Review of the week | Regulatory Review
Supreme Court blocks Texas law limiting speech moderation on social media, Justice Department reviews police response to Uvalde shooting, and more…
IN THE NEWS.
- The US Supreme Court has temporarily blocked a Texas law that restricted the ability of social media companies to remove posts based on a user’s political speech. The Texas law also would have required companies with more than 50 million monthly active users to disclose their content moderation methodology. Dissenting, Judge Alito argued that the temporary injunction blocking the law represented a “significant intrusion on state sovereignty”. The case will now return to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals for a full decision on the merits of the statute.
- The US Department of Justice announced that the department’s Office of Community-Oriented Policing will conduct a “critical incident review” of law enforcement’s response to the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. . Don McLaughlin, Mayor of Uvalde, commissioned the review, which is expected to produce a conclusive report on the events to inform future law enforcement on how to improve responses to active shooter incidents. The Office of Community Oriented Policing has conducted and published critical incident reviews for mass shootings in the past, such as the 2016 Pulse nightclub attack in Orlando and the 2015 Inland Regional Center shooting in San Bernardino.
- The Biden-Harris administration has announced an initiative to modernize building codes to reduce energy costs and address climate impacts on housing. The initiative is providing $225 million in funding to the US Department of Energy to support the implementation of its Resilient and Efficient Codes program. Through this program, the Department of Energy plans to track state compliance and remove barriers to compliance with modern commercial and residential energy codes. The administration’s announcement of the initiative follows a previous announcement by the administration in May about a new collaboration between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Energy, the White House Council on Environmental Quality, and the U.S. General Services Administration to develop building energy efficiency standards aimed at achieving federal net zero carbon emissions by 2045.
- The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the creation of an Office of Environmental Justice to protect vulnerable populations from the health effects of pollution and other environmental health issues. In its announcement, HHS explained that it intends for the Office of Environmental Justice to lead initiatives aimed at improving the health of disadvantaged American communities. Commenting on the new office, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said, “Many communities across our nation — especially low-income communities and communities of color — continue to bear the brunt of pollution from industrial development. “.
- The US Department of the Interior has announced a rate reduction policy to increase renewable energy generation on public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management. The announcement predicted that the policy – through the creation of new Renewable Energy Coordinating Offices – is expected to increase BLM’s capacity to process renewable energy proposals. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland noted that “clean energy projects on public lands have an important role to play in reducing our nation’s greenhouse gas emissions.”
- HHS issued a final rule retiring an earlier rule that would have required HHS to review all of its 18,000 existing regulations before they expire in 2026. The earlier rule had already been finalized on the last day of HHS administration. former President Donald Trump. In its notice of withdrawal, the Department argued that the automatic expirations could have impeded its “ability to fulfill its public health and social service missions, advance national priorities, and address the challenges facing the nation.”
- The EPA announced $97 million in Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act loans to the Medford Water Commission to upgrade water infrastructure in Medford, Oregon. The commission plans to use the loans to ensure access to safe and reliable drinking water by building disaster-resistant infrastructure. The commission expects the loans to save Medford $12 million and create 600 jobs. According to the EPA, loans made under the Water Infrastructure Funding and Innovation Act have so far funded more than $32 billion in water infrastructure improvements, created nearly 97,000 jobs in the nationwide and saves taxpayers more than $5 billion.
- The Department of Justice and the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have released an interim final rule regarding asylum seekers. Under the rule, if DHS determines that asylum seekers have a credible fear of persecution or torture, DHS must, within 45 days, refer asylum seekers to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. United States for an interview on the merits of asylum. Following an interview, DHS can either award asylum seekers benefits or direct them to an expedited removal process. DHS said the new rule should speed up the hearing and removal processes for asylum seekers, which previously took years to complete.
WHAT WE READ THIS WEEK
- In a National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) working paper, Markus Gehrsitz, senior lecturer at the University of Strathclyde, and NBER research associates Henry Saffer and Michael Grossman, argue that excise taxes on alcohol encourage heavy drinkers to reduce their purchases of alcohol, but also to let low-income drinkers buy less alcohol and pay more for it. Gehrsitz, Saffer and Grossman noted, however, that low-income drinkers represent only 22% of all heavy drinkers. Accordingly, Gehrsitz, Saffer, and Grossman concluded that the negative impacts of alcohol excise taxes on low-income drinkers can be justified by these overall reductions in heavy drinking.
- In a brief published by the Urban Institute, Michael Karpman, Senior Research Associate at the Urban Institute, Kassandra Martinchek, Research Associate at the Institute, and Breno Braga, Affiliate Researcher at the Institute of Labor Economics, assessed the decline in medical debt following the COVID-19 pandemic. Karpman, Martinchek, and Braga speculated that the decline may have resulted from people’s decreased use of health services during the pandemic, federal pandemic stimulus payments, and federal health care legislation. pandemic that has increased Medicaid enrollment. To support declining medical debt after pandemic relief ended, Karpman, Martinchek, and Braga suggested that health insurance reforms could be part of the solution by closing the Medicaid coverage gap, by extending the premium reduction provisions of the American Rescue Plan Act and enforcing medical provider compliance.
- In an article to appear in the Journal of Accounting and Public Policy, Deakin University Professor Dichu Bao and Professors Lixin (Nancy) Su and Professor Yong Zhang of Hong Kong Polytechnic University described the results of their study of the effects of a 2006 Securities and United States Exchange Commission requiring disclosure of Chief Financial Officer (CFO) compensation. . Bao, Su, and Zhang compared the job performance of CFOs by comparing a control group of companies that already disclosed CFO compensation before 2006 to those that implemented disclosure after the rule took effect, using measures of accounting misstatements and unexplained audit costs. Bao, Su, and Zhang said their study found a positive improvement in CFO performance confirming “the SEC’s intended benefits” of increased executive accountability and transparency.