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- For the first time, Kentucky has both a Republican governor and Republican majorities in its House and Senate. In less than a week, Kentucky enacted three laws – House Bill 1 (the Kentucky Right to Work Act), House Bill 3 (repealing prevailing wage), and Senate Bill 6 (the Paycheck Protection Act) which are intended to – depending on which side you’re on – improve the state’s economic climate or eviscerate union influence.
- The U.S. Department of Labor’s new overtime rules would have increased the minimum salary level for most overtime pay exemptions from $455 per week to $913 per week effective December 1, 2016.
- Labor and Employment Alert: A Flurry of Employee Benefit Guidance in the Closing Days of the Obama AdministrationAccording to IRS FAQs on IRC §4980H, published December 22, 2016, the IRS will begin contacting employers in “early 2017” regarding potential liability for 2015 pay or play penalties under IRC §4980H.
- After ten years with no change, on January 14, 2017, new filing fees in the Trademark Office and Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (Board) and revised rules of procedure before the Board for both new and pending cases will go into effect.
- State and Local Tax Alert: Lame Duck Economic Development Incentive Legislative Activity – DRD Update, TIF Opt-Out, CRA Remodeling Exemption Changes, and ORC Section 5709.87 Covenant Not to Sue Exemption RevisionsDuring a very active session on December 8, 2016, the Ohio General Assembly approved a number of bills containing various economic development incentive updates, including Substitute Senate Bill 235 (SB 235), Substitute Senate Bill 257 (SB 257), and Substitute House Bill 463 (HB 463). Governor Kasich signed SB 235 on December 27, 2016 and it will become effective on March 28, 2017.
- Labor and Employment Alert: Are Individually Designed Retirement Plans an Endangered Species? Impact of Changes to the IRS Determination Letter ProgramIn January 2017, the last regular determination letter applications will be filed for sponsors of individually designed retirement plans. After that last Cycle A determination letter application, individually designed plans will no longer be able to get a ruling from the IRS that the plan terms comply with law (except for the initial ruling on formation of the plan and a final ruling at plan termination), although the IRS may specify other ruling opportunities in the future.
- State and Local Tax Alert: New Property Tax Exemption Available for Commercial or Industrial Property Under DevelopmentOn December 8, 2016, the Ohio General Assembly approved Substitute Senate Bill 235 (SB 235), which, among other things, creates an exemption from property taxation for commercial or industrial “newly developable property” or “redevelopment property,” defined herein. Governor Kasich signed SB 235 on December 27, 2016, and it will become effective on March 28, 2017. The procedures and benefits of this new exemption are outlined in this Alert.
- Client Alert: Online and Mobile Tracking Company Settles FTC Charges It Deceptively Tracked ConsumersOn December 20, 2016, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that Turn, Inc. (Turn) has agreed to settle charges that it deceived consumers by tracking them online and in mobile apps, even after consumers attempted to opt-out of such tracking.
- Labor and Employment Alert: New Ohio Law Will Preempt Local Wage-Hour Ordinances Aimed at Private EmployersOn December 7, 2016, amidst a whirlwind lame duck session, the Ohio General Assembly passed Senate Bill 331.
- Labor and Employment Alert: Ohio’s New Guns-In Trunks Law Limits Private Employers’ Rights to Control Their PropertyOhio law regulates the licensing and carrying of concealed handguns.
- Whistleblower Defense Alert: The Supreme Court Rejects Mandatory Dismissal of Relator Claims For Seal ViolationsOn December 6, 2016, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down their second unanimous interpretation of the contours of the False Claims Act (FCA) in the last six months.
- Client Alert: Ohio Senate Bill 232: Divorce Terminates Transfer-On-Death Deeds to Ex-Spouses Automatically and Inheritance Rights of the Pre-Gestated and Pre-Conceived are LimitedLast week, Governor Kasich signed into law Senate Bill 232, which makes changes to Ohio’s statutes on intestacy, wills, and trusts.
- On December 13, 2016, President Obama signed the 21st Century Cures Act (H.R. 34) into law. The 21st Century Cures Act contains two provisions that relate to group health coverage.
- More than 100 cities and counties have adopted “ban the box” or “fair chance” laws prohibiting or restricting employers from asking about an applicant’s criminal history without first considering the applicant’s job qualifications.
- In October, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) released new guidance for covered entities and business associates that utilize cloud computing for data storage, software, or online access to shared resources and contract with cloud service providers (CSPs) for the service.
- Client Alert: Cheaters Never Win: Ashley Madison Settles FTC and State Data Security Charges for $1.65 MillionToday, the FTC and 13 states announced a settlement with notorious website Ashely Madison related to its July 2015 data breach that exposed the personal information of more than 36 million users.
- Client Alert: Privacy Issues for Employers: NLRB Aggressively Pursuing Social Media Policies and TerminationsFor most of its existence, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has focused on fairly traditional issues related to unionization and other efforts by employees to collectively address the terms and conditions of their employment.
- In November 2016, New York City enacted its “Freelance Isn’t Free Act” to establish and enhance protections for freelance workers (in other words, independent contractors).
- As we previously reported, in October 2016, the Pennsylvania Superior Court held that the mandatory payment of wages by payroll debit card does not satisfy the requirements of the state’s Wage Payment and Collection Law (WPCL).
- On November 18, 2016, the IRS announced a 30-day extension of the deadline to distribute 2016 Form 1095-Cs to employees.
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