Public Policy

    • 16 Nov 2015

    Off-Campus Discipline Not Required By Title IX

    The Kansas Court of Appeals recently issued an opinion on the responsibility of the University of Kansas to take action under Title IX for off-campus student behavior. The University of Kansas expelled a male student for sexually harassing a female student when he continued sending sexually offensive tweets about her, even though he was under a court order not to do so. The University warned him he could be disciplined...
    • 10 Nov 2015

    Lawsuit Leads to Another ‘Dear Colleague Letter’ From the Department of Education

    A recent “Dear Colleague Letter” provides clarification of The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) rules and points to suggested changes to an university’s or institution’s policies and procedures. Recently, the civil lawsuit filed against the University of Oregon (UO) and its basketball coach, in which Jane Doe alleged she was raped by three UO basketball players (one of which...
    • 10 Nov 2015

    NYS Government Ethics Agency Proposes to Restrict Campaign Fundraising

    In late October 2015, the New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) released a draft Advisory Opinion that would overturn a nearly 20-year-old ethics opinion regarding political activities by public office holders and their employees. This proposal could have a significant impact on campaign fundraising practices for some New York State office holders and candidates. Background New York’s Public...
    • 4 Nov 2015

    Genetically Modified Foods Labeling Laws Under Attack in Congress and Federal Court of Appeals

    GM bill is likely to be introduced in US Senate. The industry-backed Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, [subscribers can access an enhanced version of this bill: lexis.com | Lexis Advance ], which would prohibit individual states from setting standards for the labeling of foods made from genetically modified organisms, may be introduced in the US Senate soon. The bill passed the House of Representatives in the summer...
    • 15 Oct 2015

    FAA Announces Crackdown on Unauthorized Drone Flights

    By Kevin D. Pomfret , Partner, Williams Mullen The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently announced on its website that it was stepping up enforcement actions against individuals and organizations that operate unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), commonly known as drones, without proper authorization. According to the FAA website, unauthorized drone operators may be subject to fines of up to $25,000 and up to 20...
    • 14 Oct 2015

    New Decision from West Virginia Supreme Court on Academic Freedom versus Freedom of Information Laws

    The federal Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) and state open record law equivalents are designed to promote government transparency by allowing citizens to request copies of administrative records. Increasingly, they are also used to obtain otherwise private documents from government or public university scientists. FOIA laws can expose misconduct,[1] but invasive FOIA requests can also have deleterious...
    • 14 Oct 2015

    FAA Issues $1.9 Million Fine to Drone Operator

    On October 6, 2015 the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued an enforcement letter to SkyPan International, Inc. assessing a $1.9 million dollar civil penalty for flying unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) without permission. The FAA has fined drone operators for unlawful flights in the past, but this is by far the largest civil penalty to date. This should be a reminder to unauthorized drone pilots that flying commercial...
    • 12 Oct 2015

    State Net Capitol Journal: Will California Prompt More States to Endorse Aid-In-Dying Measures?

    by Rich Ehisen California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed legislation last week making the Golden State the fifth to allow doctors to legally prescribe terminally ill patients drugs to help them end their own life. The signing of ABx2 15 ended – at least temporarily – one of the year’s longest and most contentious legislative debates. Aid in dying advocates believe it could also push other states to follow...
    • 6 Oct 2015

    Judicial Internet Research: Dr. Posner Faces Peer Review

    Last month, we wrote about the Seventh Circuit’s decision in Rowe v. Gibson , [subscribers can access an enhanced version of this opinion: lexis.com | Lexis Advance ], No. 14-3316, 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 14573 (Aug. 19, 2015), a decision written by Judge Richard Posner that created considerable controversy regarding the propriety of internet factual research by appellate courts. Now it appears that Judge Posner’s...
    • 22 Sep 2015

    State Net Capitol Journal Spotlight – Voter ID Controversies Cloud 2016 Elections

    While media attention focuses on the presidential campaign, courts are making changes in voting laws in ways that could impact election outcomes in 2016 and beyond. Under the banner of combating voter fraud, Republican-run legislatures have in the last several years passed a slew of stringent voter identification laws, some of which also limited the hours of voting and registration. But such laws received a potentially...
    • 21 Sep 2015

    Dr. Posner Will See You Now: 7th Circuit Judges Reignite a Spirited Debate over Judicial Internet Research

    The fat was really thrown into the fire in the Seventh Circuit recently on the long-mooted subject of the propriety of internet factual research by appellate courts. Judge Richard Posner, who often chafes (both in opinions and extra-judicially) at what he sees as the “inadequacy” of the facts presented to the court by counsel and the propriety of appellate courts’ “supplementing” those...
    • 14 Sep 2015

    Unauthorized Drone Operations

    Last month the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced that there has been an increase of reports from pilots concerning drones operated near airplanes and helicopters. According to the FAA, there have been more than 650 sightings of drones by plane and helicopter pilots this year, including sightings by pilots of large commercial aircraft above 10,000 feet. The unauthorized operation of drones is illegal and...
    • 3 Sep 2015

    Deadline Approaching for Compliance with Clery Act Changes

    Every college should be reviewing guidance recently released by the Federal Student Aid (FSA) office. The guidance addresses recent and significant changes to the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Crime Statistics Act (Clery Act). Since every college must comply with the Clery Act and file an Annual Security Report (ASR) reflecting the new rules in the next 60 days, the FSA guidance merits immediate...
    • 25 Aug 2015

