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A recent decision by the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit could have lasting ramifications for government contractors. In Raytheon Co. v. Sec. of Def., the court held that salary costs associated with lobbying activities are expressly unallowable, and therefore subject to penalties. In “Federal Circuit Decision Addressing Salary Costs Associated with Lobbying Activities Has Broad Implications,” colleagues Kevin J. Slattum and Aaron S. Ralph examine the October 18 decision more closely.

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Seal-CalifGov. Gavin Newsom recently signed the Tenant Protection Act of 2019, legislation that caps annual rent increases in California for the next decade. Prior to the Tenant Protection Act, the only state-level protections against rent increases were price-gouging limits that apply only after natural disasters. (See Cal. Penal Code Section 396.) The law also extends “just cause” eviction protections to tenants statewide.

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EPA-FCC-300x300Two recent decisions from federal appeals courts illustrate once again that the courts will extend significant judicial deference to federal agencies that are grappling with controversial and complicated issues subject to their jurisdiction.

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https://www.gravel2gavel.com/files/2019/10/U.S.-Court-of-Appeals-for-the-Federal-Circuit.pngThe federal government has long encouraged the development and use of alternative fuels by enacting legislation that promises tax credits for such use. However, special care must be taken to ensure that all of the requirements of the law are observed. This has been made clear by recent rulings of the U.S. Court of Claims and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

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iStock-466346283-sustainability-300x300Sustainability has evolved from a passing trend or niche preference into an undeniable, growing driver of the real estate market. This is particularly true as millennials comprise an increasing proportion of the workforce, home-buying population, and individuals influencing the future of real estate development in the United States.

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On September 17, 2019, the U.S. Department of Treasury issued two new proposed rules for the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) implementing the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act (FIRRMA). Of particular interest to readers of this blog was the second of the proposed rules, which addressed FIRRMA’s real estate-related expansion of CFIUS jurisdiction.

Over on Global Trade & Sanctions Law, colleagues , Jorge Vera and  examine the new regulations and how FIRRMA expands CFIUS’ jurisdiction to include certain types of real estate transactions.

 

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Clean-Water-Act-Logo-300x287The pre-publication version of the final rule to be promulgated by EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) to repeal the 2015 redefinition of the Clean Water Act’s term “Waters of the United States” which is the linchpin of these agencies’ regulatory power under the CWA, was made available on September 12, 2019. The rule should be published in the Federal Register in the next few weeks, and it will be effective 60 days thereafter. Many challenges are expected to be filed in the federal courts.

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Environmental_Protection_Agency_logo-275x300The federal courts have recently decided two significant Clean Water Act (CWA) cases: State of Georgia, et al. v. Wheeler, where the US District Court for the Southern District of Georgia held that the 2015 rulemaking proceeding of EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers redefining the term “Waters of the United States” in the CWA violated the Act as well as the Administrative Procedure Act; and the Ninth Circuit’s decision in Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, et al. v. Glaser, where the appeals court ruled that the lower court erroneously interpreted a CWA NPDES permitting exception involving agricultural return flows.

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State_Seal_of_Texas-300x232This is a brief survey of many of the environmental and regulatory laws passed by the Texas Legislature and signed by the Governor in the 86th Regular Session of the Legislature, which ended in May 2019. Altogether, more than 1,300 laws were enacted in this session, including a surprising number of environmentally related bills. Most of these new laws take effect on September 1, 2019. This survey places them in the following broad categories: Air, Water; Waste; Disaster (principally because of the effects of Hurricane Harvey); and Miscellaneous. (Special thanks to Jay Bowlby, a summer intern in our Houston office, who made a significant contribution to this survey.)

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Developers in California know that getting approval to build new housing projects can be extremely difficult, time-consuming, and expensive. But a new policy is finally coming into full effect which could help developers cut through those barriers. SB 35, enacted in 2017, streamlines the approval process for housing developments in areas with inadequate housing supply, so long as the developments meet certain criteria.

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