Legislative and Regulatory News for the Week of Dec. 12

Health Care

Congress approved a technical correction to the section of the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (MHPA) that applies to collectively-bargained health plans. The legislation (S. 3712) corrects the effective date to read January 1, 2010 instead of January 1, 2009. The MHPA amends current requirements under ERISA, the Public Health Service Act and the Internal Revenue Code for parity in mental health benefits offered under a private group health benefit plan. For more information on the MHPA, see Littler’s ASAP: Equal Mental Health and Substance Use Benefits Realized by Russell D. Chapman and Andrea Jackson. 


The Department of Labor (DOL) is amending its regulations regarding the H-2A and H-2B guest worker programs.  In addition, the USCIS revised Form I-9 to streamline the employment verification process.


President-elect Obama named Rep. Hilda Solis (D-Calif.) as his choice for Labor Secretary. Despite Solis’ ardent championing of the Employee Free Choice Act, EFCA’s support in the Senate appears to be faltering.

Safety and Health

Emily Spieler will lead Obama’s Transition Team on OSHA issues. In regulatory news, OSHA sent an advance notice of proposed rulemaking for its diacetyl standard to the Office of Management Budget’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.  Diacetyl is the chemical used in food flavoring that is allegedly linked to the respiratory disease, colloquially known as “popcorn lung.”

Workplace Discrimination

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission failed to issue regulations for the ADA Amendments Act, which goes into effect Jan 1.

Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.