    Equal Justice Means Equal Access to Justice for All

    By James P. DeAngelo Despite pop culture's depictions of lawyers as fast-talking, Armani-wearing, by-the-hour charging predators, many good-hearted lawyers are performing extraordinary public service magic all over Central Pennsylvania. We are often the friend behind the victimized, walking in quietly and with the competence needed, when the whole world seems to have walked out. While American citizens...
    • 17 Aug 2015

    No Decision by FDA Until Next Year On Whether Evaporated Cane Juice is Misleading

    By Stefanie Jill Fogel , Kathleen Smith Ruhland , and Maggie Craig FDA will not issue further guidance on evaporated cane juice until 2016. In a July 8, 2015 letter response to a Northern District of California federal judge (filed July 13, 2015), the FDA stated that it will not issue further guidance on evaporated cane juice until 2016. Judge Edward Chen of the Northern District of California has stayed two putative...
    • 13 Aug 2015

    FDA Extends Compliance Deadline for Menu Labeling To December 1, 2016

    By Scott W. Pink The Food and Drug Administration has announced that it is delaying the compliance date of the menu labeling rule by one year. Covered establishments will now have until December 1, 2016 to comply with the rule. The FDA extended the deadline in response to requests from retailers and trade associations that they did not have adequate time to fully implement the requirements of the rule by the...
    • 29 Jul 2015

    Campaign Coordination: Warning to Political Candidates and Related Super PACs

    By Robert J. Higdon Jr. Tyler Harber’s prosecution, and the two year federal prison sentence he recently received, are clearly warning shots across the bow of federal political campaigns around the country. And the blatant and unsympathetic nature of Mr. Harber’s crime should give no comfort to those watching and advising political candidates and campaigns. The United States Department of Justice means...
    • 29 Jul 2015

    FDA Announces Final Determination that Partially Hydrogenated Oils are Not GRAS

    On June 16, 2015, FDA announced its final determination that there is no longer a consensus among qualified experts that partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) are “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) for any use in human food.[1] In effect, PHOs will now be regulated as food additives, which – unlike GRAS substances – require premarket approval by FDA prior to use in food. FDA has provided a compliance...
    • 21 Jul 2015

    Food Court Report: Consumers Can Challenge Certified Organic Products They Believe Contain Improper Ingredients

    In Segedie v. The Hain Celestial Group, Inc. , [subscribers can access an enhanced version of this opinion: lexis.com | Lexis Advance ], a trial court in the Southern District of New York held that plaintiffs had properly stated a claim of consumer fraud based on alleged misuse of the term “organic.” The court rejected the defendant’s argument that the plaintiffs’ claim is preempted by federal...
    • 20 Jul 2015

    State Net Capitol Journal: Florida Supreme Court Rejects Congressional Remap

    The Florida Supreme Court threw the state’s political landscape into chaos this month when it threw out the congressional district map drawn by the Republican-led Legislature in 2010, as well as a revised map drawn by the Legislature last year, and ordered lawmakers to come up with a new map by Oct. 17. Justice Barbara Pariente, writing for the majority, affirmed a lower court’s “factual findings...
    • 17 Jul 2015

    California Federal Judge Rejects Apparel Company's Motion to Dismiss "Made in America" Suit Under California Law

    A California federal court this month ruled against defendants’ attempt to rely on a federal law requiring U.S.-origin claims on textile fabric products to displace a state statute with more stringent requirements. The ruling allows a class action suit to proceed, lowering the hopes of retailers and manufacturers that have found compliance with the California law burdensome and unduly complicated. “Made...
    • 16 Jul 2015

    China Passes Sweeping Amendment to Food Safety Law: The Most Stringent To Date

    On April 25, 2015, after two rounds of comment solicitation and revision in 2013 and 2014, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of China passed the amended Food Safety Law (“Law”).[1] The Law, which will enter into force on October 1, 2015, is considered the most stringent Food Safety Law ever passed in China. One official from the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) stated that...
    • 10 Jul 2015

    U.S. Department of Education Releases Guidance on Title IV Eligibility for Students Without a High School Diploma Who Are Enrolled in Eligible Career Pathway Programs

    On May 22, 2015, the U.S. Department of Education ("ED" or "the Department") released guidance regarding a December 2014 amendment to the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, that makes an individual without a high school diploma (or its recognized equivalent) or who did not complete secondary school education in a home school setting eligible for Title IV student financial aid through ability...
    • 9 Jul 2015

    Nassau County Adopts New Lobbying Registration and Reporting Requirements

    Broad New Disclosures Impacting Vendors, Contractors and Lobbyists Effective Immediately Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano issued two Executive Orders on May 15, 2015, which, for the first time impose broad lobbying disclosure requirements on contractors and vendors, prospective contractors and vendors, and lobbyists. Greenberg Traurig has been informed by the Nassau County Attorney’s Office that current...
    • 7 Jul 2015

    Autonomous Driving Means Big Bucks for Everyone

    New insights from McKinsey & Company demonstrate one common theme: the more autonomous vehicles take over the world, the more money saved and the more revenue earned by almost everyone. McKinsey interviewed over 30 industry experts around the world and came up with Ten Ways Autonomous Driving Could Redefine the Automotive World . Interestingly, they are all cash positive. How will we all make money? Here is just...