PublicationsInsights on Current Policy Issues

  • 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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  • May 16, 2017

    By Frank Vlossak

    On May 8, 2017, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a memorandum titled “Guidance for Section 2 of Executive Order 13783, titled ‘Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth’”. E.O. 13783 directs federal agencies to review, and potentially suspend, revise or repeal, existing regulations that “burden domestic energy production.”

     

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  • April 19, 2017

    By Frank Vlossak

    On April 13, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a notice in the Federal Register soliciting public comments “on regulations that may be appropriate for repeal, replacement, or modification.” The notice is part of the EPA’s efforts to implement the Executive Order titled “Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda” (E.O. 13777), which was signed by President Trump on February 24, 2017. The deadline for submitting public comments is May 15, 2017. EPA offices will also be conducting public forums on regulatory reform over the next four weeks. The Executive Order establishes mechanisms intended to reduce regulations, including by implementing the President’s January 30, 2017 Executive Order (E.O. 13771) which calls for agencies to eliminate two regulations for each new regulation they promulgate.

     

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W&J Publications

Insights on Current Policy Issues

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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On Friday, August 16, 2013, David Franasiak gave a presentation to the Canadian Security Traders in Vancouver BC . It included key regulatory issues relating to the equity markets as well as the JOBS ACT.

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On Wednesday, June 5, 2013, the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") introduced a series of proposed reforms regarding Money Market Mutual Funds ("MMFs"). The two main provisions of the proposed reforms require: (1) a floating Net Asset Value ("FNAV") for prime institutional MMFs; and (2) the imposition of liquidity fees if a fund's weekly liquid assets fall below a certain threshold, in conjunction with redemption suspensions, or gates, during times of market stress ("Fees and Gates"). The SEC recommended taking one or both of the main proposed reforms in conjunction with any number of other proposed measures including but not limited to: enhanced stress-testing requirements; enhanced disclosures; and more stringent diversification requirements. The proposed reforms include a compliance date of 2 years to provide time for MMFs to convert to a FNAV. By David E. Franasiak, Joel Oswald, Eric Robins and Alison Kelly.

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PublicationsInsights on Current Policy Issues

  • 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.

    Read...

    Read More
  • May 16, 2017

    By Frank Vlossak

    On May 8, 2017, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a memorandum titled “Guidance for Section 2 of Executive Order 13783, titled ‘Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth’”. E.O. 13783 directs federal agencies to review, and potentially suspend, revise or repeal, existing regulations that “burden domestic energy production.”

     

    Read...

    Read More
  • April 19, 2017

    By Frank Vlossak

    On April 13, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a notice in the Federal Register soliciting public comments “on regulations that may be appropriate for repeal, replacement, or modification.” The notice is part of the EPA’s efforts to implement the Executive Order titled “Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda” (E.O. 13777), which was signed by President Trump on February 24, 2017. The deadline for submitting public comments is May 15, 2017. EPA offices will also be conducting public forums on regulatory reform over the next four weeks. The Executive Order establishes mechanisms intended to reduce regulations, including by implementing the President’s January 30, 2017 Executive Order (E.O. 13771) which calls for agencies to eliminate two regulations for each new regulation they promulgate.

     

    Read...

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