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Court Cuts Class-Action Firm’s Fees to $0 after Unveiling Concealed Settlement Scheme

WLF Legal Pulse - Mon, 08/10/2015 - 9:00am
Guest Commentary by Chelsie Kidd, a 2015 Judge K.K. Legett Fellow at the Washington Legal Foundation and a student at Texas Tech School of Law. A California Superior Court judge recently turned a class-action law firm’s worst nightmare into reality when she denied the firm over $5 million in attorneys’ fees. In Lofton v. Wells Fargo […]
Categories: Latest News

Federal Judge, Referencing FDA Order on Trans Fat, Permits State-Law Class Action to Proceed

WLF Legal Pulse - Thu, 08/06/2015 - 5:14pm
The Food Court strikes again. On July 15, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California Judge William Alsup rejected Nissin Foods Company’s motion to dismiss a claim alleging that Nissin’s use of trans fat in its instant noodles was an unfair trade practice under California law. The decision comes just a month after […]
Categories: Latest News

Senate Report Takes Aim at Airline Transparency

WASHINGTON, DC  -  A new congressional report released today took aim at the airline industry for failing to adequately disclose extra fees and add-on costs charged to the flying public.

The report, released today by the minority staff of the Senate Commerce Committee, found that ancillary fees, such as change and cancellation penalties and preferred seating, are increasingly keeping consumers in the dark about the true cos...

Thune & Johnson to President: Commerce Department Needs a Permanent IG

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation chairman Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.), in a letter sent yesterday, called on President Barack Obama to, “nominate, without delay, a qualified, experienced, and dedicated individual of high character and integrity to serve as the Commerce Department’s permanent Inspector General.” The Commerce Department’s previous inspector general resigned on June 4, 2015.

“We are c...

Senate Confirms Denise Turner Roth To Head GSA

GSA news releases - Thu, 08/06/2015 - 1:00am
Senate Confirms Denise Turner Roth To Head GSA

Local Accelerator, National Recognition

House Small Business Committee News - Tue, 08/04/2015 - 2:30pm

On Tuesday, House Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) issued a statement congratulating Cincinnati product accelerator First Batch for being selected as a winner in the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Growth Accelerator Competition:

“I want to congratulate First Batch on being recognized for its outstanding contributions to the startup movement. Cincinnati has always been a community of makers and doers, and the team at First Batch is building on that tradition. By providing space, mentoring, and access to tools and resources, this product accelerator is helping entrepreneurs turn ideas into prototypes, and prototypes into exciting new businesses and jobs in our community.  I’m proud of their work and certainly glad that they call Cincinnati home.”

The SBA received more than 400 applications that were judged by over 40 experts that collectively have entrepreneurial, investment, startup, economic development, capital formation and academic backgrounds from both the public and private sector.

WCOE Charter Member and Past President Ida Brooker Retires after 30 Years of Service to the Boeing Company

WCOE News - Tue, 08/04/2015 - 9:03am

“If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. If you don’t love your job and you aren’t having fun doing it, then it’s time to find something new.” This philosophy is one that Ida Brooker has followed throughout her career – and it has certainly served her well.

Ida began her professional career in Tulsa, Oklahoma as a probation and parole officer, far away from the construction arena. She quickly learned that criminal corrections was not the field for her. Eager for a change, Ida applied for a bookkeeping job at a general contracting firm owned and operated by a friend’s father. So started Ida’s career in the construction industry. Shortly after joining the company, Ida became the company’s estimator. Soon Ida was running the company’s entire office operation, including estimating, bidding jobs, hiring subcontractors, and managing staff.

Several years later, Ida decided to move back to her hometown of Seattle, Washington. It was the 1970s, and women were certainly not being welcomed with open arms into jobs in the construction industry. Ida struggled to find a suitable position in her chosen field. She contacted an employment agency, who wanted to send Ida to an interview for a secretarial position. Although she did not want to work as a secretary, Ida went to the job interview because the employer was a construction supplier that sold lockers, partitions, cabinets, countertops, and other specialty construction supplies. Ida told the man who conducted the interview that she did not want to work as a secretary, but instead wanted a position as a project coordinator. Within hours, she was offered the job.

After working as a project coordinator for several years, Ida then went to work for a concrete sawing and drilling company as an estimator and dispatcher. The company was given the opportunity to work as a subcontractor on a project with BoeCon (Boeing Construction), which was a construction company owned by the Boeing Company. At her boss’s request, Ida reviewed the subcontract BoeCon wanted them to sign. Ida advised her boss not to sign the subcontract as written, and gave him a detailed list of changes he should request when he met with BoeCon. Ida’s boss later reported to Ida that the BoeCon representatives were very impressed with Ida’s list of requested contract revisions and asked who had performed the contract review. A few weeks later, BoeCon called Ida and offered her a job as an estimator.

Ida’s first project for BoeCon was on a nuclear power plant in Washington. She worked on several other major projects as well, but then Boeing decided to close BoeCon.

