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Washington Weekly Update 7-8-24

Situational Awareness

Both the House of Representatives and Senate are in session this week. The House is slated to consider several environmental and federal land management bills, as well as their version of the FY25 legislative branch spending package and two bills related to home appliance energy efficiency standards. Meanwhile, the House Appropriations Committee continues its work to pass all 12 FY25 federal spending bills before the August recess at full speed, with several full committee mark-ups scheduled this week, including the Energy-Water and Interior-Environment measures. In the Senate, lawmakers will begin to mark up the first of its FY25 appropriations bills in addition to a dozen subcommittee allocations.

Independent Contractor Classification Rule Case Put on Hold Pending Appeal

A federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana has issued a stay in a case brought forward by Frisard Transportation, LLC,  a Louisiana-based trucking company that sought a temporary restraining order (TRO) that would block implementation of the Department of Labor’s independent contractor rule. As such, further legal proceedings on the case will be paused. In June, the plaintiff appealed a March 8 denial of its request to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. There are currently four other legal challenges to the rule that are pending in courts across the country.

FTC Noncompete Ban Partly Blocked by Federal Court

In a July 3 decision, a federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas partially blocked the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) April rule that would prohibit nearly all employee non-compete agreements. The rule has an effective date of Sept. 4, 2024. The ruling temporarily places the rule on hold until the judge makes a final ruling on whether FTC overstepped its authority in issuing it. The plaintiffs behind the challenge to the rule, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, argued that the FTC violated the federal Administrative Procedure Act (APA) because the FTC exceeded its statutory authority and the agency’s actions were arbitrary and capricious

House Oversight Hearing with EPA Administrator Michael Regan

On Wednesday, July 10, the House Oversight Committee will hold a hearing to conduct oversight and gather information from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan on the Biden administration’s recent environmental regulations. In an official press release announcing the original June 5 hearing, which was postponed, Committee Chair James Comer (R-Ky.) claimed that EPA has gone beyond its environmental protection authorities to advance “a radical climate agenda” that has resulted in overburdensome regulations. Most recently, Chair Comer criticized EPA for its new rules on emissions from fossil fuel-powered plants and limits on pesticide use. The hearing could provide lawmakers with an opportunity to receive a status update on the agency’s implementation of its post-Sackett WOTUS rule.

House Natural Resources Subcommittee Mark-up of Water & Wildlife Bills

On Tuesday, July 9, the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Wildlife and Fisheries will hold a mark-up of the following bills that deal with wetland management:

  • H.R. 7544, the Water Rights Protection Act of 2024, is a partisan measure that would prohibit the Departments of the Interior and Agriculture from mandating water users transfer water rights to the federal government or from purchasing water rights in the name of the U.S. as a condition of any permit, lease or other use agreement.
  • H.R. 8308, the Nutria Eradication and Control Reauthorization Act of 2024, would reauthorize a law that allows the states of Maryland and Louisiana to implement eradication or control measures that target nutrias—which are considered invasive species—and restore marshland damaged by the rodents. 
  • H.R. 8811, the America’s Conservative Enhancement Reauthorization Act of 2024 is a bipartisan measure that would reauthorize the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, which allows grants to public-private partnerships in Canada, Mexico and the U.S. to protect, enhance, restore and manage waterfowl, other migratory birds and the wetland ecosystems and other habitats upon which they depend.

The Subcommittee will also consider a discussion draft, the ESA Amendments Act of 2024, which would reverse a final Biden administration rule that reinstates the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 4(d) “blanket rule” options. Section 4(d) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) directs the secretary of the interior to issue protective regulations deemed “necessary and advisable to provide for the conservation of” threatened species. This standard was rescinded during the Trump administration. The discussion draft would codify the Trump administration’s framework for determining the “foreseeable future” when determining whether a species qualifies as threatened under the ESA. This proposed legislation is strictly partisan and if passed by the House, would most likely be dead on arrival in the Senate.

Register to Upcoming Summer Webcasts

NCA is presenting a series of critical webcasts this summer covering topics such as  club culture, real estate tax assessments and the state of restaurants. Register to upcoming webcasts, or watch previous presentations, by clicking here.

  • Thurs., July 11 | 2 pm ET. Club Culture: How to Define It and Why You Need to Understand It. Register Here.
  • Thurs., July 18 | 2 pm ET. Understanding and Managing Your Club’s Real Estate Tax Assessment. Register Here.
  • Thurs., July 25 | 2 pm ET. H-2B Visas 2025: Trends, Updates and Opportunities. Register Here.
  • Thurs., Aug. 8 | 2 pm ET. State of the Restaurant Industry. Register Here.
  • Thursday, Sept. 12 | 2pm ET. Unlock the Potential of Your Back-Office Staff: Using AI to Transform the Finance Function. Register Here.