In December of 2019, two new rules were proposed by the federal government to increase the number of organ transplants in the United States. As of July 2019, 113,000 Americans sat on the national transplant waiting list. The first proposed rule would change the way Organ Procurement Organizations (“OPO”) report data on the number of organs procured. The second proposed rule creates new legislation to assist living donors after their transplant procedures. Both rules were proposed by the Health and Human Services Department (“HHS”) as a follow up to President Trump’s Executive Order on Advancing American Kidney Health.
In the United States, a mortgage is considered “conforming” if it meets the guidelines of Freddie Mac (the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation) and Fannie Mae (the Federal National Mortgage Association). Both Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae buy mortgages, pools them, and then sells them back to the open market for investors. In 2008, the federal government put both organizations into a conservatorship due to the financial meltdown and subsequent economic recession. As such, the government now has stringent guidelines that homebuyers must meet if they want to qualify for a Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae mortgage.
At the end of January, the Federal Reserve Board, the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (the “Agencies”) approved a notice of proposed rulemaking (“Proposed Rule”) to amend the “covered fund” provisions of section 13 of the Bank Holding Company Act, also known as the “Volcker Rule” (the “Rule”). The Volcker Rule is a regulation that generally prohibits banks from certain investment activities with their own accounts and limits their dealings with private equity and hedge funds, also known as “covered funds.”
On June 25, 2019 Illinois Governor JB Pritzker signed the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, “The Cannabis Act” which legalized recreational cannabis beginning January 1, 2020 for adults aged 21 years and older. Illinois residents are permitted to possess 30 grams of cannabis flower, 5 grams of cannabis concentrate, and 500 milligrams of THC contained in a cannabis-infused product. The possession limits are to be considered cumulative. The legalization of adult-use marijuana for recreational purposes in Illinois does not modify the state’s medical cannabis pilot program.
This October, the Securities and Exchange Commission filed an emergency action and obtained a temporary restraining order in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York against two offshore entities, Telegram Group Inc. and its wholly-owned subsidiary, TON Issuer Inc. The SEC’s complaint asserted that the two offshore entities were conducting an unregistered offering of securities in the form of digital tokens in the United States and overseas, raising $1.7 billion to finance the businesses, including the development of its own blockchain the “Telegram Open Network” or “TON Blockchain.”
The rapid evolution of electronic health records has dramatically changed the healthcare system in the past two decades. Healthcare organizations, both large and small, have transitioned from paper records to hybrid records, and then finally, for many organizations, to completely electronic data. In 2009, the American Reinvestment & Recovery Act (ARRA) created the federal “Meaningful Use” program. This program essentially amounted to a significant government subsidy for practices transitioning to electronic health records and provided funding for organizations to purchase electronic health records subscriptions from health information technology companies in exchange for complete adoption, implementation, and the regular development of quality reporting measures using the new software.
The Supreme Court has granted certiorari to consider whether the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) has the authority to obtain disgorgement in district court actions. Disgorgement is the repayment of “ill-gotten gains” imposed as a court sanction to recover funds that were received through illegal or unethical business transactions. These recovered or disgorged funds are paid back with interest to those who the practice affected. Each year, the SEC obtains billions of dollars in disgorgement, so an adverse ruling by the Supreme Court could eliminate one of the SEC’s most important remedies for securities violations. In 2018, for example, the agency returned $794 million to harmed investors.
Thanks to the continued prominence of social media in people’s daily lives, it is no surprise that more familiar marketing strategies such as celebrity product endorsements would update for the current era. Recently, social media advertising has practically entered the realm of science fiction with the introduction of computer-generated influencers. These avatars are created to sell, but who is responsible if they fail to comply with advertising laws?
At first glance, the Fair Housing Act is fairly straightforward: one must not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability. These classes are protected by federal law and applicable universally in the United States of America. In practice, however, the fine line complying with FHA anti-discrimination laws and complying with internal leasing policies – aimed at protecting the company from high-risk renters — can be difficult to discern for apartment leasing agents.
In October of 2017, the downfall of disgraced sexual harasser Harvey Weinstein made national news and started what is now popularized as the #MeToo movement. Since then, numerous people have come forward to share their stories of workplace harassment in various industries. This leaves those in the human resources and/or compliance departments with a two-fold task: (1) protecting their employees, and (2) protecting the organization from legal liability regarding sexual (and other forms of) harassment in the workplace.