Next, Ida went to work for a general contractor in Palo Alto, California, where she managed a group of staff responsible for hiring subcontractors. During an interview in 1984 with a prospective staff member, Ida first learned about WCOE. The woman Ida was interviewing said that Ida needed to meet Dorothy Erickson, who at that time was the President of Nationwide Construction in San Francisco. Dorothy and a group of other female owners and executives in the construction industry were founding a brand new organization – Women Construction Owners & Executives – dedicated to making a positive difference for women in the construction industry so there would come a time when gender would cease to be a business issue. Ida soon became a charter member of WCOE.

Shortly thereafter, Ida’s former boss at BoeCon called. He was now working for the Boeing Company, and he offered Ida a job back in Seattle, Washington. When Ida reminded her former boss that she did not build airplanes, he told her that the Boeing Company needed Ida’s expertise to build buildings. Ida began working in the contracts group at Boeing, where she became responsible for hiring contractors to build some of Boeing’s largest and most complex facilities all around the United States and throughout the world, including in China, Russia, and Saudi Arabia.

Ida’s international expertise at Boeing became very valuable to WCOE when the U.S. State Department asked that WCOE appoint a representative to serve on a new Advisory Board the State Department was forming. Ida was selected to serve on the Board for a one year term. The State Department ultimately extended Ida’s term on the Advisory Board for three additional years due to the valuable input she provided.

Ida retired earlier this year after thirty years with the contracts group at Boeing. Ida says she really never expected to stay with Boeing for thirty years, but she always found the work interesting and fun. Each day brought new challenges. Ida became the go-to person at Boeing for her expertise in construction contracting. She was a subject matter expert in her field, well-respected and indispensable. Ida loved her job at Boeing – so it never felt like work.

Despite retiring from Boeing, Ida remains active in WCOE. She is currently President of the WCOE Resource Center, a 501(c)3 educational foundation with the purpose of providing education to WCOE members and the public at large relating to best practices in the construction industry. Ida also sits on the National Board of Directors of WCOE.

As a woman who broke so many gender barriers working in the construction industry, Ida Brooker has always been a force to be reckoned with. Still, Ida has also always valued the importance of enjoyment and job satisfaction. When asked for career advice, Ida says, “Learn all you can and follow your interests. Humor is what makes the world go around. Never take yourself too seriously, and always find the fun in your work.”

Congratulations to Ida for a career well spent! We all look forward to seeing what comes next!

Categories: Latest News

Senate Approves U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Senate, today, unanimously approved S. 1297, the U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act, introduced by Commerce Committee Space, Science, and Competitiveness Subcommittee chairman Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), full committee ranking member Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Space, Science, and Competitiveness Subcommittee ranking member Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), and subcommittee members Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and Cory Gar...

GSA Launches Cross-Agency Pilot ‘Feedback USA’ to Improve Government Customer Experience

GSA news releases - Tue, 08/04/2015 - 1:00am
GSA Launches Cross-Agency Pilot ‘Feedback USA’

A Case with Teeth?: Federal Circuit to Review International Trade Commission’s Jurisdiction over Digital “Articles”

WLF Legal Pulse - Mon, 08/03/2015 - 12:45pm
Next Tuesday, August 11, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit will hear oral argument in ClearCorrect Operating, LLC v. International Trade Commission, a case that nominally involves a cease-and-desist order the International Trade Commission (ITC) imposed on a data file that contained a digital model of crooked teeth. As numerous amici in […]
Categories: Latest News

Restricted Access at Biscayne National Park and Implications for Fishermen, Small Businesses, the Local Economy and Environment

House Small Business Committee News - Mon, 08/03/2015 - 10:00am

On Monday, August 3, 2015, at 10:00 a.m. (EDT) the House Committee on Natural Resources and the House Committee on Small Business will hold a joint oversight hearing titled, “Restricted Access at Biscayne National Park and Implications for Fishermen, Small Businesses, the Local Economy and Environment.”  This hearing will be held at the William F. Dickinson Community Center, 1601 N. Krome Avenue, in Homestead, Florida.

Witnesses will be by invitation only.

If you need further information, please contact Kiel Weaver, William Ball or Alex Semanko, staff of the Committee on Natural Resources at (202) 225-8331 or Viktoria Ziebarth, staff of the Committee on Small Business at (202) 225-5821.

The Supreme Court’s NOT Top 10: Cases the Justices Wrongly Rejected Last Term

WLF Legal Pulse - Fri, 07/31/2015 - 3:59pm
The usual spate of articles by Supreme Court scribes pronouncing the Roberts Court staunchly pro-business were noticeably sparser as the latest term ended. When journalists are reduced to using the Obamacare and same-sex marriage cases as their main exhibits to prove the Supreme Court’s supposed pro-business tilt, you know it wasn’t a banner year for […]
Categories: Latest News

Ninth Circuit Decision Allowing Appeal of Right from Order Denying Class Certification Is Ripe for Supreme Court Review

WLF Legal Pulse - Thu, 07/30/2015 - 5:00pm
Rule 23(f) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure gives appeals courts unfettered discretion in deciding whether to permit an interlocutory appeal from a class certification decision. Most circuits have exercised that discretion sparingly. But a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit decision issued last week affirmed that circuit’s unique rule: plaintiffs (but […]
Categories: Latest News

Commerce Committee Transportation Reforms Approved in Multi-Year Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, issued the following statement on Senate passage of the Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy (DRIVE) Act, which includes significant safety and regulatory reforms put forward by the committee. The bill passed by a vote of 65-34.

