Posts Tagged ‘Senate’

February 13 roundup

Food safety bill: goodbye, artisanal cheese?

Even using the powers it has on the books now, according to one expert, the Food and Drug Administration could largely shut down the making of artisanal farmhouse cheese if it chose. This week the Senate will consider the Food Safety Modernization Act, which will put much more power in the agency’s hands and greatly ramp up regulatory and paperwork requirements for producers, though (in a welcome improvement) the new Senate version of the legislation does at least nod more toward the principle of “tiering” burdens for smaller local producers. Meanwhile, some press outlets continue to pretend that the only real debate is between do-nothing lawmakers who don’t care whether Americans die of food poisoning, and more interventionist lawmakers who are trying to keep that from happening. I’ve got a fuller report on the politics of the food bill — and of the lame duck Congress more generally — at Cato at Liberty.

More: Bill advances toward expected Senate floor vote Tuesday [WaPo]. The Daily Caller reports on continuing small-farmer concerns, and recalls a raw-milk raid; David Frum wonders about elitism and its taint; Michelle Malkin questions the lame-duck railroad (& thanks to both of the last two for kind links).

October 12 roundup

  • Representing Prof. Michael Krauss, Ted Frank will file objection to class action settlement [CCAF]
  • Not without condescension, Harvard historian/New Yorker writer Jill Lepore asks why Woodrow Wilson’s so disliked these days; Radley Balko offers some help [The Agitator, NYT “Room for Debate”]
  • China needs true private property rights, according to Charter 08 document, which helped Liu Xiaobo win Nobel Peace Prize [Tyler Cowen]
  • Axelrod “foreign funders under every rug” demagogy might be turned against his own allies [Stoll; New York Times refutes earlier Obama talking point; Atlantic Wire; Sullum]
  • R.I.P. influential class actions and mass torts scholar Richard Nagareda [Vanderbilt Law School]
  • “Web Seminar Makes Case for Patent Troll Lawsuit Targets to Fight Back” [Washington Legal Foundation Legal Pulse]
  • Contrary to WSJ report, if Congressional staffers are profiting in stock trades by way of insider knowledge, they probably do face some risk of legal liability [Bainbridge; a not entirely unrelated inside-trading controversy]
  • Underpublicized: “California’s Proposed ‘Green Chemistry’ Regulations Move Forward” [Wajert]

Counting our blessings dept.: bills Congress didn’t pass

Carter at Point of Law compiles a list of mostly-bad bills Congress left town without passing [parts one and two] One very worrisome law of this sort, the we-sue-the-world Foreign Manufacturers Legal Accountability Act (FMLAA), is the subject of a new policy analysis by my Cato Institute colleagues Daniel Griswold and Sallie James (it’s the sort of aggressive trade restriction that could touch off major retaliation, not to mention its possible CPSIA-like effects on vintage dirtbike collectors; more background here, here, and here).

Unfortunately, two troublesome enactments — the food safety bill and the misnamed Paycheck Fairness Act — were teed up by Majority Leader Harry Reid for possible expedited passage in the lame duck session.

“How the Plaintiffs Bar Bought the Senate”

My Manhattan Institute colleague Jim Copland has an op-ed today in the WSJ explaining how current campaign finance rules magnify the influence of trial lawyers, as through the favored status of “bundling”. Excerpt:

Over the current six-year senatorial election cycle, four of the top seven donors to the campaign committee and leadership PAC of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) were plaintiffs firms. Plaintiffs firms were the top two donors to Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D., Ill.).

The first piece of legislation signed by President Obama—the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 — gutted statutes of limitation in employment lawsuits. The first legislative triumph for new Sen. Al Franken (D., Minn.), an amendment to the defense appropriations bill, foreclosed employment arbitration clauses for federal contractors.

More from Jim at Point of Law, including a mention of Trial Lawyers, Inc.: K Street–A Report on the Litigation Lobby 2010, the newest installment in the Trial Lawyers, Inc. series, which will be available later today here.