Latest News

Education and Information Sharing: Underutilized Tools in FTC’s Data Security Work

WLF Legal Pulse - 4 hours 29 min ago
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has brought 52 enforcement actions involving data breaches. Fifty of those businesses, whose computer systems were illegally accessed by hackers, settled rather than fight FTC’s accusations that they acted “deceptively” or “unfairly” under § 5 of the FTC Act. And yet, the data breaches just keep on coming, with unlawful […]
Categories: Latest News

***MEDIA ADVISORY*** Subcommittee to Examine Legislation to Provide Greater EEOC Transparency and Accountability

Education & the Workforce Committee - 13 hours 26 min ago
On Wednesday, September 17 at 10:00 a.m., the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections, chaired by Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI), will hold a legislative hearing on the EEOC Transparency and Accountability Act (H.R. 4959), the Litigation Oversight Act of 2014 (H.R 5422), and the Certainty in Enforcement Act of 2014 (H.R. 5423). The hearing will take place in room 2175 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. At a recent oversight hearing, witnesses shared growing concerns with various EEOC regulatory and enforcement actions. For example, “guidance” finalized in 2012 limits employers’ use of criminal background checks during the hiring process. The subcommittee also examined EEOC’s increasing reliance on systemic discrimination cases and the commission’s delegation of its litigation authority to the Office of General Counsel. In response to these concerns, a number of legislative proposals have been introduced:

  • H.R. 4959, introduced by Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC), would increase EEOC transparency by, among other provisions, requiring the commission to post on its website and in its annual report any case in which the commission was required to pay court sanctioned fees or costs.
              
  • H.R. 5422, introduced by Rep. Walberg, would require EEOC commissioners to approve by majority vote all EEOC-initiated litigation involving multiple plaintiffs or allegations of systemic discrimination.
               
  • H.R. 5423, also introduced by Rep. Walberg, would provide a safe harbor to employers complying with federal or state mandates, such as a law requiring criminal background checks.

Wednesday’s hearing will provide members the opportunity to examine these proposals and ongoing concerns over EEOC’s regulatory and enforcement practices.

To learn more about the hearing, visit http://edworkforce.house.gov/hearings.

# # #

WITNESS LIST

Ms. Lynn A. Clements
Director, Regulatory Affairs
Berkshire Associates, Inc.
Columbia, MD

Mr. Eric S. Dreiband
Partner
Jones Day
Washington, D.C.

Mr. Michael L. Foreman
Director, Civil Rights Appellate Clinic
The Pennsylvania State University, Dickinson School of Law
State College, PA

Mr. William F. Lloyd
General Counsel
Deloitte LLP
New York, NY

Monday Morning Mojo: Can’t or Won’t?

InteroMojo - Mon, 09/15/2014 - 7:28pm

You have heard the stories…a car falls on a son or daughter…the father grabs the bumper, lifts the car, and the child slides out to safety. The father has not lifted a weight in years and if you had asked him yesterday, he would have told you he could not pick up 100 pounds off the ground. How in the world could he lift a car? Well, adrenaline for sure, but it’s because he had too.

When we talk about the keys to success, at anything in life, it is almost never a case of whether someone can or can’t do what is necessary…it is a case of whether they will or won’t do what is necessary. The most successful people in the world WILL do whatever it takes. The masses say they CAN’T.

For most people, we never really know what we are capable of until our backs are completely against the wall….really against the wall…when all of our options are gone and the only choice is to do whatever it takes and survive or don’t and perish. Like an addict that hits rock bottom.

The fortunate and unfortunate thing about that is most people never let themselves get there…we never let our backs get completely against the wall. The fortunate thing is we don’t need to make a survive or perish decision. The unfortunate thing is that because we never need to make that decision we never really know what we are capable of. So many people hover just off the wall…barely hanging on and do just enough so they don’t have to make that life or perish decision…life or death action. The bummer is there is always this void…this feeling deep down inside that we know more is possible. And we go to our grave never knowing what we were really capable of.

We are all capable of sooooo much more than we think is possible if we just quit thinking of things in the frame work of whether we can or can’t and start looking at things in the frame work of we will or we won’t.

