Welcome to Pillsbury’s Regulatory Playbook, where you’ll find news and insights on the regulatory trends that are driving markets and shaping businesses. Here, Pillsbury’s market-leading regulatory group illuminates critical developments at the intersection of law and policy. If you need to know what’s happening, why it’s happening and how to respond, consult the Playbook.
Trending IssuesTexas Environmental Compliance During the COVID-19 Pandemic
The swift onslaught of the COVID-19 virus has presented serious challenges to the regulated community’s ability to maintain standard compliance protocols. Environmental agencies, which are also struggling with workforce impacts of their own, are responding with updated compliance and enforcement policies meant to provide some measure of relief, without relaxing substantive obligations.
Zone of Uncertainty: Director Considerations in Responding to COVID-19
Boards of directors face the challenging task of managing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the business, be it from reduced demand, supply chain or operational interruptions, employee issues, or liquidity constraints.
COVID-19: Tennessee Becomes Latest State to Issue Stay-Home Order
In response to the outbreak of COVID-19, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee issued a stay-home order on Thursday evening. The order amends earlier executive orders that had enacted less strict restrictions on travel in Tennessee.
NRC Takes Important Step Toward Following White Paper Recommendations for Streamlining NEPA Reviews for Advanced Nuclear Reactors
The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires federal agencies proposing to undertake, approve or fund “major Federal actions” to evaluate the action’s environmental impacts, including both direct and reasonably foreseeable indirect effects. NEPA also requires agencies to consider alternatives to the proposed action and to discuss cumulative impacts resulting from the incremental effects of the project when added to those of other past, present, and reasonably foreseeable future projects.
Governor DeSantis issues “Safer at Home” Order until April 30, 2020
On April 1, 2020, Governor Ron DeSantis mandated the closure of all nonessential businesses by Executive Order 20-91, effective April 3, 2020, at 12:01 am and expiring on April 30, 2020, unless extended by subsequent order. The order also requires anyone in Florida to limit their movement and personal interactions outside of the home to “essential services” and “essential activities.” The Order also mandates that senior citizens and Floridians with significant underlying medical conditions (chronic lung disease, moderate to severe asthma, serious heart conditions, immunocompromised status, cancer, diabetes, severe obesity, renal failure, and liver disease) “shall stay at home and take all measures to limit the risk of exposure to COVID-19.”
Health Care Providers Should Prepare for $100 Billion Reimbursement
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act appropriates an additional $100 billion to the “Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund” to reimburse “eligible health care providers” for COVID-19 related health care expenses or lost revenues. The Act gives the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) broad discretion in distributing these funds as efficiently as possible. The Secretary has yet to publish guidance as to how funds will be administered, so we will be following developments closely as they occur. Below are the key concepts for those interested in pursuing these funds.
Virginia Ordered to Stay at Home Until June 10th
In response to the rise in COVID-19 cases both nationwide and in the Washington, DC, region, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam issued a statewide order for residents to stay at home except in very limited circumstances. Executive Order No. 55 is effective immediately and remains in place until June 10, 2020, unless amended or rescinded by another executive order.
Closing the Capitol: Mayor Bowser Issues Stay-at-Home Order
Following a growing list of states and municipalities, on March 30, 2020, Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser issued an order to all individuals living in Washington, DC, to stay at home except to perform “essential activities.” Order 2020-54 is effective from 12:01 am on April 1, 2020, until April 24, 2020, unless extended, rescinded, superseded or amended by a subsequent order.
California Eases Strict Statutory Compliance in Face of COVID-19
Governor Newsom issued an Executive Order this weeks that augments the existing California stay-at-home order, EO N-33-20, to provide administrative relief to governmental agencies as well as the business sector whose compliance with certain laws and regulations is likely to be adversely impacted by COVID-19.
COVID-19 Relief: What Funds, Corporate Investors and Their Portfolio Companies Should Know About Eligibility for the Payroll Protection Program Under the CARES Act
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), passed on March 27, 2020, sets aside $349 billion for Paycheck Protection Loans, which are available through banks, credit unions and other lenders (and guaranteed by the Government) and allows for forgiveness of certain amounts. The authority to make and approve loans under the programs is to be delegated by the SBA to participating lenders. (We summarized the Act’s small business loan provisions here.) Loans under the Paycheck Protection Program are available through June 30, 2020, and expanded Economic Injury Disaster Loans are available through December 31, 2020.
COVID-19 Impacts on REITs and Mitigation Strategies
REITs need to be sensitive to the consequences of acts taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic on their compliance with the REIT tests under the tax laws.
Registration and Compliance Obligations are Reality for Private Funds in the Cayman Islands
For many years regulators and other government officials in the Cayman Islands have worked closely with tax and regulatory authorities and others in non-Cayman jurisdictions to minimize the risk that bad actors would use Cayman jurisdictional means to evade taxes, launder money or engage in other illegal conduct. The Cayman Islands Government has incurred great expense to establish, implement or improve systems designed to facilitate international law enforcement and crime prevention. As a result of those and other important efforts by the Cayman Islands Government, reforms in the Cayman Islands have been among the most significant of any nation.
So the Government Shut Down Your Construction Project—What Next?
Last Friday, New York issued updated guidance that halted all construction in the state, except for “essential construction” which consists of roads, bridges, transit facilities, utilities, hospitals or health care facilities, affordable housing, and homeless shelters. As a result, most commercial construction and condominium projects are now on hold, with the exception of work that must be completed for safety purposes and emergency work. The New York guidance is a drastic departure from the state’s previous guidance, which generally exempted construction as an essential service. The Empire State Development’s website provides further detail as to what constitutes essential health care operations and infrastructure.
Mitigation of Investment Adviser Business Interruption and Regulatory Non-Compliance Risks Related to COVID-19
We recommend the following specific measures to mitigate risks of business interruption and regulatory noncompliance resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19: Due Diligence Considerations for Underwriters in Securities Offerings
In the wake of COVID-19, underwriters should be vigilant when conducting due diligence on an issuer intending to engage in a securities offering. The issuer could be facing work-stoppages, supply-chain disruptions, reduced demand for products and services, securities portfolio devaluations, impairments, or a host of other concerning developments, any of which could be material to the issuer’s business, financial condition or results of operations. Underwriters should seek to understand all material impacts of COVID-19 on the issuer to ensure that such matters have been properly disclosed to investors prior to any underwritten offering. These matters can be explored, among other ways, in due diligence sessions with the issuer’s management.
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