Collectively, four countries make up the United Kingdom (U.K.), including England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. In 2016, an overwhelming number of Scottish citizens voted to remain in the European Union (E.U.) during the U.K. referendum, which resulted in a 51.89 percent vote in favor to leave. After departing from the E.U. in January of 2020, Scottish industries suffered economic losses due to the ‘red tape’ policies imposed by the U.K., making it more difficult to sell Scottish products to E.U. member countries. As a result, Scotland’s independence and nationalist movement grew exponentially, with forty-five of the fifty-nine Scottish seats in the House of Commons going to the Scottish Nationalist Party, with strong support of seceding from the U.K. Additionally, in 2019, Scotland’s Parliament reconvened for the first time since 1707, signaling the Scotland’s desire for self-autonomy and sovereignty. The possibility of seceding poses questions over the future of economic and social regulatory policies for an independent Scotland.
Despite last-ditch efforts by lobbyists for the crypto community, controversial new cryptocurrency tax requirements buried in the massive bipartisan infrastructure bill that passed the US Senate in early August will likely remain unaltered by the House which has committed to vote on the $1 trillion dollar bill by September 27, 2021. The new reporting rules are sending ripples of concern through the cryptocurrency industry and even have some national-security officials worried that their breadth and overreach will only succeed in pushing illicit activities and actors further underground. Overly aggressive regulations risk forcing illegal activity “deeper into anonymizing methods and corners of the internet that would make it more difficult for law enforcement,” according to Jeremy Sheridan, assistant director of the U.S. Secret Service’s investigations office. Moreover, overregulation could also have a chilling effect on domestic innovation and result in the U.S. falling behind other countries that adopt laws and regulations that are more favorable to new technologies. “The U.S. has to make a decision if it wants to be a center of. . . transformational technology that can bring more people into the financial ecosystem. . . [or] get left behind,” said Sigal Mandelker, a former undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence in the Treasury Department. Mandelker is now with a private venture capital firm which invests in the crypto markets.
Since the start of 2021, cyber-attacks have dominated headlines across every industry. From governments and government organizations, healthcare companies, and banks, to gaming companies and oil pipelines, ransomware has impacted organizations of all types and sizes. The scale and scope of these attacks have continued to grow and have far reaching consequences. Despite current agency attempts to strengthen cybersecurity through regulation, individual users continue to pose a serious threat due to insufficient security education.
Texas Senate Bill 8 (“SB 8”), also known as “The Texas Heartbeat Act,” went into effect on September 1, 2021, banning abortions after six weeks of pregnancy or after the fetus’s heartbeat has been detected. Additionally, it awards any civilian who successfully reports someone for aiding, abetting, or performing an abortion after the six-week mark with $10,000. The United States Supreme Court, as Justice Sotomayor described, “buried their heads in the sand” and decided not to comment on the abortion ban’s constitutionality under the guise of a technicality. Historically, abortion bans have been death penalties to many people seeking abortions and contribute up to thirteen percent of pregnancy-related deaths. Abortion bans do not reduce the number of abortions, but rather reduce the number of safe abortions while increasing avoidable deaths. Abortion bans work as a form of dangerous regulatory mechanisms that function as the state-sanctioned killing of poor people who are often Black, Brown, and indigenous who cannot travel outside the state to receive care.
In May of last year, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) released a Final Rule, amending the regulations implementing Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. With this guidance came a plethora of changes to how recipients of Federal financial assistance covered by Title IX must respond to allegations of sex-based discrimination. Amongst the most notable changes to these regulations, was the clarification that a reasonable person standard applies to certain elements which are, at times, necessary to prove sexual harassment under Title IX.
The signing of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 decreased workplace deaths and injuries in the United States. Signed by President Richard Nixon more than fifty years ago, the purpose of the law is to secure “safe and healthful working conditions and to preserve our human resources.” One reason for enacting the law was to address the substantial financial burden that workplace injuries and illnesses put on interstate commerce. However, it is estimated that as of 2018, employers still spent an average of 1 billion dollars per week on workers’ compensation costs. This high price of workplace injuries can be reduced through more rigorous education and training for employees. Employers should be required to implement increased training and education to employees. Doing so would strengthen OSHA’s regulatory effect with a decrease in workplace incidents and the high price associated with them.
In the United States, Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) is predominantly self-regulated by a network of medical agencies that publish guidelines. ART refers generally to any fertility procedure where eggs or embryos are handled. ART clinics are not federally funded, and there is no specific national legislation that establishes a clear regulatory framework about the standard of operations, the quality-of-care patients should be provided with, the permissible uses of ART, or recourse for patients who have not benefited from their financial investments in ART. There are minimum standards set forth by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 (CLIA), which require strict compliance before patients can consult and use clinics’ ART services including the use of pharmaceutical products. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) also oversees truthful advertising and marketing practices within ART to ensure that clinics’ reports of success are consistent with their patient data. All states require that physicians obtain a license before providing care, and physicians are subject to investigation by state boards. Aside from this general regulation for safety and transparency, the only explicit regulation targeting the ART industry is the United States Fertility Clinic Success Rate and Certification Act, mandating all US fertility clinics to report their ART cycles performed to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). The data collected through this reporting act is governed by the NASS 2.0 (National Assisted Reproductive Technology Surveillance System), which is a collaborative surveillance system between the CDC, and private stakeholders. Self-reported data to NASS 2.0 is verified by comparing information from a patient’s medical record with data submitted for the report.
For the first time in about twenty years, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a drug to combat the progression of Alzheimer’s. The newly approved drug is manufactured by Biogen and will be called Aduhelm. The FDA granted fast track designation of the drug to speed up access to patients. While Aduhelm will not reverse already developed Alzheimer’s symptoms, it will slow down the advancement of the disease by removing deposits of beta-amyloid, a protein found in early-stage Alzheimer’s patient’s brains.
As Coronavirus (Covid-19) has slowed the global economy, business owners have been forced to adapt to volatile market conditions and use creativity to raise capital. Investors and financial industry professionals have turned their attention to Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (SPACs), which have already raised nearly $100 billion in 2021 compared to $83.4 billion during the previous year. A SPAC is a publicly-traded shell company formed by industry professionals such as institutional investors, private equity firms, and hedge funds. Then, SPAC sponsors will seek to complete a merger or acquisition with another private company, which enables the private company to become publicly traded and bypass the initial public offering (IPO) stage. SPACs usually are allowed two years from the IPO date to formalize an acquisition or return the funds to investors.
Despite the recent surge in COVID-19 cases, many Americans are still returning to the office. Kastle Systems, a large security services provider, reported that an average of 32.1 percent of employees across ten big cities were returning to work as of August 11, 2021. On August 23, 2021, the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) granted full approval to Pfizer/BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine. Polls have shown that the FDA approval will lead to an increase in vaccinations. While many people are not going back to the office, most Americans do have plans to return to work. As a result, employers are working to create return-to-work plans, while employees are left wondering about the extent of their rights. The Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) covers employers with 15 or more employees, including government employers, agencies, and labor organizations. The ADA imposes restrictions on the amount and type of medical information that an employer may obtain from an employee or applicant in order to prevent discrimination on the basis of a disability. The ADA has been dissected to better understand the regulations that govern the return to the workplace.