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BPAA Federal Policy Update - June 1

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Gaming

  • The Daily Caller reports, : Supreme Court Clears Way For Legal Sports Betting Across The Country: The U.S. Supreme Court Monday struck down a federal law effectively banning sports betting in most states. The decision is a boon for sports enthusiasts and dozens of states that hope to fill coffers with gambling revenue. The American Gaming Association estimates that Americans wager $150 billion in illegal sports gambling markets every year. At issue in the litigation is the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), which restricts sports gambling to Nevada, Delaware, Montana, and Oregon. The law prohibits states from legalizing sports lotteries. This provision is enforced through civil suits brought by organized athletic leagues, but does not make gambling a federal crime. In a bid to revive Atlantic City’s faltering economic prospects…Read more here http://dailycaller.com/2018/05/14/supreme-court-legal-sports-betting/
  • The New York Times reports, : Supreme Court Ruling Favors Sports Betting: -WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court struck down a 1992 federal law on Monday that effectively banned commercial sports betting in most states, opening the door to legalizing the estimated $150 billion in illegal wagers on professional and amateur sports that Americans make every year. The decision seems certain to result in profound changes to the nation’s relationship with sports wagering. Bettors will no longer be forced into the black market to use offshore wagering operations or illicit bookies. Placing bets will be done on mobile devices, fueled and endorsed by the lawmakers and sports officials who opposed it for so long. A trip to Las Vegas to wager on March Madness or the Super Bowl could soon seem quaint. The law the decision overturned — the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act — prohibited states from authorizing sports gambling. Among its sponsors was Senator Bill Bradley, Democrat of New Jersey and a former college and professional basketball star. He said the law was needed to safeguard the integrity of sports. But the court said the law was unconstitutional. “It is as if federal officers were installed in state legislative chambers and were armed with the authority to stop legislators from voting on any offending proposals,” Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. said, writing for the majority. “A more direct affront to state sovereignty is not easy to imagine.” Across the country, state officials and representatives of the casino industry greeted the ruling with something like glee, nowhere more than in New Jersey, which anticipated the decision and had been prepared to quickly take advantage of it.

 

TAX

  • Bloomberg Government reports: Tax Overhaul 2.0 to Follow Similar Track as 2017 Overhaul-Brady: Lawmakers working on a follow-up to the tax law will move one step at a time to craft legislation making tax cuts permanent and addressing individual and pass-through issues. “We've begun in the committee to develop a framework for 2.0, then we will broaden that with the conference,” House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) told reporters May 21. Brady said his committee will recommend the “key elements” for a bill and then get input from other House Republicans, the Senate, and the White House. Initial discussions with President Donald Trump and his staff have already taken place, he said. In 2017, several broad outlines of potential legislation were released in the months leading up to the introduction of the tax overhaul bill. House Republicans have discussed legislation that would make permanent the tax cuts for individuals and pass-though businesses, such as partnerships, limited liability companies, and S corporations, enacted by the 2017 tax act (Pub. L. No. 115-97). Those tax cuts are set to expire in 2026. Brady has also floated the idea of overhauling tax-favored retirement and education savings accounts. Some Republicans, including White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow, support indexing capital gains to inflation, meaning people wouldn't pay tax on the increase in their investments tied to rising prices. Republicans have been touting their 2017 tax bill as they head into the midterms this fall, where they could lose seats in the House. They hope that tax benefits for individuals, such as an expanded child tax credit and an increased standard deduction, will help them win voters. The GOP has yet to lay out a strategy for passing a tax bill this year, but it will likely need Democratic support in the Senate. House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) has pledged to vote on a bill making the individual tax cuts permanent. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in April he is considering such a vote.
  • Bloomberg Government reports, IRS to Issue Proposed Rule on State, Local Tax Deductions: -Proposed rule will address “legislation adopted or being considered by state legislatures that allow taxpayers to receive a credit against their state and local taxes for contributions to certain organizations or funds designated by the state,” U.S. Treasury says in statement.
    • Regulations “will make clear that the Internal Revenue Code, not the label used by states, governs the federal income tax treatment” of of such transfers”
    • Regulation to be issued “in the near future”
    • Read IRS notice here
  • Rep. Brady Wants 401(k) Tweaks, New Estate Tax Limit Permanent: Rep. Kevin Brady, top tax-writing Republican in the House, tells Fox Business he wants to give Americans incentives to “save more and earlier in their life.”
    • Says lawmakers should look at proposals that would require small and medium business employees to opt out of 401(k)s, rather than to opt in
    • Says estate tax exemption of about $11m per person should become permanent
    • Republicans’ 2017 tax overhaul raised the estate tax exemption to $11m, but only through 2025
    • Brady says he is working with President Trump, Senate on timing of next stage of tax overhaul

Labor

  • Bloomberg Government reports: Trump Lawyers Flip Position on Tip Case Before Supreme Court:The dust continues to settle on a recently passed law that prohibits employers from keeping workers’ tips. The Trump administration has now broken its silence before the U.S. Supreme Court on the matter, after eight delays spanning 15 months. The Justice and Labor departments filed a brief May 22 asking the high court to grant the restaurant industry's petition to invalidate a 2011 regulation that prevented businesses from imposing tip-pooling arrangements on workers. But rather than review the case by scheduling oral arguments, the government wants the Supreme Court to vacate the case and remand it to a federal appeals court to reconsider its decision to uphold the Obama-era rule. There have been several legal and regulatory developments in recent months that make this the best option, the DOJ and DOL argue. For starters, the government spending bill, signed into law March 23, includes a policy rider to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act by prohibiting employers—including managers and supervisors—from participating in tip-pooling arrangements. The language also declares that the 2011 rule in question is no longer in effect. Further, the administration has changed is position from the Obama years, as reflected in the DOL's December proposed rule to rescind the 2011 rule and allow for more tip-sharing arrangements between front-of-house and back-of-house employees. “Vacating the judgment of the court of appeals would eliminate the division of authority on the question presented and would deprive the decision below of ongoing effect,” the government attorneys wrote in their brief.
  • Bloomberg Government reports: Senators: Labor Board Uses Regulation to ‘Evade’ Ethics Issue: Three lawmakers said to be considering a Democratic run for the White House told federal labor board Chairman John Ring (R) May 29 that they're concerned the board is using the regulatory process to skirt conflict-of-interest issues and update its approach to joint employment to favor large corporations. Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) said the National Labor Relations Board's plan to tackle joint employer liability via regulation appears to be a way to “evade the ethical restrictions” that apply to NLRB case decisions, according to a letter obtained by Bloomberg Law. The senators also foreshadowed a potential legal challenge to the eventual rule. The NLRB held in a decision in December that one business has to exert direct control over another's workers to be considered their joint employer for unionization purposes. The board scrapped that decision after the agency's inspector general said Member William Emanuel (R) shouldn't have participated because his former law firm was connected to the case. That left in place a board decision issued when the NLRB was controlled by Democrats. That decision allows businesses in staffing, franchise, or other contractual relationships to be tagged as joint employers if they exert indirect control over another company's workers. Ring announced in April, weeks after he was sworn in, that the board would address the controversial issue again via regulation. That would be the third time the standard has changed during the Trump administration. “There's nothing inappropriate with the board considering rulemaking on the joint employer issue,” Jerry Hunter, a former Republican NLRB general counsel, told Bloomberg Law May 30. “I think the senators are incorrect in saying the rulemaking is somehow a guise, or scheme to get around adjudication where one member may have a conflict.” Ring and the NLRB declined to comment on the matter.
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