“Today, the Senate passed the bipartisan DRIVE Act, which provides much-needed funding and reforms to address key infra...

Wireless Broadband and the Future of Spectrum Policy

The hearing will explore how spectrum policy should be improved to accommodate the growing demand.

"The REINS Act forces government to think before it acts."

House Small Business Committee News - Tue, 07/28/2015 - 6:34pm

On Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 427, the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act. During consideration of the measure, Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) spoke of the bill’s importance to small businesses and American workers:

“There is not a small business person I know that thinks government can create jobs. But they do know government can keep them from creating jobs. The REINS Act forces government to think before it acts. It protects the American people by ensuring that those they elected get a say in major regulations—not all regulations—just those that will have a significant impact on the economy.”

Click HERE for full video of Chairman Chabot’s remarks.

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Thune: Why Americans Need a Long-Term Transportation Solution

Sen. Thune urged his colleagues to pass a long-term transportation bill to fund our nation’s highways, roads, and bridges.

GSA Secures DHS Commitment to OASIS for Professional Services

GSA news releases - Tue, 07/28/2015 - 1:00am
GSA Secures DHS Commitment to OASIS

Kline Statement: Hearing on "Reviewing the Policies and Priorities of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services"

Education & the Workforce Committee - Tue, 07/28/2015 - 12:00am
As is often the case when an agency secretary appears before the committee, we have a lot of ground to cover in a short period of time. That is especially true for an agency as big, powerful, and costly as the Department of Health and Human Services.

 

By the end of the current fiscal year, HHS is expected to spend approximately $1 trillion administering numerous programs affecting millions of Americans, including child care, welfare, health care, and early childhood development. At a time when families are being squeezed by a weak economy and record debt, we have an urgent responsibility to make sure the federal government is operating efficiently and effectively. It is a responsibility we take seriously, which is why this hearing is important and why we intend to raise a number of key issues.

For example, we are interested to learn about the department’s progress implementing recent changes to the Child Care and Development Block Grant program. Last year, the committee helped champion bipartisan reforms of the program to strengthen health and safety protections, empower parents, and improve the quality of care. This vital program has helped countless moms and dads provide for their families, and we hope the department is on track to implement these changes quickly and in line with congressional intent.

Another vital program for many low-income families is Head Start. Earlier this year, the committee outlined a number of key principles for strengthening the program, such as reducing regulatory burdens, as well as encouraging local innovation and better engagement with parents. The committee then solicited public feedback that would help turn these principles into a legislative proposal. 

It was in the midst of this effort to reform the law that the department decided to launch a regulatory restructuring of the program. Some of the department’s proposed changes will help improve the program; however, the sheer scope and cost of the rulemaking raises concerns and has led to some uncertainty among providers who serve these vulnerable children. Strengthening the law is a better approach than transforming a program through regulatory fiat, and we urge the administration to join us in that effort.

These two areas alone could fill up most of our time this morning, and I haven’t even mentioned services provided under the 1996 welfare reform law and the Older Americans Act. Of course, as you might expect, Secretary Burwell, on the minds of most members are the challenges the country continues to face because of the president’s health care law. Families, workers, and employers are learning more and more about the harmful consequences of this flawed law. For example:

  • Patients have access to fewer doctors. To control costs, it is estimated that insurance plans on the health care exchanges have 34 percent fewer providers than non-exchange plans, including 32 percent fewer primary care doctors and 42 percent fewer oncologists and cardiologists.

  • The law is plagued by waste and abuse. In 2014, investigators with the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office used fake identities to enroll 12 individuals into subsidized coverage on a health care exchange. Just this month, GAO announced 11 of the 12 fake individuals are still enrolled and receiving taxpayer subsidies.

  • More than seven million individuals paid a penalty for failing to purchase government-approved health insurance, roughly 25 percent more than the administration expected under the worst case scenario.

  • According to the Associated Press, at least 4.7 million individuals were notified that their insurance plans were cancelled because they did not abide by the rigid mandates established under the health care law.

  • The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates the law will result in 2.5 million fewer full-time jobs. This reflects what we’ve heard over and over again from employers who have no choice but to cut hours or delay hiring because of the law’s burdensome mandates.

  • Health care costs continue to skyrocket. According to the New York Times, health insurance companies are seeking rate increases of “20 percent to 40 percent or more,” suggesting markets are still adjusting to the “shock waves set off by the Affordable Care Act.”

Finally, after all the mandates, fraud, loss of coverage, fewer jobs, higher costs, and nearly $2 trillion in new government spending, it’s estimated more than 25 million individuals will still lack basic health care coverage. And yet, just last month, President Obama said the law “worked out better than some of us anticipated.” Of course, for those who opposed this government takeover of health care, this is precisely what we anticipated and it is precisely why the American people deserve a better approach.

 

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