On September 05, 2023, a bipartisan coalition of all fifty state attorneys general along with four attorneys general from U.S. territories came together to sign a letter to Congress. The letter urged Congress to establish an expert commission to specifically study how artificial intelligence (AI) contributes to the exploitation of children. The attorneys general further stressed the urgency of expanding existing laws on Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) restrictions to include AI-generated content.
The political debate surrounding Gender Affirming Care (GAC) is gaining momentum nationwide as 22 states have already enacted laws that restrict medical professionals from offering hormonal and/or surgical treatments to transgender minors. Despite endorsement and approval of this treatment by various medical organizations, such as the AMA, efforts to limit access for minors continues to press forward. Aside from the ongoing battle between politicians and medical providers, the constitutional implications of such legislation remain uncertain.
Following the Supreme Court’s decision striking down affirmative action in Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. President and Fellows of Harvard College, higher education institutions face challenging decisions in their admissions process. Although this may be a frightening time for many, California and Michigan have eliminated affirmative action years prior. These states may provide some insight as to how universities may maintain diversity. We may not see the implications of this decision until years to come. However, universities have the opportunity to collectively work together in order to maintain diverse student bodies and better represent the diverse individuals who help compose the United States of America.
A woman attempting to chaperone her daughter’s Girl Scout troop on a trip to attend a Rockette’s show at Radio City Music Hall was denied entry based on facial recognition technology. The security subsequently revealed that she was on a list of excluded attorneys as her firm was involved in ongoing litigation against Madison Square Garden (MSG) Entertainment (which owns Radio City Music Hall). this could be one of the consequences of allowing private corporations to use facial recognition technology.
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chair, Gary Gensler, has introduced more regulatory proposals impacting market participants than former SEC Chair, Mary Schapiro, did in the same time frame following the Great Recession almost fifteen years ago. The SEC has formally adopted 22 of 47 regulatory proposals since 2021, and in August released extensive final rules targeting private funds. The new regulations in part require private fund advisors to increase disclosure to their investors regarding fees, expenses, and other terms of their relationship. Other new rules prohibit preferential treatment of some investors that may materially affect other investors in the same fund.
Mayhem has ensued in the world of college sports since July 1, 2021, when college athletes could first benefit from their name, image, and likeness (NIL) based on an interim policy passed by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Chaos emerged after a number of states adopted policies regarding athlete’s name, image, and likeness. This forced the NCAA to pass a policy allowing such deals across the board, while stating in their release that the organization would continue to work with Congress to create a solution on the national level. However, two years later, no such solution has come to fruition, and in that time, states that have a large investment in the success of their college sports have been able to create or edit their legislation to benefit the performance of their teams.
An orphan drug treats a rare disease or condition that occurs so infrequently in the United States that there is no reasonable expectation that the cost of making the drug will ever be recovered by the manufacturer. The Orphan Drug Act of 1983 incentivizes pharmaceutical manufacturers to investigate and develop drugs for rare diseases with a low probability of profitability. Orphan drugs have been approved and used to treat various cancers, Huntington’s disease, Fragile X syndrome, pulmonary fibrosis, myelomas, carcinomas, and other rare and unfortunate ailments that impact people’s lives. According to the National Organization for Rare Disorders, the number of approved drugs for treating rare diseases soared from 38 drugs before the act to 6,583 orphan-drug designations by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) today. Undoubtedly, the Orphan Drug Act has had a positive impact on both patients suffering from rare conditions and the manufacturers that utilized the law.
There is an ever-growing wave of states banning non-compete agreements (“non-competes”), and New York is likely to join this trend. The New York Legislature just passed one of the broadest non-compete bans in the history of the United States in early June this year, and Governor Kathy Hochul is likely to sign this ban into effect. This broad non-compete ban comes in the form of two bills, both passed by the New York Senate. One bill would ban post-employment non-competes, and the other would prohibit employers from having employees enter into a non-compete, absent a “good faith basis”. If signed by Governor Hochul, these bills will become effective 30 days after signing. These bills will be prospective, meaning they will not invalidate preexisting non-competes signed on or before July 1st, 2023.
Shortly before the conclusion of the Supreme Court’s term in June 2023, the Court delivered three blows to President Biden and Democratic party. First, the Court struck down the student debt relief program championed by President Biden. Second, the Court ruled in favor of a Colorado web designer who sought the right to refuse service to a same-sex couple. Lastly, the Court gutted affirmative action by making it unlawful for colleges to consider race as a specific factor in admissions. These high-profile decisions came just over a year after the contentious Dobbs decision, following an extraordinary leak, which overturned abortion rights that had been established under Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. These cases are perhaps marred by recent ethics scandals amongst the justices. Consequently, voices from both sides of the political aisle have called for reform of the nation’s highest court.
On May 18, 2023, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed a new rule to address the concern of a previous loophole that allowed pits of coal ash to sit inactive and unmonitored. The new proposed rule was created in response to the August 21, 2018 opinion by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in Utility Solid Waste Activities v. EPA.