applicants could receive food informally from family and community networks.
  • Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed HB 3 into law, which will prevent children under 14 years old from maintaining social media accounts and will require parental consent for 14- and 15-year-old children when it takes effect in January 2025. The new legislation expects to protect children from social media harms including exposure to predators and mental health issues, and mandates age verification for pornographic websites. Critics argue that the bill violates the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment protections for free speech and contend that decisions regarding the online presence of children of all ages should rest with parents—not the government.
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Winrevair, a medication designed to address high blood pressure in adults caused by lung artery constriction—a condition known as pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). Winrevair uses a novel strategy by targeting activin proteins linked to PAH and can address symptoms such as elevated blood pressure, breathlessness, chest pain, and dizziness. The treatment is expected to incur a yearly cost of approximately $238,000 with an estimated 40,000 individuals in the United States affected by the disease.
  • The 24 regulatory agencies worldwide released a joint statement pledging to increase their technical capacities to help keep agencies up to date with the evolving digital world. Among these agencies were the United States’s Federal Trade Commission, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and National Labor Relations Bureau. The joint statement stated the agencies’ goals of developing and strengthening technological expertise within the agencies to improve enforcement in the Tech world and keep pace with future technological developments. Additionally, the agencies agreed to strengthen their cooperation and share best practices for regulations and enforcement.
  • The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a proposed rule designed to prohibit unfair or deceptive practices relating to fees for goods and services. The proposed rule targets businesses that fail to state mandatory fees in advertised prices and misrepresent the nature and purpose of fees. The rule is part of the FTC’s efforts to address junk fees, which the agency describes as “hidden and bogus fees that can harm consumers and undercut honest business.” The agency explained that reducing junk fees will save consumers time and money because they will not need to search for the accurate total price of goods and services they purchase.
  • The European Union began an investigation into Apple, Meta, and Google’s parent company Alphabet to examine these three companies for non-compliance under the Digital Markets Act. The investigation is the first under the Act and will center on Apple and Alphabet’s practices that limit app developer’s abilities to advertise their products outside of Apple and Google’s app stores, Google’s ability to self-preference their products over rival products in search results, Apple’s practices that constrain users from using browsers other than Safari, and Meta’s new European business model that would require people to consent to certain uses of their personal information or pay a subscription fee to use their services. If the Commission finds that these companies violated the Act, they may face fines of up to 10% of their global revenue.
  • The U.S Environmental Protection Agency finalized response plan requirements for worst-case discharges of substances deemed hazardous under the Clean Water Act. A worst-case discharge is the largest foreseeable discharge that may happen in adverse weather conditions, including those due to climate change. The rule requires facilities subject to the rule to submit response plans in the event of worst-case discharges to the agency. The agency explained that planning for these incidents is especially important as climate change increases the frequency and severity of extreme weather events.


  • In a recent paper, Jacob Turner, an attorney at Fountain Court, and Tristan Goodman, an independent contributor, proposed the concept of professionalism as a vital, yet currently overlooked, aspect of regulatory measures. Unlike conventional top-down regulations imposed on artificial intelligence (AI) organizations, professionalism in industries like medicine, accounting, and airline pilots offers a bottom-up approach by instilling shared values among individuals and could do the same for AI development and deployment. Turner and Goodman suggested that select individuals should undergo standardized training and certification, with ongoing adherence to minimum standards throughout their careers to help implement globally agreed-upon principles for AI development.
  • In an article in the Albany Law Review, Marc L. Roark, Professor of Law at the University of Tulsa, recounted the history of squatters in America. Roark explained how America’s laws regarding squatting and other forms of adverse possession are crucial for regulating land and defining what the country considers an ideal landowner. Roark recounted the various forms of squatting throughout American history, from pioneers homesteading their lands in the nineteenth century to modern squatters in cities, and examines how the regulations themselves have changed and how those changes have impacted society’s views of squatting and adverse possession. Roark argued that understanding this history provides a window into the society’s values of land and property laws and that those values can be used to create better regulations.
  • In a recent paper, Cass Sunstein of Harvard Law School argued that judges belong to “epistemic communities,” or groups of like-minded thinkers, which impede their ability to change their views in light of new information. Sunstein identified two issues of constitutional and administrative law where this pattern can be observed: the nondelegation doctrine and removal power. After surveying the historical research on the founding generation’s approach to these issues, Sunstein argued that the evidence supports reconsidering both doctrines. Sunstein argued, however, that judges have not changed their views because members of epistemic communities are resistant to changing long-held beliefs.


  • In an essay in The Regulatory Review, Jerry Ellig, a professor at The George Washington University, argued that by the 40th anniversary of the Staggers Rail Act and the Motor Carrier Act, the laws removed federal entry controls and deregulated rates, leading to substantial consumer benefits. He noted that pre-deregulation constraints hindered innovation and efficiency in rail and trucking industries, prompting the need for reform. Ellig concluded that post-deregulation, both trucking and rail industries experienced cost reductions, improved service quality, and increased competition, underscoring the importance of evidence-based policy analysis in achieving bipartisan policy successes.