PublicationsInsights on Current Policy Issues

  • March 7, 2017

    By Frank Vlossak

    On February 24, 2017, President Trump signed an Executive Order entitled “Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda”. The Executive Order establishes mechanisms intended to reduce regulations, including by implementing the President’s January 30, 2017 Executive Order which calls for agencies to eliminate two regulations for each new regulation they promulgate. Among the requirements of this latest Executive Order are mandates for federal agencies to appoint “Regulatory Reform Officers” and establish “Regulatory Reform Task Forces”. As described in a White House press release, the Executive Order directs each agency’s Regulatory Reform Task Force to: “evaluate existing regulations and identify candidates for repeal or modification”; and “focus on eliminating costly and unnecessary regulations.”

     

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  • February 9, 2017

    By Frank Vlossak

    On January 30, 2017, President Trump signed an Executive Order entitled “Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs”. The Executive Order is intended to ensure that “for every one new regulation issued, at least two prior regulations be identified for elimination”. On February 3, the White House issued a memorandum titled “Interim Guidance Implementing Section 2 of the Executive Order of January 30, 2017…” The memorandum provides agencies with information on how to implement the “Regulatory Cap for Fiscal Year 2017” established by the Executive Order.   

    Among the issues addressed, the February 3, memorandum clarifies that the Executive Order applies only to significant rulemakings, and does not require compliance by independent federal agencies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

     

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  • January 25, 2017

    By Frank Vlossak 

    On January 24, President Trump signed an executive order and four memoranda addressing pipeline, infrastructure, and manufacturing issues. The memoranda include one directing prompt consideration of the remaining federal approvals needed by the Dakota Access Pipeline. Another memorandum invites TransCanada to resubmit its application for a Presidential border-crossing permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline. The memorandum further directs the Department of State to “reach a final permitting decision” within 60 days of receiving a new Keystone XL permit application.

    A memorandum to the Secretary of Commerce requires the development of a “plan” to require “all new pipelines, as well as retrofitted, repaired, or expanded pipelines [to]…use materials and equipment [including steel] produced in the United States, to the maximum extent possible and to the extent permitted by law…”

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W&J Publications

Insights on Current Policy Issues

By David E. Franasiak, Joel G. Oswald, and Hanna Laver

On December 10, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reversed the insider trading convictions of two former hedge fund managers. The court held an individual can only be convicted of insider trading for trading on confidential information if he or she knew the original tipper disclosed it in exchange for a personal benefit. The Court denied a request for an en banc rehearing on April 3, 2015. The only remaining option is to appeal to the Supreme Court, but legal analysts assert that is unlikely. A recent U.S. District Court decision applying the Second Circuit ruling requires the SEC meet a tougher standard at trial for what constitutes insider trading. Judge Jed Rakoff also suggested Congress should formally define insider trading, saying “if unlawful insider trading is to be properly deterred, it must be adequately defined.” In light of the December ruling, several bills were introduced in Congress that would modify the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to strengthen its prohibitions on trading on material or inside information.  

 

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By Frank Vlossak.

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has begun an effort to develop requirements for hazardous liquid pipeline operators to verify the integrity and maximum operating pressure of their pipelines. The initiative is based on a parallel effort targeting natural gas pipelines. PHMSA has not yet developed the integrity verification process (IVP) proposal as a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), however the details provided in a draft flow chart indicate the requirements of a rule could be significant. 

 

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By David E. Franasiak, Joel G. Oswald and Rebecca L. Konst

On November 17, 2014 the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) released companion proposals to “require disclosure of pricing reference information on customer confirmations for transactions in fixed income securities.” The MSRB proposal covers municipal bonds and the FINRA proposal covers fixed income securities in general. FINRA and the MSRB are taking a coordinated approach to this rulemaking and their proposals are substantially similar though apply to their different portions of the market.    


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By Frank Vlossak.

In the next two weeks, both the House and Senate are expected to take up legislation to approve TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline. With 60 or more Senators expected to vote to invoke cloture and end any filibuster, both chambers are on track to approve the legislation. It is likely however that President Obama will veto the bill, although the Administration has yet to explicitly threaten such action. If the President vetoes the bill, it is unlikely that proponents have sufficient votes to override the veto.  

 

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Follow the results on Election Night with the Williams & Jensen 2014 Midterm Election Guide. The Guide includes all Senate, House and governors’ races, as well as sections highlighting the most competitive election contests and a guide to state poll closing times.



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By Frank Vlossak.

