Legal Updates

Clean Power Call Yields Two Additional Project EPA’s

BC Hydro announced today that it will award electricity purchase agreements to two additional projects under its Clean Power Call.  Here is the press release. Two hydro projects are still under consideration (Box Canyon and Castle Mountain).

These projects are:

Long Lake Joint Venture (a JV between Regional Power Inc. and Summit Power Group) – a 31 MW storage hydro project in Stewart, BC. Here is the Terrace Standard’s story on the project.

Pacific Greengen Power – a 45 MW run-of-river hydro project in Harrison Hot Springs, BC

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Untangling the Maze of Disability Laws

The U.S. Department of Labor recently released an online guide to help employers determine which federal disability laws apply to their businesses or organizations.  Called the elaws Disability Nondiscrimination Advisor, it is a series of online questions to direct the user to the appropriate laws and to provide guidance on how they are implemented.  It […]

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New Medical Code Impacts Interactions with Pharmaceutical, Medical Device and Other Health Care Entities

On April 21, 2010, the Council of Medical Specialty Societies (“CMSS“), a not-for-profit association of 32 member Societies[i] created to “provide an independent forum for the discussion by medical specialists of issues of national interest and mutual concern,” announced[ii] the release of the CMSS Code for Interactions with Companies(“Code“).[iii] This voluntary Code was developed by the CMSS Task Force on Professionalism and Conflicts of Interest and adopted by CMSS to “reinforce the core principles that help us maintain actual and perceived independence” and “to ensure that a Society’s transactions with Companies will be for the benefit of patients and members and for the improvement of care in our respective specialty fields.”[iv]

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Class-Action Arbitration Cannot Be Compelled Absent Evidence of Consent

On April 27, 2010, a divided U.S. Supreme Court (5-3, with Sotomayor, J., recused) held that the Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. §§ 1 et seq. (“FAA”), does not permit forcing unwilling parties to participate in a class arbitration to which they have not consented. This is a case of potentially great significance to entities whose contractual relationships include arbitration provisions and that generally oppose class-action treatment of cases against them—particularly employers of all kinds, but also health care providers and financial services companies, among others. Stolt-Nielsen S.A., et al. v. AnimalFeeds International Corp., No. 08-1198, 559 U.S. ____ (2010).

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British Columbia Introduces Clean Energy Act

Today, the British Columbia government introduced the much anticipated Clean Energy Act into the BC Legislature.

Here is a copy of the first reading of the Act (Bill 17) and here is the government’s press release on the annoucement.

Finally, it is worth to check out the government’s website for the Clean Energy Act which contains some good background information on the Province’s new clean energy plan.

More analysis to come….still need to digest all of this.

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Immigration Alert: April 2010

Jang Im Elected President of the Northern California Korean-American Bar Association

Arizona Law Criminalizes Undocumented Aliens

DOL Directs Software Company to Pay $1.9 Million for Underpaying H-1B Workers

Maryland Restaurant Owner Arrested for Hiring and Harboring Illegal Aliens

Courts Continue to Apply RICO to Immigration Violations

ICE Expands List of ‘Best Practices’ on Its IMAGE Web Site

Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Third Circuit Rules that DOL Retains Authority to Punish H-1B Violations

Koch Foods Fined More than $536,000 for Worksite Violations

CIS Announces Three Measures Designed to Improve E-Verify, Combat Discrimination

Secretary Napolitano Announces Greece’s Designation as a Member of the Visa Waiver Program

DOS Issues May 2010 Visa Bulletin

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New Healthcare Legislation Brings FLSA Whistleblower Protections

By Allen B. Roberts, Douglas Weiner

While most attention in the legislative and political process leading to enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“PPACA”) focused on the significant impact on the delivery of health care, employers need to be aware, also, of amendments to the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). The FLSA amendments impose certain employer responsibilities in providing health care benefits, confer whistleblower protections and authorize the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) to undertake increased enforcement related to health care.

While other features of the FLSA amendments are addressed in our client alert, “Health Care Reform Legislation Amends the Fair Labor Standards Act to Give the U.S. Department of Labor Increased Enforcement Authority over Health Care,” here is a summary of whistleblower protections:

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HEALTH REFORM: Health Care Reform Increases Employer Exposure to Claims, Penalties and Litigations

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as amended by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (the “Act”) implements significant changes to the provision of health care and health coverage applicable to all aspects of health care delivery, operation and administration. The Act imposes many different requirements on employers that become effective over time. These requirements are discussed in more detail in our Client Alert of April 8, 2010, entitled “Health Care Reform: What Employers Need to Know.” 

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Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – Advisory Boards, Commissions, Councils and Committees

In March 2010, President Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and related amendments (“ACA”) to help achieve significant health reform in the United States. ACA authorized the creation of numerous advisory boards, commissions, councils and committees.

Each of these advisory bodies has its own purpose, membership, and composition, with different policies governing pay and reimbursement, applicable conflict of interest rules, effective dates and term limits. Several will operate consistent with the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.) with the exception of section 14 of that Act (which addresses the termination, renewal and continuation of advisory committees). 

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HEALTH REFORM: Health Care Reform Legislation Amends the Fair Labor Standards Act to Give the U.S. Department of Labor Increased Enforcement Authority Over Health Care

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as amended by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (the “Act”), significantly impacting the delivery of health care, also amends the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). The FLSA amendments impose certain employer responsibilities in providing health care benefits, confer whistleblower protections and authorize the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) to undertake increased enforcement related to health care. Employers have new requirements to learn, and to implement, under the FLSA, irrespective of their size or the number of employees in their workforce.

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