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  • CEI Scholars Warn EARN IT Act Will Weaken Online Protections

    March 5, 2020
    Today, a bipartisan group of senators introduced the EARN IT Act, a bill that ties critical intermediary liability protections for online platforms, known as Section 230, to meeting yet-to-be-determined regulations regarding the spread of child sexual abuse material online. While the bill's goal is critically important, there are reasons to believe this legislation would backfire and is designed to accomplish other goals beyond its stated purpose, such as weakening online privacy protections powered by encryption.
  • Locusts Threatening African Food Supply; Greens Oppose Only Solution

    March 5, 2020
    As billions of desert locusts swarm through East Africa and into Asia threatening the food supply of millions, environmental activists want to ban and regulate the only effective tools to stop it: pesticides. Currently, aerial and ground-level spraying with organophosphates is the main, if not only, line of defense against the locusts.
  • Liberate to Stimulate 2020: Let’s Start with Trade

    March 5, 2020
    The past two weeks have seen a volatile market owing to concerns over coronavirus, which suggests an economic downturn could be on the cards. The administration can go some way toward heading this off with liberalization of trade.
  • Washington’s Latest Attack on Air Conditioning

    March 5, 2020
    Think air conditioning isn’t expensive enough? Then you’ll love a proposed amendment to the Senate energy bill that restricts the refrigerants used in millions of air conditioners on the grounds that they contribute to climate change.
  • Big-Mouth CEOs Less of a Threat than Crusading Politicians

    March 4, 2020
    Free-market advocates are understandably skeptical of “stakeholder” capitalism—the idea that corporate managers should focus not just on returns to shareholders, but on pleasing a potentially long list of other groups that claim an interest in the operations (and on the profits) of a company. Any given board and management team can apportion their own resources as they see fit, of course, but we small-government types are wary of theoretically voluntary guidelines for social and environmental awareness being transformed into binding legal requirements down the road.
  • Joint Employer Rule Gives Much-Needed Certainty to Franchises

    March 3, 2020
    The National Labor Relations Board finalized a rule last week that will bring much needed relief and certainty to the franchise industry and other industries that follow a certain business model. In 2015, the NLRB unilaterally changed the definition of “joint employer,” a change that opened the franchise business model to liability -- and posed an existential threat to the franchise business model.
  • Regulatory Hurdles Already Impeding Competition to Big Tech

    March 3, 2020
    Calls to regulate “big tech” firms continue to grow louder. Concerns range from the ability of these firms to influence the political landscape to allegations of anti-competitive mergers and acquisitions. Regardless of the specific gripe, the accompanying purported solutions almost universally involve more government regulation. However, these sentiments are just the latest versions of a problem that has plagued antitrust law since its inception: the relevant market fallacy.
  • A One-Stop Executive Order 13891 Guidance Document Portal

    March 2, 2020

    If agencies are required to compile and list all their sub-regulatory guidance documents and post, link and consistently index them on a portal, can we still call it “regulatory dark matter”?

    So far, yes. Despite the long-awaited (by a handful) new guidance document portals required to be housed at agencies, disclosure for guidance documents still has a ways to go in Washington.

    A deadline of sorts happened February 28. Agencies, while given a grace period until June 27 to list what they missed, were required (by Executive Order 13891 and a subsequent White House directive) to create "a...

  • EPA, Interior, and other Federal Agencies Post Guidance Documents on Searchable Websites

    March 2, 2020
    On February 28, the EPA and other federal agencies posted all their guidance documents on searchable websites, complying with an OMB deadline to implement Executive Order 13891. Unlike federal regulations, guidance documents do not have to go through public notice and comment before being adopted. Yet, guidance documents are often enforced as if they were laws. Posting all guidance documents on searchable websites is a huge advance in government transparency. 
  • This Week in Ridiculous Regulations

    March 2, 2020
    The coronavirus outbreak began to infect financial markets as well as people, with stock markets having their worst week since at least 2008. The number of new regulations in 2020 also reached 500 on Friday. Meanwhile, agencies issued new final regulations ranging from portable bed rails to Canada goose permits.

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