Get out there and do it…you CAN, you WILL…you WIN!!!!!!

Categories: Latest News

House Passes Bipartisan Legislation to Reform Child Care & Development Block Grant Program

Education & the Workforce Committee - Mon, 09/15/2014 - 5:00pm
House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) and Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education Subcommittee Chairman Todd Rokita (R-IN) issued the following statements after the House passed as amended S. 1086, a bipartisan, bicameral agreement to reform and reauthorize the Child Care and Development Block Grant program:
 
“The Child Care and Development Block Grant program is a vital lifeline for parents trying to build a better future for their families,” said Chairman Kline. “Whether going to work or school, a lot of parents have to decide who will care for their children and worry if they’ve made the right decision. This bipartisan legislation will strengthen this important program to give working moms and dads greater access to quality, affordable child care. I want to thank my Republican and Democrat colleagues in the House and Senate for their work in crafting this legislation, and hope it will be sent to the president’s desk as soon as possible.”
 
“Today, I’m proud to reauthorize the Child Care Development Block Grant program with changes that strengthen parental choice, increase safety standards for providers, rein in an over-zealous federal government, and maintain the program’s essential purpose as work support with state flexibility,” said Rep. Todd Rokita.
 
The Child Care and Development Block Grant Act provides funds to states to help low-income families pay for child care while a parent works or is in an educational or job training program. The law has not been reauthorized since 1996. The bipartisan, bicameral agreement is based upon legislation introduced in 2013 by Senators Mikulski and Burr that passed the Senate earlier this year and includes reforms to:

• Enhance parental choice by providing information about available care options from all providers, including faith-based and community-based providers, and allowing parents to choose the child care provider that best suits their family’s needs.
   
• Strengthen safety in child care settings by requiring all providers to comply with state health, safety, and fire standards and undergo annual inspections.
   
• Promote high quality child care by reserving funds at the state level to improve the quality of care, enhancing states’ ability to train providers and develop safer and more effective child care services.
 
To learn more about the bill, click here.
 
To read letters of support, click here.

What They’re Saying: Child Care Stakeholders Support Bipartisan Bill to Help Working Families

Education & the Workforce Committee - Mon, 09/15/2014 - 12:00am

Child care and community leaders are voicing support for the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act, a bipartisan, bicameral bill to help low-income families access child care while a parent pursues an education or job-training.

“This bill sets the standard all families expect for their children by requiring providers to undergo comprehensive background checks, annual and pre-licensure inspections, and training... [and] includes significant measures to improve the quality of child care and ensure that all children in child care settings are safe.”– Child Care Aware of America

“Your substitute amendment retains that critical provision and even adds language in various sections that supports the availability of a variety of approaches to childhood development.” – Council for American Private Education

“CCDBG ensure[s] parents continue to have the capacity to choose from a broad diversity of delivery models – including faith-based models – in early education.” – Association of Christian Schools International

"The Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Program helps low-income working families and parents transitioning from welfare to work find safe, supportive, caring environments for their children.” – National Education Association

“CCDBG serves as essential support to working families who need to ensure their children are cared for and learning in a safe and high-quality setting during parents’ hours of employment, which often exceed the regular school day.” – Early Care and Education Consortium

“Working families with young children depend on child care so that they can obtain and retain a job … The Child Care and Development Block Grant Reauthorization Act will combine important safety protections for children in child care with more accountability for the expenditure of public dollars.” – First Children’s Finance

“The quality improvements in the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014 will work to ensure that more children of low-income working families have access to a high-quality early care and learning experience that best meets their needs.” – Knowledge Universe

“The CCDBG Reauthorization Act is truly historic.” – Early Learning Policy Group

“We support the proposed CCDBG improvements focused on safety, health, and quality.” – Save The Children

“Child care assistance is an essential work-support for low income parents … [CCDBG] is unique among federal programs in that its two-generational focus has the ability to support both parents’ economic success and children’s healthy development.” – Center for Law and Social Policy

“The bicameral, bipartisan Child Care and Development Block Grant Reauthorization Act will combine important safety protections for children in child care with more accountability for the expenditure of public dollars."  - Child Care Aware of Virginia

