PublicationsInsights on Current Policy Issues

  • August 13, 2018

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

     This memorandum will provide a survey of federal action on cryptocurrencies (aka virtual currencies), including enforcement and guidance. At present, some federal regulators have begun asserting oversight and enforcement authority under their existing powers while other potential regulators have not yet indicated publicly what, if any, oversight they will exercise. Other federal stakeholders on cryptocurrencies have also begun to engage. However, the U.S. government’s approach to virtual currencies remains fluid.

     

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  • January 11, 2018

    By Frank Vlossak

    Since taking office, President Trump and his Administration have worked toward regulatory reform that includes the review, revision, and repeal of existing regulations, with a focus on rules promulgated by the Obama Administration. Congress has played a key role in this effort, through the use of the Congressional Review Act to repeal rules finalized in the waning months of the prior Administration, as well as one rule issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in 2017.

    President Trump signed a series of executive orders in the early months of his presidency that are propelling the deregulatory efforts of federal agencies. These executive orders: set a cap limiting regulations in Fiscal Year 2017 to zero net cost; provide agencies with a framework for limiting new regulations and identifying existing rules to repeal or revise; direct review and revision or repeal of the “Waters of the United States” rule issued by the Obama Administration; and require review and reform of energy and climate-related regulations.

     

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  • October 10, 2017

    By Frank Vlossak

    On October 10, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt signed a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) titled “Repeal of Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources: Electric Generating Units”. The NPRM would rescind the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan (CPP), a rule that would reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from existing power generation sector sources, namely coal and natural gas power plants.

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W&J Publications

Insights on Current Policy Issues

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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By Frank Vlossak.
On February 11, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a revised guidance document setting out the Underground Injection Control (UIC) requirements for hydraulic fracturing that uses diesel fuels. The EPA also released a memorandum on implementing the policy. Also on February 11, the Department of Energy approved an order authorizing Cameron LNG to export 1.7 Bcf/day of liquefied natural gas.     


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By Eric Robins and Rebecca Konst.
On September 18, 2013, the SEC unanimously approved final rules on the registration of municipal advisors. Under the final rule, a municipal advisor is required to register with the SEC if it provides advice on the issuance of municipal securities, provides advice on certain "investment strategies" related to the proceeds of municipal securities and related municipal escrow investments in refinancing, or provides advice on municipal derivatives. Also under the final rule, a person would be providing "advice" to a municipal entity or an "obligated person" based on "all of the relevant facts and circumstances," including whether the advice: involves a "recommendation" to a municipal entity; is particularized to the specific needs of a municipal entity; and relates to municipal financial products or the issuance of municipal securities. The SEC also issued a rule to extend the temporary registration of municipal advisors, until the final rule becomes effective.

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The three-hour trading shutdown of Nasdaq listed securities on August 22, 2013 brought to light the critical role of Securities Information Processors (SIPs). A similar 6-minute in duration failure of the Nasdaq SIP also occurred on September 4, 2013. During the August 22 failure, Nasdaq's SIP went down, resulting in Nasdaq halting trading in Nasdaq-listed stocks. This action was deemed a necessary action because the SIP distributes quotations and transactions in those securities. While the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and Nasdaq both provide proprietary data feeds to certain investors who specifically pay for those proprietary feeds, no other SIP provides competing services to disseminate quote and trade information to all investors. Therefore, the temporary failure of Nasdaq's SIP resulted in no trading in Nasdaq-listed stocks. This highlights SIPs as being potential single points of failure for the equity markets. By David E. Franasiak, Joel G. Oswald, Eric Robins and Rebecca Konst.

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PublicationsInsights on Current Policy Issues

  • August 13, 2018

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

     This memorandum will provide a survey of federal action on cryptocurrencies (aka virtual currencies), including enforcement and guidance. At present, some federal regulators have begun asserting oversight and enforcement authority under their existing powers while other potential regulators have not yet indicated publicly what, if any, oversight they will exercise. Other federal stakeholders on cryptocurrencies have also begun to engage. However, the U.S. government’s approach to virtual currencies remains fluid.

     

    Read...

    Read More
  • January 11, 2018

    By Frank Vlossak

    Since taking office, President Trump and his Administration have worked toward regulatory reform that includes the review, revision, and repeal of existing regulations, with a focus on rules promulgated by the Obama Administration. Congress has played a key role in this effort, through the use of the Congressional Review Act to repeal rules finalized in the waning months of the prior Administration, as well as one rule issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in 2017.

    President Trump signed a series of executive orders in the early months of his presidency that are propelling the deregulatory efforts of federal agencies. These executive orders: set a cap limiting regulations in Fiscal Year 2017 to zero net cost; provide agencies with a framework for limiting new regulations and identifying existing rules to repeal or revise; direct review and revision or repeal of the “Waters of the United States” rule issued by the Obama Administration; and require review and reform of energy and climate-related regulations.

     

    Read...

    Read More
  • October 10, 2017

    By Frank Vlossak

    On October 10, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt signed a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) titled “Repeal of Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources: Electric Generating Units”. The NPRM would rescind the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan (CPP), a rule that would reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from existing power generation sector sources, namely coal and natural gas power plants.

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