Overnight Regulation: Court backs labor board on election rule

Welcome to OVERNIGHT REGULATION, your daily rundown of news from Capitol Hill and beyond. It's Thursday evening here in Washington, and we're happy it's almost Friday. So without further ado, here's the latest. 



A federal court has upheld federal regulations designed to speed up union elections, dealing a blow to business groups who oppose the rule. 

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) should be allowed to expedite the process by which employees unionize, Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled for the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.


The NLRB reissued the union election rule last year, and it went into effect this past April, but it has been assailed by legal and legislative challenges.

Business groups claimed that the so-called "ambush election" rule would not give them enough time to prepare, but labor advocates argued it would prevent management from needlessly delaying union elections.

"After considering the points and authorities set forth in the briefs submitted by both sides and the arguments presented at the hearings, the court will uphold the final rules," the judge wrote in the opinion issued Wednesday. 

The business groups challenging the rule included the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers, National Retail Federation and Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

The SHRM has voiced its displeasure with the ruling.

"The court ruling upholding the NLRB union election rule is a loss for workers everywhere," the SHRM wrote in a statement. "Employees need adequate time and information to make an informed decision about whether or not to join a union, and this decision prevents that." http://bit.ly/1IuShB5



The Obama administration will publish 178 new regulations, proposed rules, notices and other administrative actions in Friday's edition of the Federal Register.

Here's what to watch for:

--The Department of Energy (DOE) will issue new efficiency rules for beverage vending machines.

The Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy is issuing the new test procedures for refrigerated bottled or canned beverage vending machines.

Manufacturers must begin complying with the testing requirements in 180 days. http://bit.ly/1Ibu3It

--The DOE will also issue new efficiency rules for dehumidifiers.

The Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy is issuing new test procedures for both portable and whole-home dehumidifiers.

The rule goes into effect in 30 days. http://bit.ly/1h8DgL1

--The DOE will also propose new efficiency rules for certain fluorescent lamps.

The Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy is proposing new test procedures for medium base compact fluorescent lamps.

The public has 75 days to comment. http://bit.ly/1DTcbQW

--The Peace Corps will propose new eligibility requirements for volunteers. 

The new eligibility requirements would prohibit discrimination against people with disabilities. They were last updated in 1984.

The public has 30 days to comment. http://bit.ly/1MWAN0n



'Ban the box': Civil rights groups and advocates for ex-offenders rallied outside the White House on Thursday to urge President Obama to ban a box on federal job applications that asks people whether they have a criminal record. http://bit.ly/1MA9njO

Alcohol: A House Democrat has introduced legislation to end a Prohibition-era ban on shipping alcohol through the U.S. Postal Service. http://bit.ly/1OR4bpW

Foreign manufacturers: Lawmakers in the House want Americans to be able to sue foreign manufacturers who sell defective and dangerous products in the United States. http://bit.ly/1KBXrxH

Low-wage workers: Democrats are looking to protect low-wage workers who are misclassified as independent contractors so their companies don't have to pay them as much. http://bit.ly/1M0c4Lw

Cecil: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said on Thursday that it was investigating the circumstances surrounding the killing of Cecil, a lion that is thought to have been lured out of its protected habitat in Zimbabwe this month and killed by an American dentist and hunter, The New York Times reports. http://nyti.ms/1DT6vqe

SCOTUS: A month after wrapping up one of the most monumental terms in the Supreme Court's history, the justices are still divided--not just about specific cases, but over what their rulings meant for the Court and the country, National Journal reports. http://bit.ly/1Sl3BWZ

Guns: The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to ban the possession of large-capacity gun magazines on Tuesday, following San Francisco to become the second major city in California to take that step, Reuters reports. http://reut.rs/1JUmwyc

Chimps: A judge has dismissed a lawsuit that sought to free two chimpanzees from a New York state university by arguing the human-like animals deserved "personhood" status, AP reports. http://bit.ly/1LTvj7Q



$12 million: How much the Department of Labor announced it would spend on efforts to reduce child labor in the West African cocoa industry.

18: The number of states that have banned asking applicants whether they have a criminal record on government job applications.

700,000: About how many people are released from American prisons every year.



"I did my time, so why does it feel like I'm still paying time?" Marilyn Reyes-Scales said during a rally Thursday calling on President Obama to ban a box on federal job applications that asks people whether they have a criminal record.


We’ll work to stay on top of these and other stories throughout the week, so check The Hill’s Regulation page (http://thehill.com/regulation) early and often for the latest. And send any comments, complaints or regulatory news tips our way, tdevaney@thehill.com or lwheeler@thehill.com. And follow us at @timdevaney and@wheelerlydia.

Click here to sign up for the newsletter: http://bit.ly/1pc6tau