"Working families with young children need child care, and children need a place to be safe and a setting that promotes their healthy development. Thank you for your efforts on behalf of working families.” – Child Care Resources

"Nemours enthusiastically supports S. 1086, as we believe it will create a solid foundation to increase access to and improve the quality of child care for families and children benefitting from the CCDBG program." – Nemours

"Quality child care is critical for working families. However, parents can't have choices among quality settings unless children are safe and the child care workforce has the training they need to promote quality care. Thank you for supporting working families and for working to strengthen the quality of child care.” – OCCRRA

"Your efforts will have a positive impact on a program critical not only to working parents but to the 6 million infants and toddlers who currently spend some portion of their days in child care." – Zero to Three

# # #

Weekend Wellness: Unplugged

InteroMojo - Fri, 09/12/2014 - 6:18pm

Recently on a Sunday, my husband suggested we “unplug”…no cell phones, no computers, nothing electronic. Instead, we talked, read (paperback) and paused. We enjoyed nature and stayed active. I have to admit, I did go through a little withdrawl from my connectivity with the outside world. I felt irresponsible to my clients and staff. I had this sense that the world might fall apart and I wouldn’t know anything about it. How ridiculous this sounds writing it, but in the moment, it felt real!

After my very wonderful detached day which took me only a short time to relax into, I felt more connected to my surroundings and my relationship. I noticed the sounds of the birds, the breeze through the leaves, felt the sun on my skin. I listened more attentively to my husband and we talked about fun silly stuff instead of looking at calendars and scheduling. We had fun.

I woke up the next day recharged and ready to open my email and texts. I realized that to be totally “on”, I needed to take a step back and disconnect. I didn’t know this until I tried it!

I think this practice was one we can use in many areas of our lives. So many of us go full speed ahead with work, obligations, travel, our workouts and everything else which keeps us running from one event to another without pause.

Where in your life do you get so immersed, you forget so many other aspects of your life?

Where can you disconnect for a day so you can step back into it recharged?

Who in your life are you forgetting about because you are so busy with filling up every moment?

Do you even know what it’s like to unplug (I forgot myself!)?

Consider taking a pause and embracing your surroundings.

Consider if you unplugged, disconnected and went off the grid for even a few hours how you might feel refreshed the next day. Would your friends and family be inspired by this? Might be something to try!

Categories: Latest News

Bipartisan, Bicameral Agreement Reached to Reform Child Care & Development Block Grant Program

Education & the Workforce Committee - Fri, 09/12/2014 - 1:15pm

A bipartisan group of House and Senate leaders today announced a legislative agreement to improve and reauthorize the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act. Negotiated by Representatives John Kline (R-MN), George Miller (D-CA), Todd Rokita (R-IN), and David Loebsack (D-IA), and Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), and Richard Burr (R-NC), the agreement will enhance transparency, strengthen health and safety protections, and improve the quality of care.

The Child Care and Development Block Grant Act provides funds to states to help low-income families pay for child care while a parent works or is in an educational or job training program. The law has not been reauthorized since 1996. Today’s bipartisan, bicameral agreement is based upon legislation introduced in 2013 by Senators Mikulski and Burr that passed the Senate earlier this year.
 
“The Child Care and Development Block Grant program is a vital lifeline for countless Americans,” said Rep. Kline, chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee. “Working moms and dads have pursued a career, earned a degree, or acquired new skills and training because of the support available through this program. The commonsense ideas included in this bipartisan, bicameral agreement will only strengthen our support of these working families. I want to thank my House and Senate colleagues for working together to forge this bipartisan agreement.”

“For working families in Iowa and around the country, access to safe and affordable child care is essential,” said Senator Harkin, chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee. “This bipartisan bill will help to ensure working parents have access to quality, affordable child care and provide rich early-learning opportunities for children, including infants and toddlers and children with disabilities. This bill is a strong example of what Congress can achieve by working together. I am encouraged by the HELP Committee’s growing record of bipartisan accomplishments and look forward to the President signing this critical bill into law.”  

