July 22, 2014
House Passes Bill With IWG Language
On July 16, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the FY15 Financial Services Appropriations bill (H.R. 5016), which retains language prohibiting the Federal Trade Commission from moving ahead with implementation of the Interagency Working Group (IWG) proposed nutrition principles for food marketed to children without first conducting a cost-benefit analysis in accordance with a 2011 Executive Order prescribing regulatory courses of actions by federal agencies.
The Senate Appropriations Financial Services Subcommittee passed its FY15 spending draft, which also includes the IWG language, on June 24th. The full committee at this time has not yet scheduled a markup of its bill.
Many States See Budget Surpluses
Despite reports that several states saw declines in tax revenue in the first quarter of 2014, many states are ending fiscal year 2014 with budget surpluses beyond expectations. The additional revenue is due in part to increased personal and corporate incomes resulting from the economic recovery.
California ended the year with $1.9 billion left in its general fund, and the state Department of Finance projects a $4.2 billion surplus for fiscal year. California Governor Jerry Brown recently signed a $156 billion budget. Ohio, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Indiana, Arkansas and Georgia are other states that have reported surpluses. In another sign of fiscal health, for the first time in many years every state has adopted its budget for the upcoming fiscal year on time.
The outlook is not universally positive. For example, both Virginia and Kentucky have reported budget shortfalls.
FCC Extended Comment Deadline
The Federal Communications Commission was forced to extend the deadline for comments on its controversial plan to create Internet “fast lanes.” The response was so great that the agency’s website could not handle the overwhelming number of comments being submitted. The original deadline of July 15 was extended to July 18. As of Tuesday, July 15, 2014, the FCC received 780,000 comments. The record is 1.4 million comments after Janet Jackson’s infamous Super Bowl “wardrobe malfunction” in 2004.
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