Nov 17, 2017

House Approves Tax Bill: Senate Tax Bill Now Out of Committee

Tax Calculator

In the U.S. House, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act ( H.R. 1) (the Act) was approved by a vote of 227-205 yesterday. The legislation lowers the top corporate rate of 35 percent to a flat 20 percent. On the individual side, the bill would collapse the existing seven income tax brackets to four with rates of 12 percent, 25 percent, 35 percent, and 39.6 percent, and would roughly double the standard deduction. The Act would also limit home mortgage interest deductions, cap state, and local property tax deductions and eliminate deductions for other state and local taxes, and double the… Read more


Oct 13, 2017

One-Two Punch to the ACA: First An Executive Order, Now Trump Halts Cost Subsidies to Health Insurers

Healthcare

Late yesterday, the White House stated that it would immediately stop the funding for billions of dollars in Affordable Care Act (ACA) subsidies. The explanation is that, based on guidance from the Justice Department, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has determined there is no appropriation for the payments and the government can’t lawfully make the payments. HHS was more specific, saying the payments “will be discontinued immediately” and citing a legal opinion from Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “We believe that the last Administration overstepped the legal boundaries drawn by our Constitution,” acting HHS Secretary Eric Hargan and Seema Verma,… Read more


Sep 21, 2017

Senate’s Last “Gasp” Effort to Repeal and Replace the ACA

Health Care Reform

Republicans are making a last “gasp” effort to pass “repeal and replace” legislation in the Senate, before the “reconciliation” clock runs out. A new health care “repeal and replace” bill, introduced by Sens. Lindsey Graham, (R-S.C.), Bill Cassidy, (R-La.), and others will be slated for a vote next week. This bill, like earlier Senate versions, would repeal the employer and individual mandate, and eliminate others taxes such as the medical device tax. It’s most controversial provision relates to how the Medicaid expansion of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the states’ premium support subsidies will be allocated. The bill provides… Read more


Aug 30, 2017

Good News for Employers with Over 100 Employees

Equal Opportunity Employment

For employers getting ready to comply with the revised EEO-1 Report, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (“OIRA”) provided good news on August 29, 2017 by announcing that it had indefinitely suspended the new “Component 2” of the EEO-1 Report because of concerns that some aspects of Component 2 “lack practical utility, are unnecessarily burdensome, and do not adequately address privacy and confidentiality issues.”  “Component 2” was the portion of the revised EEO-1 Report that would have required employers with over 100 employees to submit W-2 and FLSA hours worked information.  [See October 11, 2016 Client Alert] The EEOC… Read more


Aug 28, 2017

Is Your Website a “Place of Public Accommodation” Under the Americans with Disabilities Act?

Web Accessibility

What do burgers and art supplies have in common? They are both sold on websites recently challenged by disabled plaintiffs. Blind plaintiffs have filed lawsuits alleging certain websites violate federal, state and city laws because they contain various access barriers and are not fully usable by the blind. This summer two federal courts in New York – the Southern District (Markett v. Five Guys Enterprises LLC, 17-cv-788-KBF, ECF No. 33 (July 21, 2017)) and the Eastern District (Andrews v. Blick Art Materials, LLC, , 17-cv-767-JBW, ECF No. 25 (August 1, 2017)) – found that websites selling these goods were “places of public accommodation.” The… Read more


Aug 10, 2017

Florida Law Seeks to Curb Abusive ADA Drive-By Lawsuits

Handicap Sign: Accesibility

Effective July 1, 2017, Florida House Bill 727, codified as Florida Statute Section 553.5141, is a pioneering effort by the state of Florida to encourage compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) while providing courts with the ability to reject the attorney’s fees and costs awards provided for in the ADA.  The law takes aim at the high volume of lawsuits initiated by unscrupulous plaintiffs and lawyers with the primary intent of generating attorney’s fees and profits rather than improving the accessibility of public facilities. The law allows the property owner to request that a qualified expert inspect a… Read more


Jul 30, 2017

Skinny Reform Failed- Is Health Care Reform Dead, or Just on Life Support?

Taking Vitals

In a late night session ending at 1:30 a.m. on Friday,  the Republicans’ seven-year promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) appeared to end, at least for the time being. John McCain, who dramatically returned to Washington to vote on health care reform after his brain cancer diagnosis, voted “No” on skinny repeal, sending the bill to defeat by a one-vote margin. The ACA will remain in place—at least for now—but there are huge questions about how the Trump administration will handle key aspects of the law, as deadlines loom for insurers’ decisions about next year. President Trump has… Read more


Jul 27, 2017

Senate “Repeal” Failed, Now Try “Skinny” Repeal of Obamacare

US Capitol Building

Yesterday, the “repeal bill” known as the Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Act (ORRA) failed to win enough votes for passage, losing 45-55. Now, Republican Senators will try to pass what has been dubbed a “skinny repeal” bill that will eliminate the mandates for employers and individuals to maintain health coverage, and potentially roll back medical device and other corporate taxes. The exact bill has not yet been crafted, but many Republicans appear to be determined to find some way to keep the health care debate alive. As stated by Senator Thom Tillis (R., N.C.), “we need an outcome, and if a so-called… Read more


Jul 26, 2017

Senate Votes Again On Health Care: Is There an End Game?

Capitol Building with Reflection

Late Tuesday, the Senate voted by a narrow margin (a 51-50 vote that required a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence) to debate health care reform. Just seven hours later, as expected, the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) failed on a 43-57 vote. Nine Republican senators voted “no” on the BCRA, as did all Democrats. The Republicans were Susan Collins of Maine, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Dean Heller of Nevada, Bob Corker of Tennessee, Jerry Moran of Kansas, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Mike Lee of Utah. This version of BCRA… Read more