Legislative and Regulatory News for the Week of February 22

The following is a summary of the legislative and regulatory news for the week of February 22, 2009:

Agency Changes

Hilda Solis was officially confirmed as the next U.S. Secretary of Labor.  President Obama has chosen Seth Harris to take the number two position at the Department of Labor (DOL).  Obama has also announced his plans to nominate John Morton to be the Assistant Secretary for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Janet Napolitano, Homeland Security Secretary, has named Esther Olavarria as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy. 


Resident labor expert, former NLRB Chair Bob Battista, answers a series of questions employers may have regarding the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA).  Meanwhile, Republican lawmakers in both the House and Senate have introduced bills to preserve union secret ballot elections.

Employee Benefits

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) published its final rule regarding automatic contributions to 401(k) plans and similar types of defined contribution plans.  President Obama’s budget proposal would provide funds for the establishment of automatic workplace direct deposit for individual retirement accounts.

Employment Discrimination

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has announced that it will publish a set of proposed regulations for the employment provisions of the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act (GINA).  Meanwhile, the Obama administration has announced its intent to revoke the provider conscience rule.


Although the E-Verify program was ultimately cut from the stimulus package, Congress will likely reauthorize it before it expires on March 6.  Meanwhile, the House-passed omnibus bill (H.R. 1105) would extend both E-Verify and the EB-5 visa programs until September 30.  President Obama’s budget proposal would appropriate $110 million to the Department of Homeland Security to continue E-Verify.

Labor/Management Relations

The House-passed appropriations bill (H.R. 1105) would increase funding for several domestic agencies that enforce labor and employment laws.  President Obama has unveiled his own budget proposal that would significantly increase spending for these agencies as well.

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.