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OpenMarket: December 2014

  • 2014 Ends with a 78,978-Page Federal Register; 3,541 Rules and Regulations

    December 31, 2014

    At year-end 2014, the Federal Register stands at 78,978 pages, the fifth-highest count ever.

    (The published version contains 79,066 pages, but I net out blank and skipped pages in my roundup.)

    Of the six record-high tallies, five are Obama’s as the chart nearby shows. The pen and phone have been active.

  • Democrats vs. Government Unions

    December 29, 2014

    If late House Speaker Tip O’Neill’s famous saying that all politics is local has a corollary, it may be that politics is at its most substantive at the local level. While the people’s elected representatives in Congress—many from safe districts—trade ideological barbs, state and local elected officials often have to deal in the language of dollars and cents, as they weigh policy decisions that directly affect their constituents.

    That in turn creates different conflicts than those found on Capitol Hill. And nowhere is that more visible than in the growing conflict between state and local Democratic elected officials trying to put their governments’ finances in order. As the Manhattan Institute’s Daniel DiSalvo explains:

    Public...

  • CEI's Battered Business Bureau: The Week in Regulation

    December 29, 2014

    The federal government took Thursday and Friday off to celebrate the holidays. Despite the rare three-day work week, agencies still published 25 proposed regulations, more than 40 final regulations, and an average of more than 500 Federal Register pages per day—much of which consisted of the overdue Unified Agenda, an important transparency document collection compiling upcoming regulations from every agency at various stages of the rulemaking process. If past years are a guide, the Unified Agenda’s holiday timing, precisely geared to when even many of us watchdogs are on vacation, is not a coincidence. CEI scholars will soon have much to say about this repeated transparency failure.

    On to the data:

    • Last week, 41 new final regulations were published in the...
  • NLRB Advances against McDonald’s

    December 23, 2014

    By issuing complaints against McDonald’s on December 19, 2014, the National Labor Relations Board gave unions a boost and further riled business groups. On July 29, 2014, the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB’s) Office of the General Counsel had set the labor and employment world on fire by authorizing these complaints, which needed Friday’s Board approval to move forward.

    In essence, the Board itself has now preliminarily determined that the franchisor McDonald’s is a joint employer with McDonald’s franchisees and thus is liable for the actions of the franchisees, beyond just the opinion of the NLRB General Counsel.

    In a press call, the International Franchise Association joined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Restaurant Association, and National Retail Federation to address last Friday’s issuance of complaints against McDonald’s.                      ...

  • CEI’s Battered Business Bureau: The Week in Regulation

    December 22, 2014

    69 new regulations, from washing machines to plants for planting.

  • Besting a Billionaire: How a Grassroots Campaign Stopped a Ban on Internet Gambling

    December 17, 2014

    This week we get to say goodbye to the 113th Congress. For those who believe in free markets and individual liberty, it was a doozy. There were some losses, but also some big wins. One victory in particular is worth noting because the battle involved one of the worst aspects of politics: entrenched and connected special interests, versus one of the best aspects: a pro-liberty grassroots uprising of individuals against cronyism.

    Like all so-called vices, gambling has always had its foes, from religious leaders who believe it is evil to public health professionals and social advocates worrying exploitation of young, ill, and poor. For the most part, these interests have been unable to stop the demand for or rise in legal gambling throughout the United States. But when one of the world’s richest men says he’ll spend what it takes to ban Internet gambling, all bets are off....

  • Poll: Two-Thirds of Americans Oppose Federal Gas Tax Increase

    December 16, 2014

    new poll from Benson Strategy Group and SKDKnickerbocker found that 67 percent of Americans oppose increasing the federal gasoline tax by 15 cents, or an 80 percent increase from the current 18.4 cents per gallon tax. This is broadly in line with previous polls that found Americans strongly oppose fuel tax increases.

    But this poll posed a question that is nominally on the table. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) introduced the Update, Promote, and Develop America's Transportation Essentials (UPDATE) Act, which would increase the federal gasoline excise tax 14.9...

  • Activist Science Undermines Research on Honeybees and Pesticides

    December 15, 2014

    As reported in a blog post by David Zaruk, some of the “science” on the impact of neonicotinoid pesticides on honeybees appears to have resulted from a pre-orchestrated campaign, rather than an unbiased scientific process. The researchers involved are members of the International Task Force on Systemic Pesticides, which is part of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). 

    The task force was ostensibly set up “to bring together through research an integrated assessment of the worldwide impact of systemic...

  • CEI's Battered Business Bureau: The Week in Regulation

    December 15, 2014

    While Congress was busy with the 1,603-page Cromnibus bill (full text), agencies added nearly that many pages to the Federal Register with new regulations for everything from dropped calls to migratory birds.

    On to the data:

    • Last week, 63 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register. There were 71 new final rules the previous week.
    • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 40 minutes.
    • So far in 2014, 3,377 final regulations have been published in the Federal Register. At that pace, there will be a total of 3,532 new regulations this year.
    • Last week, 1,475 new pages were added to the Federal Register.
    • Currently at 74,014 pages, the 2014 Federal Register is...
  • The 8 Amici (Part 2): Review of 4 More Briefs Opposing Breach of Joint-Employer Precedent

    December 15, 2014
    Joint Employer—Eight Amici for the Employers In total, 17 amicus briefs were submitted in June 2014, in the seminal National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) case on joint employers.

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