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OpenMarket: December 2015

  • FAA Releases Mandatory Drone Registration Interim Final Rule

    December 15, 2015

    On December 16, the FAA will publish its interim final rule (IFR) on Registration and Marking Requirements for Small Unmanned Aircraft in the Federal Register. The prepublication rule can be found here. IFRs take effect immediately upon publication (more on this below).

    Here is the FAA’s summary of major provisions to be included under 14 C.F.R. Part 48 (Table 1, p. 6):

    ...

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  • Omnibus with Significant Reg Relief May Be Worth Supporting

    December 15, 2015

    As the year-end omnibus spending bill is about to be unveiled, there will be a scramble to examine its provisions. In many policy areas, my colleagues and I have urged Congress to use its “power of the purse” to insist on significant regulatory relief as a price for the new spending in the omnibus.

    have written that Congress should freeze funding for the Department of Labor’s (DOL) “fiduciary rule,” referred to by many as “Obamacare for your IRA,” which would greatly limit investment choices in IRAs and 401(k)s and even restrict what financial broadcasters like Dave Ramsey could say to listeners.

    Defunding of this rule was also urged by a ...

  • RealClear Radio Hour: The Miracle of New Zealand

    December 14, 2015

    This week marks a special occasion for RealClear Radio Hour: our 100th Episode! Over the course of what will soon be two years on the air, we’ve covered many stories that tell the wonders of free markets and a free society. Our topic this week is an enlightening success story focused on free market reform abroad.

    RealClear Radio Hour’s 100th episode chronicles the successful economic revival in the wonderful nation of New Zealand. Where the United States had Reagonomics, New Zealand has Rogernomics and Ruthanasia. The story of this country’s turnaround features interviews with the reformers themselves: former finance ministers Sir Roger Douglas and Ruth Richardson, who spearheaded New Zealand’s transformation from a welfare state saddled with crushing public debt, rampant inflation, and a closed and moribund economy, to one of the freest, most prosperous...

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

    December 14, 2015

    It was a comparatively slow week for regulations, though agencies still published new rules ranging from bright lamps to train doors.

    On to the data:

    • Last week, 55 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 61 the previous week.
    • That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and three minutes.
    • So far in 2015, 3,201 final regulations have been published in the Federal Register. At that pace, there will be a total of 3,362 new regulations this year, fewer than the usual total of 3,500-plus.
    • Last week, 1,307 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,247 pages the previous week.
    • Currently at 77,224 pages, the 2015 Federal Register is on pace for 81,118 pages. This would be just shy of the all-time record set in 2010, with 81,405 pages.
    • ...
  • COP-21 Nears Agreement on New Paris Climate Treaty

    December 11, 2015
    A third straight night of all-night negotiations will almost certainly end Saturday morning with a new climate deal at COP-21. The Paris Climate Treaty is almost certain to leave several major issues to be sorted out later.  On the other hand, the draft text released Friday morning does include a target of limiting global warming to less than two degrees Centigrade above pre-industrial levels plus an expression of further ambition to stop warming at 1.5 degrees. No percentage reductions in total global greenhouse gas emissions are specified to reach that goal. The draft text also moves beyond the limited compliance periods in the Kyoto Protocol to create a perpetual regime that will provide reviews to set lower national emissions targets every five years. Thus, once a country ratifies the treaty, it will be committed to taking actions to save the planet from catastrophic global...
  • Things Get Heated at Senate Hearing on Climate Science

    December 11, 2015

    Author Mark Steyn and Georgia Tech atmospheric scientist Judith Curry mixed it up with Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) this week at a Senate hearing on data vs. dogma in climate science. Video excerpts of the heated exchanges are available here and here

    Steyn, focusing on climate dogma, spotlighted the inherent conflict...

  • CCAF Asks Supreme Court to Hear Challenge on Duracell Class Action Settlement

    December 11, 2015

    Today, the Center for Class Action Fairness petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a case challenging an abusive class action practice where trial lawyers pay themselves the bulk of the cash recovery ($5.7 million), the class members receive just a fraction of that ($344,000), and the settlement hands out millions to third parties who are not part of the class.

    The original class action lawsuit, Joshua D. Poertner v. The Gillette Co. et al., centers on seven million class members who sued over dubious advertising about Duracell batteries. Class counsel structured a settlement that paid class counsel $5.7 million in fees and expenses and provided a cy pres award of $6 million in batteries to a third-party charity, while class members were awarded $3 to $6 in claims for future battery purchases...

  • 5 Reasons the COP-21 Meeting in Paris will Fail

    December 11, 2015

    A white paper from the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is the first comprehensive report by Congress on international climate negotiations, encompassing the United Nations Framework Convention, Kyoto, Bali, Copenhagen, Durban, and more. It is intended to inject a dose of reality into the Obama administration’s puffery on the current negotiations in Paris—officially the 21stConference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 21).

  • Congressional Committee Favors State-Based Legalization of Online Gambling

    December 11, 2015

    Wednesday’s hearing was not good for those hoping to make a case for a national online gambling prohibition. While the House Oversight Committee hearing was supposed to breathe life into the languishing proposal to ban online gambling, it ended up being more like a group dead-horse beating. Members on both sides of the aisle seemed well-informed and well-opposed to the idea of the federal government intervening where the states have been doing a good job of regulating this nascent industry.

    In his opening remarks, Chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah)—who sponsored the bill to create a federal online gaming ban—stated that a the DOJ’s 2011 opinion that the 1961 Wire act applied online to sports betting, resulted in “anything connected to the internet, desktops, laptops...

  • FAST Act Debrief: A Few Policy Notes on the Latest Highway Bill

    December 10, 2015

    Last Friday, December 4, President Obama signed into law the FAST Act, which reauthorizes federal surface transportation programs through Fiscal Year 2020 to the tune of $305 billion (about $61 billion annually). AASHTO has a detailed funding table here. You can see how much your state will receive for its highways here.

    On funding, CEI has long urged Congress to adhere to the users-pay/users-benefit principle and to reject general fund bailouts of the Highway Trust Fund. The Highway Trust Fund traditionally funds the lion’s share of surface transportation....

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