Overnight Regulation: Federal judge puts union 'persuader' rule on hold

Welcome to Overnight Regulation, your daily rundown of news from the federal agencies, Capitol Hill and beyond. It's Monday evening here in Washington where the Supreme Court just wrapped up for the summer. The justices will start hearing cases again in October. 

Here's the latest.



A federal judge in Texas put a temporary hold on the Department of Labor's (DOL) union "persuader rule."

Judge Sam Cummings, of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Lubbock Division, issued an 86-page order on Monday granting a request for a preliminary injunction from business groups suing the Obama administration.


Under the order, the Labor Department is prohibited from implementing the rule, which forces employers to report any "actions, conduct or communications" undertaken to "affect an employee's decisions regarding his or her representation or collective bargaining rights," until the case is settled by the courts.

The National Association of Manufacturers, which filed the lawsuit with other groups, argues the rule will prevent employers from speaking on labor issues or seeking legal counsel.

In the order, Cummings said a nationwide injunction is appropriate.

"The chilling of speech protected by the First Amendment is in and of itself an irreparable injury," Cummings wrote in the order.

The case is National Federation of Independent Business et al. v. Perez, et al. http://bit.ly/28YuWhp


In another court ruling on labor issues, the Supreme Court on Monday declined to review a lower court's decision upholding a rule that requires home healthcare workers to be paid overtime pay. 

The nation's second most powerful court handed a victory to the Obama administration last year when it upheld the rule. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals said the measure fell within the powers of the Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA).

The court's decision not to review the case leaves the rule in place.

The case, Home Care Association of America v. David Weil, centers on the Labor Department's decision in 2013 to change the definition of "domestic service employment" and "companionship services."

The new definition stated that third-party employers must pay overtime if a domestic service employee is hired to provide companionship services to elderly and disabled individuals unable to care for themselves. Previously, the third-party employers had been exempt from those rules.

In a statement, Labor Secretary Tom Perez said the high court decision Monday ensures that an important group of workers are paid a fair day's pay for a hard day's work.

"Today's decision by the court not to review a challenge to the final rule ensures that the rule can fulfill President Obama's vision of an economy where hard work pays off and responsibility is rewarded," he said. "That will mean greater economic stability for so many hard-working people. For everything they do for our families, they deserve – and now they will get – a fair shot at being able to take care of their own." http://bit.ly/29056L5



The Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing to discuss the proposed Medicare Part B drug demonstration project. http://1.usa.gov/28SuAHp

The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing to discuss how to implement the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015. http://1.usa.gov/28T6DxN

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests, and Mining will hold a hearing to discuss the Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service's new efforts regarding sage grouse conservation and their coordination with affected states. http://1.usa.gov/28ZfXlF



The Obama administration will publish 210 new regulations, proposed rules, notices and other administrative actions in Tuesday's edition of the Federal Register.

--The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will consider new physical activity recommendations for Americans.

The HHS Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee will hold meetings next month to discuss updates to the standard, which provides a "benchmark" for "physical activity, fitness, and health in the United States," the agency said.

The meetings will take place on July 14 and 15. http://bit.ly/28ZhRlr

--The Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) will reconsider a plan to remove protections for endangered cougars.

The agency last year proposed to remove the protections for the eastern puma, because it believes the species has become extinct. But the agency is now reopening the comment period to give the public more time to consider the changes.

The public has 30 days to comment. http://bit.ly/29hxNis

--The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) will not protect hammerhead sharks.

The NMFS has determined hammerhead sharks are not endangered or threatened after completing a status review requested by petitioners.

The finding goes into effect immediately. http://bit.ly/28ZhIP7

--The NMFS rejected a petition to list the Maui and Kona reef manta rays as threatened species, because it cannot distinguish them from other manta rays. But the agency said it will consider protections for the entire species. http://bit.ly/2934Udh



Supreme Court strikes down Texas abortion restrictions http://bit.ly/28YWGy7

Justice Kennedy again steps to the left http://bit.ly/299oeDg

Supreme Court denies review of minimum wage rule http://bit.ly/29056L5

Justices rule gun ban extends to domestic abusers. http://bit.ly/28Yd7iI

Democrat outraged by endangered species hunting permits. http://bit.ly/292NrAl

Lawmakers fighting for stronger rotations for older workers. http://bit.ly/28YohUw

Court tosses child privacy case against Google. http://bit.ly/29htyDt

Supreme Court to consider NC gerrymandering case. http://bit.ly/28ZfLC4

Michigan governor won't participate in air pollution case http://bit.ly/29hE5yI

Judge temporarily blocks union 'persuader' rule http://bit.ly/28YuWhp



1,300: Endangered species hunting permits the federal government has granted over the last five years, according to Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.).

The Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is coming under scrutiny from a lawmaker over allegations that it gave trophy hunters permission to kill endangered animals like black rhinoceroses. http://bit.ly/292NrAl



"Every woman has a constitutional right to make her own reproductive choices. I'm pleased to see the Supreme Court reaffirm that fact today," President Obama tweeted after the Supreme Court struck down an abortion law in Texas. http://bit.ly/28YWGy7


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.

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