What the Proposed Illinois Workers Rights Amendment Means for Your Company    

November 8, 2022 marks the day Illinois constituents vote for midterm elections. That is if they have not already sent in early ballots. On the ballot this year, voters will see a proposed amendment that would add a new section to the Bill of Rights Article of the Illinois Constitution that would guarantee workers the fundamental right to organize and bargain collectively, and negotiate wages, hours, and working conditions. This post breaks down this new amendment, looks at the greater political debate, and analyzes how it affects Illinois businesses.

Grocery Stores Merging: Will the FTC Allow the Kroger-Albertsons Deal to Proceed?

The current largest supermarket powerhouse Kroger announced on October 14 their intent to merge with Albertsons Companies, Inc., another huge supermarket retailer in the industry. Kroger owns many well-known stores such as Mariano’s, Ralphs, and of course it’s’ namesake, Kroger. Albertsons Companies owns the Chicago-land staple Jewel Osco and Safeway, among other supermarkets as well. The companies have executed an agreement for Kroger to acquire Albertsons for $24.6 billion. The merger comes in response to the rise of grocery shopping being done at “big box” stores like Walmart and Target, on top of rising food and produce prices from inflation and supply chain issues. However, the merger is facing a lot of backlash, and many are questioning whether it will even be able to pass regulatory procedures. If the deal is approved, it is questionable whether the merger between the two grocery giants will trickle down benefits to consumers.

Post-Pandemic Telehealth and the Fate of Adderall

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) temporarily lifted the Ryan Haight Act’s mandate that imposes federal prohibition on online prescribing of controlled substances. The DEA waived its in-person medical examination requirement and set forth different criteria for controlled substances. For as long as the duration of the public health emergency (which was extended through January of 2023 this month), a patient can receive a controlled substance prescription without an in-person examination if the communication was conducted in a two-way, audio-visual, and real-time interactive communication. Covid highlighted the increased use of telehealth and digital health platforms. However, as telehealth surged, public policy has failed to move at the same speed.

The Clock Continues to Tick for SEC Climate Proposal

Juhi Desai Associate Editor Loyola University Chicago School of Law, JD 2024 In March 2022, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) released a 490-page proposal encouraging organizations to adopt climate-focused regulations. The policies could include climate disclosure requirements and an expense report detailing the effect climate change has on businesses. However, shortly after the …
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Single-Stock ETFs: The Debate Over Suitability

While Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) were introduced in the early 1990’s, the investment product skyrocketed in popularity throughout the 2000’s. In fact, only one ETF existed in 1993 before the market subsequently expanded to 102 funds in 2002, and then to 1,000 funds by 2009. There currently exists more than 7,602 ETFs globally, and their popularity among investors has prompted the creation of numerous other Exchange-Traded Products (ETPs). While ETFs are the most prominent form of ETPs, fund issuers have introduced a myriad of products that vary in terms of volatility, complexity, and investor suitability. Hence, regulators and financial professionals have continued to warn the investing public of the risks involved with purchasing complex ETPs, such as single-stock ETFs, without sufficiently understanding how the products operate.

Election Monitoring and Why It’s Important for November 8th

Voters have been questioning the credibility of elections since former President Donald Trump instilled fear in his supporters by alleging that votes were stolen in the 2020 election. Additionally, Democratic voters have become increasingly wary of voter suppression in Republican counties. As the United States midterm elections approach this year, the Department of Justice (DOJ) will be deploying stringent measures to ensure that counties and states are in compliance with fair voting practices.

Big Tech & Its Algorithms: Is It Time to Hold Them Accountable?

It’s no secret that companies like Google, Alpha, Meta, and Twitter use and sell our data. However, in recent years, the content that companies display to us while we use their platform, from the ads we see to the websites that we find on search engines, has become a major contentious issue. While Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act shields Big Tech and other online platforms from liability for user-generated content, the Supreme Court recently announced that it will hear Gonzalez v. Google. The outcome of this case could have a huge impact on tech policy and could fundamentally change the type of content that we see online.

A Collaborative Effort in Defeating Healthcare Cyber Attacks

In an effort to improve cybersecurity in the healthcare sector, a bipartisan bill was introduced in Congress on September 13, 2022, by Republican Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania and Democrat Jason Crow of Colorado. The Healthcare Cybersecurity Act relies on a partnership between the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to work together in improving cybersecurity in the healthcare sector.  The Act has been introduced as a result of record high increases in health data breaches across the country over the last several years. The goal is to provide resources for training and heighten efforts taken across the nation to mitigate cybersecurity risk. The Act would not only improve patient care but save healthcare cost by taking a proactive approach.

The SEC’s Regulation Best Interest: Purposes, Components, and Criticisms

In 2019, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) adopted Regulation Best Interest (“Reg BI”). Reg BI is a standard of conduct that applies to broker-dealers (a firm in the business of selling securities) and persons associated with broker-dealers when making a recommendation of a certain investment strategy or securities transaction to a retail customer. The SEC gave broker-dealers a time window to implement this new law into firm policies and procedures, and while no regulatory action happened in the first few years of its enactment, the SEC brought its first action in June of this year and FINRA brought its first in October of this year. This makes it especially important for broker-dealer firms to ensure they are presently in compliance with the standards set forth in Reg BI.

Pork as a Constitutional Issue: The Dormant Commerce Clause and Animal Protection 

On October 11, 2022, the Supreme Court began to hear the case of National Pork Producers Council v. Ross. The issue of this case stems from Proposition 12, a 2018 ballot revision to existing California law that banned the sale of “whole pork meat from animals confined in a manner inconsistent with California standards.” The National Pork Producers Council and the American Farm Bureau Federation (both referred to as “the Council”) argue that Proposition 12 violates the Dormant Commerce Clause and has reached the Supreme Court on this issue.