“Every parent, regardless of their income level, deserves to know that their child is well cared-for,” said Rep. Miller, senior Democrat on the House Education and the Workforce Committee. “This bipartisan, bicameral bill improves child care access, makes critical new investments, and helps to ensure children are safe and are receiving quality care. Reliable care sets children on the path toward success in school and in the rest of their lives. While helping to prepare the next generation, good child care also supports working parents to promote greater workforce stability. These updates to CCDBG are vital for our children, our families, and our nation’s future.”

“This bill helps a working Tennessee mother be able to pay for child care while she earns a degree so she can pay for it herself,” said Sen. Alexander, the senior Republican on the Senate HELP Committee. “Every month, an average of 39,000 Tennessee children get child care through this program while their parents earn an education or build a career. Today’s agreement will continue success stories like the Memphis mother whose infant received care through this program while she earned a business degree and rose to assistant manager at a Walmart, enabling her to pay for the care of her second child at the same childcare center.”

“For families struggling to make ends meet, quality child care is a necessity,” said Rep. Rokita. “This significant agreement strengthens a child care program that has been untouched for nearly two decades. It does so by preserving provider choice, improving transparency, and most importantly, child safety. This bill could truly save lives, and I look forward to its passage.”

“Every working parent with children no matter their income level worries about child care,” said Sen. Mikulski. “What’s affordable? What’s accessible? Will my child be safe? Where can I get the very best care for my kid? It is not enough to simply ensure that kids have someplace to go. We must also ensure that they go someplace that is safe, that nurtures their development, that challenges their mind, and that prepares them for school. I am so pleased that the Senate and House have come together on a bipartisan basis to revitalize, refresh, and reform this vitally important program to support child care providers, give parents peace of mind, and better prepare our children for the future. It’s time to get this done for children, parents, and providers alike!”

“As the son of a single mother, I know how important quality, affordable child care is for working families,” said Rep. Loebsack. “The Child Care Development Block Grant provides a critical lifeline to families and allows them to work or attend school with the peace of mind knowing their children are safe and well cared for. This bipartisan agreement makes long needed updates and improvements to CCDBG that will promote healthy child development and enhance quality and safety. I am pleased that both Republicans and Democrats from both the House and Senate came together to improve the lives of working families.”

“Over three years ago Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and I made a commitment to reauthorizing the Child Care and Development Block Grant program so that kids could have safer environments in which to stay while their parents worked and taxpayers did not continue to subsidize providers who created unsafe settings and threatened their well-being. It has been a long time coming, but I’m proud we have reached this point," said Senator Richard Burr. "I am thankful for the work of my colleagues in the Senate and the House who stood together to ensure the passage of this legislation. This legislation will positively impact the lives of millions of children and their parents.”  

The bipartisan, bicameral agreement includes reforms to:

  • Enhance parental choice by providing information about available care options from all providers, including faith-based and community-based providers, and allowing parents to choose the child care provider that best suits their family’s needs.
         
  • Strengthen safety in child care settings by requiring all providers  to comply with state health, safety, and fire standards and undergo annual inspections.
          
  • Promote high quality child care by reserving funds at the state level to improve the quality of care provided to children, enhancing states’ ability to train providers and develop safer and more effective child care services.

The text of the bill is available here.

# # #

Cool Apps: Apple’s Newest Toys

InteroMojo - Fri, 09/12/2014 - 11:27am

With this weeks’ reveal of the iPhone6 and the Apple Watch, we thought it relevant to give you a taste of what everyone is talking about. Just think about all the potential new apps these new items will bring us. These really are elevating the expectation of future innovations brought to us by our neighbors, here in Cupertino. To see these great pieces for yourself check out the below videos.

