Today’s News & Commentary — December 15, 2017
After loud resistance from Democrats, the FCC voted to repeal Obama-era rules requiring broadband providers to treat all internet traffic as equal. The New York Times reports the now-repealed Obama-era regulations regulated high-speed internet as if it were a utility, prohibiting providers from blocking certain websites or charging for select services or content. This decision, though expected, was preceded by an extremely messy comment period with a record-breaking 22 million comments infiltrated by a mix of bots, memes, and fake accounts. Several groups, including the trade group for Facebook and Google have said they are contemplating legal action.
On Thursday, President Trump announced his administration’s plan to shrink the Code of Federal Regulations to its 1960 size. After the remarks, the White House issued a statement saying agencies have issued 67 deregulatory actions while imposing only three new regulations since the President took office. This follows the Executive Order the President signed shortly after his Inauguration requiring agencies to slash two regulations for every new regulation put into place. According to POLITICO, the current Administrator of OIRA tempered the President’s remarks saying “returning to 1960 levels would likely require legislation.”
In a party-line vote, the National Labor Relations Board overturned Browning-Ferris Industries, reinstating the prior standard for joint-employer liability. Browning-Ferris Industries’ indirect control requirement had given workers leverage when challenging the labor practices of large chains. Now, a company will only be deemed a joint employer with proof of direct control over the employee.
The Senate HELP Committee advanced two key Department of Labor appointees to the full Senate. Preston Rutledge has been nominated to be assistant secretary of Labor for the Employee Benefits Security Administration and Kate O’Scannlain to serve as DOL’s solicitor.
The New York Times published a series of essays on the recent revelations on sexual harassment and women and power in the workplace. Worth a read.