week in review | Regulatory Review

Justice Department sues Arizona for voting restriction, President Biden announces updated rule for union pension plans, and more…


  • The US Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit against the state of Arizona challenging an election law that requires Arizona voters to provide proof of citizenship before voting in federal elections. The Justice Department alleged that the Arizona law violated provisions of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division Justice ruled the Arizona law by imposing illegal and unnecessary requirements that would block eligible voters from registration rolls for some federal elections. The state law, passed in March 2022, could prevent 31,500 people who vote only in federal elections in Arizona from voting in the 2024 presidential election.
  • President Joseph R. Biden announced an updated rule governing the Special Financial Assistance (SFA) program that will allow certain multiemployer and union pension plans to apply for additional government funding. These multi-employer plans were expected to become insolvent by 2026, threatening the retirement security of more than three million American workers, retirees and their families. The updated SFA rule will allow the government to provide special financial assistance estimated at between $74 billion and $91 billion, which will allow qualifying multi-employer plans to continue paying full pension benefits to retirees until 2051.
  • New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has signed into law seven new gun regulations. These laws, which Governor Murphy described as being based on “common sense”, include a mandate that individuals must undergo firearms training to obtain firearms licenses and a requirement for new residents to register their firearms within 60 days of arriving in the state. Opponents have argued that the legislative effort — a third set of gun regulations New Jersey has enacted since 2018 — unfairly burdens “law-abiding citizens.” Giffords Law Center ranked New Jersey second on its list of states with the strictest gun regulations.
  • The US Department of the Interior has announced an upcoming public comment period for a proposed program through which the federal government leases public land to oil and gas companies. The program would help the Home Office determine how many areas, if any, it will make available for offshore oil and gas drilling between 2023 and 2028. When developing the plan, the Home Office Interior considered the interest of industry and the distribution of environmental risks among the regions that would be affected. Drew Caputo, vice president of litigation at environmental advocacy group Earthjustice, described the proposal as “a failure of climate leadership.”
  • The U.S. Department of Education released proposed regulations that would ease student debt burdens for students with disabilities, whose schools have closed, and who have met their commitments under the department’s Public Service Loan Forgiveness. Among other changes, the proposed settlement would prohibit colleges from requiring borrowers to sign class action waivers and eliminate strict limits on when borrowers can file a claim against a school that allegedly defrauded or otherwise profited from them. U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona explained that the proposed settlement is part of the Biden administration’s commitment to building a “more accessible, affordable, and accountable student loan system.”
  • The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced updates to a proposed rule aimed at improving the resilience of the cellular network to natural disasters and other emergencies by imposing several previously voluntary measures. carriers can move onto each other’s networks in the event of a disaster, promote continuity of cellular service during disaster-related disruptions, and facilitate mutual aid between wireless service providers in an emergency. FCC Chairman Jessica Rosenworcel said the action “will help restore service faster, speed up response coordination, and keep more people connected in the event of a disaster.”
  • The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) have proposed a rule that would establish certain conditions that rural emergency hospitals must meet to participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Rural emergency hospitals were established in 2020 to provide care to areas most severely affected by health care inequities. Additionally, rural emergency hospitals are designed to address the growing problem of rural hospital closures due to a lack of patient volume needed to maintain the level of services required to sustain Medicare funds. Proposed terms would include transfer agreements with trauma centers and adaptation of relevant requirements for skilled nursing facilities. HHS and CMS anticipate that the proposed terms will increase the medical capabilities of these hospitals and facilitate access to quality hospital care for rural Americans who are often affected by poverty and have limited access to health care.
  • The US Department of Labor has ended the Trade Adjustment Assistance Program for Workers, which was established in 1974 to provide assistance to workers who have lost or were at risk of losing their jobs due to global trade. The program provided training, case management, income support, job search allowances and relocation allowances to workers. The program’s statutory authority under the Commerce Act 1974 expired on June 30, 2022, once the program’s termination provision came into effect. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh said the layoff affects 100,000 workers who depend on the program’s aid, and he stressed that “only Congress” can reauthorize the program.


  • In a Colombian Law Review In this article, Alexis Karteron, associate professor and director of Rutgers Law School’s Constitutional Rights Clinic, described the “phantom system of family separation” that results from a criminal conviction. Karteron examined common parole conditions that lead to family separation, such as restrictions on parolees’ associations with people who have been or are incarcerated and prohibitions on contact with children for recognized parolees. guilty of sexual offences. Karteron concluded that “the conditions render thousands of families subject to correctional control long after incarceration has ended.” Karteron argued that these cases should be given careful scrutiny – forcing courts to balance individual and state interests rather than defer to oversight authorities – because they involve family integrity rights. .
  • In a article in the University of Chicago Law Journal, Daniel Hemel, then a professor at the University of Chicago Law School, questioned whether cost-benefit analysis in policy evaluation should take income distribution into account. Hemel noted that the growing inequality of income and wealth in the United States has made the case for incorporating distributional consequences into cost-benefit analysis more compelling. Hemel explained that one method, distribution-weighted cost-benefit analysis, applies larger weights to the costs and benefits incurred by low-income individuals or groups. Still, Hemel defended the typical cost-benefit analysis method, which ignores revenue because it “makes practical sense for US federal agencies.” Specifically, Hemel argued that distribution-weighted cost-benefit analysis imposes a greater informational burden on federal agencies by requiring the determination of the distribution of dollar gains and losses and the magnitude of those losses. dollar gains and losses.
  • In a article in the Yale Journal of Regulation, Justin Gundlach, senior counsel at New York University School of Law’s Institute for Policy Integrity, and Michael A. Livermore, director of the law school’s Law, Communities, and Environment program from the University of Virginia, explored two methods of calculating greenhouse gas damages when considering policy changes. Gundlach and Livermore debated the comparative advantages of using the “social cost of carbon”, which represents, in monetary terms, the damage caused by greenhouse gas emissions, versus “marginal abatement costs”, which represent the costs of reducing the last unit of carbon. pollution as part of an emissions reduction policy. Gundlach and Livermore argued that, on the one hand, in circumstances where it is important to weigh the net public welfare benefits of adopting a particular policy, the social cost of carbon should be used to measure the estimated impacts of climate change on well-being. On the other hand, Gundlach and Livermore argued that marginal abatement costs would be the best choice when a regulation aims for a specified outcome and there are multiple viable solutions as they consider the cost-effectiveness of each alternative. Gundlach and Livermore postulated that both measures can be useful tools and that regulators should use one or the other whenever appropriate.


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