Apple Watch

Click here to play

 

iPhone6

Click here to play

Categories: Latest News

High Court Presented with Opportunity to Reinforce its Compelled Speech Jurisprudence

WLF Legal Pulse - Fri, 09/12/2014 - 8:55am
A petition for writ of certiorari filed with the U.S. Supreme Court on July 17 (the respondent’s reply is still pending) may provide the justices with a timely opportunity to clarify the Court’s jurisprudence on compelled speech. The case, Anthem Prescription Management v. Beeman, involves the increasingly common practice by government of enlisting private enterprises […]
Categories: Latest News

Missouri Supreme Court Invalidates State’s Legislative Cap on Punitive Damages

WLF Legal Pulse - Thu, 09/11/2014 - 1:15pm
Guest Commentary by Mark A. Behrens, Shook, Hardy & Bacon L.L.P.* On September 9, the Supreme Court of Missouri struck down the state’s legislative limit on the amount of punitive damages that can be imposed on defendants. Under the cap, punitive damages could not exceed the greater of $500,000 or five times the net amount […]
Categories: Latest News

Watch the Construction of One World Trade Center

WCOE News - Thu, 09/11/2014 - 10:53am
Oh how resilient America is! In light of the horrific acts perpetrated on September 11, 2001, we remember, we grieve, we rebuild, and we persevere. 
 
One World Trade Center, completed in 2014, is a shiny example of a large scale curtainwall. Photographer Benjamin Rosamond compiled a 2 minute time lapse video, spanning 3 years, resulting in a beautiful representation of the construction of this striking façade. I thought you may appreciate this construction video: http://vimeo.com/102482573
 
 
WCOE, USA salutes the women who were (and are) a part of this reconstruction effort.
 
God Bless the USA! 
 
By: WCOE member, Jane Hilboldt, Hilboldt Curtainwall
Categories: Latest News

Thursday’s Thoughts on Leadership: “Do or do not; there is no try!”

InteroMojo - Thu, 09/11/2014 - 9:00am

Yoda, the Jedi Master from Star Wars, offered the simplest piece of advice that saved the universe: “Do or do not; there is no try!” In other words, when you and your team decide to do something – a goal, project, program, etc. – then commit to it and see it through with gusto. Anything less than your full effort will likely result in unsatisfactory outcomes.

I offer one last passage from former Navy SEAL Commander Mark Divine’s book Unbeatable Mind to shed light on goal-setting and commitment. Divine’s suggestions allow for analysis and personal dialogue, and will keep you on the path of success:

  1. Be optimistic, and expect to win.
  2. Make sure that the goal is very motivating to you and your team.
  3. Seriously desire to win or achieve the goal. Ask yourself how badly you want the victory before you decide to act.
  4. Understand the difference between your skills and knowledge now and what will be required to succeed at a high level. If the difference is too much to overcome in the time frame you have, then you should “wave off” and choose another mission.
  5. Ensure that you have the mental and physical capital to pull it off in a way that does not impact other mission-critical goals.
  6. Once you commit, then “burn your boats,” press forward and never, ever quit!

 

Categories: Latest News

Committee Leaders Applaud Passage of Employee Health Care Protection Act

Education & the Workforce Committee - Thu, 09/11/2014 - 12:00am
House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) and Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions Subcommittee Chairman Phil Roe (R-TN) issued the following statements after the House passed H.R. 3522, the Employee Health Care Protection Act:
 
“The president promised time and again if people liked their health care plan they could keep it,” said Rep. Kline. “But the American people are discovering the president failed to keep his word, leaving them with political gimmicks, cancelled policies, and broken promises. Today the House passed legislation to allow hard-working Americans to keep the health plans they like, providing workers and small businesses more affordable health care options. I urge the Senate to support the legislation without delay.”
 
“When President Obama reassured people repeatedly that if they liked their current health care plan they could keep it,” said Rep. Roe, “he was ignoring clear warnings that this promise couldn’t be kept. As a physician, I anticipated that insurance would become increasingly unaffordable and that many Americans would lose access to their existing policies. I am proud to join my colleagues in the House in taking this important step to alleviate some of the chaos the president’s health care law is causing, and I hope the Senate will do the same.”

Rokita Statement: Hearing on "Improving Department of Education Policies and Programs Through Independent Oversight"

Education & the Workforce Committee - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 12:00am

A free and democratic society requires government transparency and accountability. We all want the federal government to serve the best interests of every American – those directly affected by federal programs and those whose tax dollars fund federal programs. To get there, we need to know what’s working and what isn’t. And we need to know the steps an agency should take to turn things around. 

