Occupational Licensing Run Wild

This paper provides historical analysis of occupational licensure in the United States, discusses the costs and benefits of our licensing system, explores so-called “licensing creep,” and proposes solutions to help address “occupational licensing run wild.”

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Creativity and Innovation Unchained: Why Copyright Law Must be Updated for the Digital Age by Simplifying It

This paper discusses how “the basics of copyright are fully compatible with modern technology, but specific provisions enacted years ago to try to address long-gone business and technological problems are still on the books. Instead of solving yesterday’s problems, these sticky laws shackle today’s creative marketplace.”

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Repeal the Jones Act for American Energy

This paper discusses how “the Jones Act is a particularly promising target for repeal or modification because it could be a confidence-building measure toward freer trade, less costly regulation, and less government interference in energy markets.”

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Restoring Meaningful Limits to “Waters of the United States”

This paper discusses the EPA’s “expansive regulatory approach” to the Clean Water Act, most notably in the “Waters of the United States Rule.”

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A Review of Department of Education Programs: Transgender Issues, Racial Quotas in School Discipline, and Campus Sexual Assault Mandates

This paper details “several areas where a single federal administrative agency has replaced the legitimate function of the legislature to define discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, and religion.”

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A Spoonful of Clarity Will Help Wellness Plans Thrive

On May 16, 2016, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) finalized highly anticipated regulations that purport to define the extent to which the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) permit employer-sponsored wellness plans. While the EEOC’s final regulations purport to “harmonize” wellness plan requirements under the ADA, GINA, HIPAA, and ACA, the EEOC has in fact added several additional regulatory burdens on employers that administer wellness plans.

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College Campus Job Recruiting and Age Discrimination

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) contends that campus recruiting programs and other hiring programs that focus on recent graduates are presumptively illegal. These kinds of hiring programs have been part of the American economy for several decades, and no court has ever declared them unlawful, nor has any law. And, the EEOC itself has sponsored hiring programs that prefer recent graduates. The U.S. Department of Justice likewise maintains an ‘honors program that it limits to recent graduates. So, why does the EEOC maintain such an unsupported position? The EEOC says that a regulation it issued under the Age Discrimination Employment Act (ADEA) properly interprets the ADEA and makes such programs presumptively illegal age discrimination. Fortunately, the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Fifth, Seventh, Eighth, Tenth, and Eleventh Circuits and three Supreme Court justices have rejected the EEOC’s position, and no court of appeals or Supreme Court justice has endorsed it. Despite this uniform authority, the EEOC continues to pursue investigations and litigation against such hiring programs.

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Pay Data Collection

This paper discusses the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commmision’s (EEOC) attempts at minimizing the “pay gap.” In 2016, the EEOC issued a rule requiring employers to disclose their employee’s compensation data to the federal government. By the end of March 2018, employers with 100 or more employees will be required to have collected, organized on forms, and reported to the EEOC a summary of their employees’ pay. The EEOC primarily hopes to use this reporting to ferret out pay discrimination. A worthy cause. The data, however, is destined to prove fruitless — and worse, it will lead the EEOC away from stamping out actual wage discrimination, as evidenced by the federal government’s previous attempt to collect pay data. All the while, the new report will further saddle the economy with costly paperwork and red tape, ultimately harming the American workers the EEOC claims to be protecting.

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Crippling the Innovation Economy: Regulatory Overreach at the Patent Office

The authors of this paper explain how the PTAB has become a prime example of regulatory overreach. The PTAB administrative tribunal is creating unnecessary costs for inventors and companies, and thus it is harming the innovation economy far beyond the harm of the bad patents it was created to remedy. First, the authors describe the U.S. patent system and how it secures property rights in technological innovation. Second, the authors describe Congress’s creation of the PTAB in 2011 and the six different administrative proceedings the PTAB uses for reviewing and canceling patents. Third, the authors detail the various ways that the PTAB is now causing real harm, through both its procedures and its substantive decisions, and thus threatening innovation.

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Regulators in Cyberia

This paper illustrates the negative and sometimes unintended consequences that regulations can have on America’s most dynamic and fastest growing industry: the technology sector. In many situations, there is no regulatory option that satisfies Goldilocks’ preference of being “just right” because the newness of the service or product makes it impossible to know what “just right” is.

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