The Department of Commerce has allowed the export of the light hydrocarbon known as condensate, approving an interpretation of current law that allows export of lightly-processed condensate as a refined product. While the action by the Department of Commerce may allow economical processing and export of growing domestic condensate production, it does not necessarily signal a broader loosening of the 1975 restrictions on crude oil exports.  
 

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On Tuesday, April 8, 2014, David Franasiak gave a presentation at the meeting of the International Stock Exchange Executives Emeriti, Inc. (ISEEE) and ISEEE Capital Markets Development Workshop as part of a panel discussion on “Recent Regulatory Actions and Proposals Affecting the Exchanges and Capital Markets and the Issues Raised”. 
 

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By David E. Franasiak, Joel Oswald, Eric Robins and Rebecca Konst.

With the enactment of the Dodd-Frank Act in 2010, the responsibilities of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) have grown. New or expanded areas of SEC regulatory authority include the regulation of securities-based swaps, increased corporate governance and disclosure requirements, registration of certain private funds, registration of municipal financial advisers and swap advisers, the Volcker Rule prohibitions, additional regulations for credit rating agencies, and securitization requirements. The SEC’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget request is $1.7 billion, an increase of 26 percent from the FY 2014 enacted amount of $1.35 billion. The SEC budget, which is appropriated to the SEC by Congress, is entirely funded through the collection of securities transaction (options and equity transaction) fees, known as Section 31 fees.  The Section 31 fee fluctuates, reflecting the combination of changes in dollar volume trading and the SEC funding levels as set by Congress through annual appropriations bills. 

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By George Olsen.

This detailed summary of the health care provisions in President Obama’s FY2015 budget request spans all federal agencies including the Departments of Defense, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Treasury, Labor, Justice, and Veterans’ Affairs, as well as the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Science Foundation.


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By Eric Robins, Rebecca Konst and Joel Oswald.

On February 11, the House passed the “Small Cap Liquidity Reform Act” (H.R.3448) by a vote of 412 to 4. Introduced by Representatives Sean Duffy (R-WI) and John Carney (D-DE), the legislation would require the Securities and Exchange Committee to conduct a five-year pilot program to allow the stocks of emerging growth companies (EGCs) to quote in 5 or 10 cent increments (“tick size”).
  


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PublicationsInsights on Current Policy Issues

  • March 7, 2017

    By Frank Vlossak

    On February 24, 2017, President Trump signed an Executive Order entitled “Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda”. The Executive Order establishes mechanisms intended to reduce regulations, including by implementing the President’s January 30, 2017 Executive Order which calls for agencies to eliminate two regulations for each new regulation they promulgate. Among the requirements of this latest Executive Order are mandates for federal agencies to appoint “Regulatory Reform Officers” and establish “Regulatory Reform Task Forces”. As described in a White House press release, the Executive Order directs each agency’s Regulatory Reform Task Force to: “evaluate existing regulations and identify candidates for repeal or modification”; and “focus on eliminating costly and unnecessary regulations.”

     

    Read...

    Read More
  • February 9, 2017

    By Frank Vlossak

    On January 30, 2017, President Trump signed an Executive Order entitled “Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs”. The Executive Order is intended to ensure that “for every one new regulation issued, at least two prior regulations be identified for elimination”. On February 3, the White House issued a memorandum titled “Interim Guidance Implementing Section 2 of the Executive Order of January 30, 2017…” The memorandum provides agencies with information on how to implement the “Regulatory Cap for Fiscal Year 2017” established by the Executive Order.   

    Among the issues addressed, the February 3, memorandum clarifies that the Executive Order applies only to significant rulemakings, and does not require compliance by independent federal agencies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

     

    Read...

    Read More
  • January 25, 2017

    By Frank Vlossak 

    On January 24, President Trump signed an executive order and four memoranda addressing pipeline, infrastructure, and manufacturing issues. The memoranda include one directing prompt consideration of the remaining federal approvals needed by the Dakota Access Pipeline. Another memorandum invites TransCanada to resubmit its application for a Presidential border-crossing permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline. The memorandum further directs the Department of State to “reach a final permitting decision” within 60 days of receiving a new Keystone XL permit application.

    A memorandum to the Secretary of Commerce requires the development of a “plan” to require “all new pipelines, as well as retrofitted, repaired, or expanded pipelines [to]…use materials and equipment [including steel] produced in the United States, to the maximum extent possible and to the extent permitted by law…”

    Read...

    Read More

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