Monthly Archives: March 2021

New Jersey’s Legalization of Recreational Marijuana Protects Employee Users While Still Prohibiting High Times at Work

On February 22, 2021, Governor Murphy signed three separate cannabis reform bills into law that formally legalize the use and possession of recreational marijuana in the Garden state: (1) the “New Jersey Cannabis Regularly, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act” (the “Cannabis Act”) (NJ A21), which legalizes the recreational use and possession of cannabis or cannabis products (collectively “cannabis items”) for adults; (2) a  decriminalization law (NJ A1897), which legalizes the possession of up to six ounces of cannabis and provides for certain criminal and civil justice reforms related to marijuana and hashish offenses, and (3) a “clean up” bill (NJ A5342/NJ S3454), which concerns penalties for underage cannabis offenders and dictates how police may interact with youth offenders. We summarize the relevant provisions for employers below.

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MARYLAND PASSES DIGITAL ADVERTISING TAX

After more than a year of contention, Maryland’s proposed digital advertising services tax has become law (the Act). On February 12, 2021 the Maryland Senate voted to override Governor Hogan’s previous veto of the legislation. The Act requires “persons” to pay a tax at rates between 2.5 percent and 10 percent on “annual gross revenues [of such person] derived from digital advertising in the state [of Maryland].” However, due to vague drafting, who must pay — and how much — remains uncertain in many cases.

Digital Advertising Services Tax

The definition of “digital advertising services” is open-ended. The Act provides only that it “includes” (but presumably is not limited to) “advertisement services on a digital interface” meaning “any type of software, including a website,” including “banner advertisements and also search engine advertising, interstitial advertising, and other comparable advertising services.” Read more…

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Responding to Law Enforcement Demands for HIPAA Protected Information

Medical providers are often asked, or feel obligated, to disclose confidential information about patients.  This blog post discusses when disclosures of confidential medical information involve law enforcement, but the general principles discussed herein are instructive in any scenario.  To protect patient confidentiality and avoid costly civil liability arising from improper disclosures, it is imperative that providers ask questions to assess the urgency of any request and to understand for what purpose the information is sought by authorities.  Knowing what questions to ask at the outset prepares providers to make informed decisions about disclosing confidential information in a manner that balances the obligation to maintain patient confidentiality and trust with legitimate law enforcement requests for information aimed at protecting the public.

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Regulators Clarify COVID-19 Relief Deadline Extension

Plan sponsors and administrators have been grappling with how to handle the possible expiration of the extension relief granted for certain deadlines applicable to group health plans under the “Joint Notice” published in May 2020 (the 2020 Guidance). With just two days to go before the 2020 Guidance was set to expire on February 28, 2021, the Department of Labor (DOL), in coordination with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) (collectively with the DOL, the Agencies), issued the EBSA Disaster Relief Notice 2021-01 (the Notice), which clarified that the extension relief granted under the 2020 Guidance will extend past the February 28, 2021 statutory expiration date. Read more…

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A Practical Discussion on Scope of HGR Administration

With the development of bio-pharmaceutical technology, human genetic resource has increasingly been an area which attracts great attentions and heavy investment.  In response, the government has been strengthening the administration on researches by using human genetic resources (HGR).  The Ministry of Science and Technology issued the Administrative Regulation of Human Genetic Recourses (the HGR Regulation) which became effective on 1 July 2019 to replace the Provisional Measure for HGR Administration (the HGR Measure) effective on 10 June 1998; and the Standing Committee of the National Peoples Congress promulgated the PRC Biological Safety Law (the Biological Safety Law) which will become effective on 15 April 2021. Read more…

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Illinois Department of Labor Issues Guidance on Providing Leave for Employees to Get Vaccinated

The Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL) has issued March 2021 guidance for employers on “Compensation, Paid Leave and the COVID-19 Vaccine,” advising employers on providing employees with time off and flexibility in order to get the first (and as necessary, the second dose) of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Mandatory Vaccination Programs

The IDOL guidance states that pursuant to the Illinois Minimum Wage Law and the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, if an employer requires employees to get vaccinated, then the time the employee spends getting the vaccine “is likely compensable,” even if the employee gets vaccinated during non-working time.

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Unlocking Value in Health Data: Truveta’s Data Monetization Strategy Carries Big Risks and Responsibilities

Alaap B. Shah and Nivedita B. Patel, attorneys in the Health Care & Life Sciences practice, in the firm’s Washington, DC, office, co-authored an article in MobiHealthNews, titled “Unlocking Value in Health Data: Truveta’s Data Monetization Strategy Carries Big Risks and Responsibilities.”

Following is an excerpt:

In today’s world, data is power. Healthcare providers have massive amounts of rich health data at their fingertips. Yet historically, third-party vendors to healthcare providers often have derived financial benefits from secondary use of this data through aggregating and brokering de-identified data to downstream customers.

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VIRGINIA BECOMES THE SECOND STATE TO PASS A COMPREHENSIVE PRIVACY LAW

After passing with relative ease through Virginia’s House of Delegates and Senate, Governor Ralph Northam signed the Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act (CDPA) into law on March 2, 2021. Virginia joins California as the only states in the nation to have passed comprehensive privacy legislation. Companies that are subject to the new law will have to comply beginning January 1, 2023, the date when the law goes into effect. Companies should note that this date coincides with the effective date of the new substantive obligations set forth in the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA), the recently passed ballot initiative amending the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), as discussed in our previous alert.

While the new Virginia law creates a hybrid model that borrows liberally from the CCPA and CPRA, as well as the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), it also contains many unique elements that diverge from these counterparts. Read more…

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New York City Council Establishes Board to Assess Employers’ COVID-19 Workplace Health and Safety Protocols and Training

Our colleagues Susan Gross Sholinsky, Nancy Guzenhauser Popper, Eric Emanuelson, and Christopher Shur of Epstein Becker Green have a new post on the Workforce Bulletin blog that will be of interest to our readers: “New York City Council Establishes Board to Assess Employers’ COVID-19 Workplace Health and Safety Protocols and Training.”

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IBC Moratorium to Apply to Cheque Bouncing Cases

The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India on March 1, 2021 held that the criminal proceedings against cheque bouncing under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instrument Act, 1881 (‘NI Act’) shall remain stayed against the company during the period of moratorium applicable to insolvency proceedings of any company. The proceedings would however continue against the directors and other officials of the company who are made accused in cheque bouncing proceedings.

 

Section 14 of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (‘IBC’) specifies that when an order declaring moratorium is passed, the institution of suits or continuation of pending suits or proceedings against the corporate debtor including execution of any judgement, decree or order in any court of law, tribunal, or arbitration panel would be prohibited.

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