Policy Matters Newsletter
Welcome to our Policy Matters Newsletter
Our Government Relations and Policy Group is excited to offer regular updates regarding the actions of Congress, administrative agencies, and other lawmakers at the federal, state, and local levels. Comprised of Seyfarth attorneys with government relations and policy experience, the team will develop solutions for clients and provide ongoing education and advocacy on policy issues.
June 14, 2018
House to Vote on Two Immigration Proposals Next Week. Speaker Paul Ryan defused a moderate Republican rebellion with a promise to hold high-stakes votes on two DACA related immigration bills next week. The floor votes will effectively stop the effort to bring up legislation through the discharge petition; Republican moderates reportedly fell two signatures short of the 218 needed to force votes.
The House will consider H.R. 4760, the “Securing America’s Future Act of 2018,” a bill drafted by Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), as well as a second compromise package, the “Border Security and Immigration Reform Act of 2018” (still in draft form), which was assembled by Speaker Ryan in consultation with conservatives and moderates. House Leadership circulated this summary of the draft compromise bill. There are no guarantees that either bill will pass.
June 7, 2018
BLS Releases New Gig Economy Worker Data. Earlier today, the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) issued its much anticipated report on the gig economy. The report, which was the first government study on the subject since 2005, found that the number of temporary workers decreased over the past 12 years, going from 10.7% of the nation’s workforce to 10.1%. Additionally, a survey question within the study found that 79% of independent contractors overwhelmingly preferred their work arrangement to traditional jobs (Table 11), a finding which runs counter to a popular narrative that gig workers would prefer traditional employment.
Seyfarth’s Camille Olson, who testified before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee on the gig economy in February, was quoted as saying “[t]his report offers new, hard data on workers in contingent and alternative employment arrangements which will help guide the broader debate on the pros and cons of the so-called 'gig economy.'” The BLS plans to release additional findings specific to workers who find gigs through an app or website in September.
May 24, 2018
Supreme Court Upholds Workplace Arbitration Contracts. On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the National Labor Relations Act does not bar employers from requiring workers to sign arbitration agreements waiving their right to bring class-action claims on disputes, primarily over wages and hours. Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch authored the majority’s decision, siding with the four other conservative justices on the bench. The Wall Street Journal editorial board reacted to the decision, saying, “[a] ruling the other way would have would have abrogated hundreds of thousands of employment contracts and sent trial lawyers to the races. What a difference a single Justice makes.”
For a more a detailed explanation of the decision and its implications going forward, see our recently released client alert.
May 17, 2018
Update on Discharge Petition Filed in the House to Force DACA Vote. The discharge petition making its way through the House has caused a divide among Republicans. The discharge petition aims to save the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program by forcing a vote on H. Res. 774, which would then lead to the consideration of four different DACA related proposals. In order for the discharge petition to be executed, it must be signed by a majority of House members—at least 218 members, to be exact. If the entire House Democratic caucus were to sign onto the petition, it would take an additional 25 Republicans to reach that threshold. As of today, the petition has 29 signatures, 20 of which are Republicans.
May 10, 2018
Trump Administration’s Spring Regulatory Agenda Released. On Wednesday, the Trump administration released its semiannual unified agenda of regulatory and deregulatory actions for the spring. Mapping out what actions federal agencies plan to take in the coming months, the agenda sheds some light on the administration’s upcoming priorities.
May 3, 2018
With Congress in recess and out of DC, Policy Matters has an update of what’s been happening in the courts this week:
High Court Applies “ABC” Test When Assessing Independent Contractor Status. On Monday, the Supreme Court of California ruled in Dynamex Operations v. Superior Court that a three factor “ABC” classification test is the correct method under state law for determining whether a worker should be classified as an employee or independent contractor. The test presumes that a worker hired to perform services is an employee of the hiring business, subject to the hirer’s ability to provide all three of the following elements:
April 26, 2018
Third Judge Rules Against Administration’s Termination of DACA. On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge John D. Bates issued a ruling against the termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, the third such federal judge to do so. In his opinion, Bates stated that the rescission of DACA was arbitrary and capricious under the Administrative Procedure Act since the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) failed to adequately explain why the program was unlawful. “Neither the meager legal reasoning nor the assessment of litigation risk provided by DHS to support its rescission decision is sufficient to sustain termination of the DACA program.”
April 19, 2018
Push for Immigration Legislation Renewed in the House. A bipartisan group of House members began a campaign yesterday to pressure Speaker Ryan to bring immigration legislation up for a vote. The lawmakers announced that they had secured the support of 240 members, including 50 Republicans, to vote on a series of immigration bills, including one on DACA. The group is hoping to exercise a rarely used procedural rule known as “Queen of the Hill,” under which the House would vote on several immigration related measures and the bill with the most votes would pass. However, Speaker Ryan has stated several times in the recent past that he would be unwilling to bring a bill to the floor that President Trump would ultimately not sign.
April 12, 2018