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  • Women in Public Affairs to Know: Chelsi Bennett

    This interview is part of a series on “Women in Public Affairs to Know,” by the McGuireWoods Consulting Women in Public Affairs initiative.
 Chelsi Bennett, J.D. currently serves as the Virginia Government Relations Director for the American Heart Association.

  • Hostile Environment Claims in a Work-From-Home World

    An October 2020 Forbes.com article on harassment in the work-from-home world identified eight “red flag” signs of harassment. “Just like the working environment has changed to a home-based environment, so has workplace harassment,” the article observed, warning that “workplace harassment that follows an employee into their homes can have devastating impacts on their mental well-being, as well as on their family.”

  • New California Laws for 2021: What Employers Should Know

    In 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed several laws impacting California employers. The new laws — some of which were signed into law just weeks ago — address several topics including sick leave, worker classification, employee leave, workers’ compensation, safety regulation enforcement, wages and unemployment insurance.

  • Navigating Life's Twists and Turns

    I recently met with two brothers whose sister had died suddenly. Still dealing with their grief, the brothers were further confused by the probate process and how their sister’s estate would ultimately be distributed to them. We discussed the twists and turns that estate administration can entail, but I stopped when one of the brothers mentioned that he receives disability benefits.

  • Update on Cannabis Reform Introduced as a Response to the COVID-19 Crisis

    On September 28, 2020, House democrats released an updated version of the Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act (the HEROES Act) to address needs that have developed since its introduction on May 15, 2020. The updated version continues to include cannabis reform in the form of reintroducing the Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act (the SAFE Act), with the purpose “to increase public safety by ensuring access to financial services to cannabis-related legitimate businesses and service providers and reducing the amount of cash at such business.” As with the introduction, the same ambiguities, problems and hurdles to Senate approval still exist as identified in our June 18, 2020 post, and passage appears unlikely.

  • Amendments to the Federal Rules Outlined by Proposed Effective Dates

    Amending the Federal Rules, including the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, Federal Rules ‎of ‎Civil Procedure, Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, Federal Rules of Evidence, and ‎Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, generally takes about three years. The initial rendition ‎of a proposed change to the Federal Rules, known eponymously as the Preliminary Draft, is ‎published by the Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure (the “Standing Committee”) of ‎the Judicial Conference, and from there, proposed amendments make their way up to the United ‎States Supreme Court and finally to the United States Congress for final approval.‎

  • EPA Releases New Guidance on Startup, Shutdown, and Malfunction Provisions in State Regulations

    State strategies for regulating air emissions during periods of startup, shutdown, and malfunction (SSM) have been a controversial topic in recent years. Air emissions can be higher during periods of SSM because emitting units are not in steady-state operation and some pollution control devices cannot be operated effectively or safely during such events. Since most air emission limitations are not crafted to cover periods when emission units are not operating normally, many states have adopted regulations in their Clean Air Act-required State Implementation Plans (SIPs) to provide compliance flexibility for sources during periods of SSM. These regulations typically take the form of either automatic or discretionary exemptions for emissions that exceed otherwise applicable limitations, or affirmative defenses to liability or penalties for violations asserted by enforcement authorities or private citizens.

  • Steam Electric Power Plant/Clean Water Act: U.S. EPA Environmental Appeals Board Addresses Challenge to NPDES Permit

    The United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) Environmental Appeals Board (“EAB”) addressed in a September 30th Opinion a challenge to a Clean Water Act National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (“NPDES”) permit renewal issued by Region 9 of EPA to the Arizona Public Service Company (“APS”).
 The NPDES permit renewal would authorize the discharge of wastewater effluent from a steam electric power plant operated by APS.

  • Comparing the DOL Proposal to the Broker-Dealer and RIA Standards of Conduct

    Our recent blog post compared the SEC’s standard of conduct for broker-dealers under Regulation Best Interest (Reg BI) with the standard of conduct for registered investment advisers (RIAs) under the SEC’s Interpretation Regarding Standard of Conduct for Investment Advisers (the RIA Interpretation). Here, we add a comparison of the Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) proposed prohibited transaction exemption, which includes in the preamble an expanded interpretation of who qualifies as an investment advice fiduciary under ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code (the DOL Proposal)...

  • Update on California v. Texas, U.S. Supreme Court Case Challenging the Affordable Care Act

    On Nov. 10, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments for California v. Texas, the case challenging the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) constitutionality. This case centers on the ACA’s minimum essential coverage provision, the “individual mandate” requiring that people maintain a minimum level of health insurance coverage.

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