The Department of Education administers roughly 80 programs tied to K-12 schools; 80 programs just at the elementary and secondary education level. It requires a massive bureaucracy to administer so many programs, and the greater the bureaucracy the greater the opportunities for mismanagement. That is why the House has taken action that would begin streamlining these programs, because a more efficient Department of Education can do a better job supporting our nation’s schools.

However, even the leanest federal agency can still be susceptible to waste, fraud, and abuse. We must remain vigilant in our oversight, both in Congress and the offices of our independent partners. The Government Accountability Office and inspectors general are at the forefront of this important effort. Their knowledge and investigative authority are vital tools in the fight against government corruption and mismanagement.        

Chairwoman Foxx noted several reports by GAO affecting higher education policies with recommendations that remain open. Here are just a few examples affecting K-12 education policies:                                                                      

  • “Education Could Do More to Assist Charter Schools with Applying for Discretionary Grants”;
                                                                                                
  • “Students with Disabilities: Better Federal Coordination Could Lessen Challenges in the Transition from High School”;                                                          
  • “Selected States and School Districts Cited Numerous Federal Requirements as Burdensome, While Recognizing Some Benefits”; and
         
  • “Education Research: Further Improvements Needed to Ensure Relevance and Assess Dissemination Efforts.”
 Each report embodies a new opportunity to serve the American people more effectively and spend taxpayer dollars more wisely. President Reagan once noted, “Government is the people’s business, and every man, woman, and child becomes a shareholder with the first penny of tax paid.” I am fighting for all those people so that they can build better lives for themselves and their families. It is our responsibility to protect their tax dollars and ensure the American people receive the highest level of government service they expect. 

# # #

Foxx Statement: Hearing on "Improving Department of Education Policies and Programs Through Independent Oversight"

Education & the Workforce Committee - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 12:00am
Independent oversight is a central tool to ensure the federal government spends taxpayer dollars wisely and administers programs and policies in the most efficient and effective way. When you consider the challenges facing our schools and workplaces, as well as the tsunami of red ink confronting taxpayers, the need for responsible administration of the federal government has never been more important.

The Government Accountability Office and each agency’s Office of Inspector General play vital roles in the oversight effort. The hard-working staff of these nonpartisan entities are the taxpayers first line of defense against  waste, fraud and abuse of tax dollars. They also help identify areas where programs and policies can be improved to ensure the American people receive the best services possible. 

Like all federal agencies, the Department of Education has a responsibility to take the concerns and recommendations offered by these independent investigators seriously. There is certainly no shortage of improvements needed at the department. In recent years, the GAO has issued numerous reports highlighting areas where programs and policies should be strengthened, including reports entitled:                                                                       
  • “Use of New Data Could Help Improve Oversight of Distance Education”;
                                                                                                
  • “Foreign Medical Schools: Education Should Improve Monitoring of Schools That Participate in the Federal Student Loan Program”;                                                          
  • “Better Oversight Could Improve Defaulted Loan Rehabilitation”; and
         
  • “Improved Tax Information Could Help Families Pay for College.”
These reports are in addition to those routinely released by the Inspector General’s office. The examples I just cited are especially noteworthy, because they include recommendations not yet implemented by the department. Agencies may not agree with every recommendation in every report. In fact, this committee may question various recommendations from time to time. 

However, each independent report represents an opportunity for a federal agency to consider changes and improve. Whether it’s the solutions outlined by the GAO and IG offices, or a set of changes proposed internally by an agency, action must be taken. The American people deserve no less.

# # #

Federal Appeals Courts Reject Clean Water Act “Permit Shield” Defense

WLF Legal Pulse - Tue, 09/09/2014 - 10:39am
Featured Expert Column – Environmental Law and Policy by Samuel B. Boxerman, Sidley Austin LLP with Katharine Falahee Newman, Sidley Austin LLP In the past two months, two federal circuit courts examined the extent of the Clean Water Act’s (“CWA”) “permit shield” defense and reached similar conclusions—the defense cannot be used by a party that […]
Categories: Latest News

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