Court Denies Stay for Clean Power Plan


A three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit has denied an effort by 27 states and industry groups to block the Administration’s Clean Power Plan (CPP). While the court’s order denying the states’ application to stay the CPP means the regulations on carbon dioxide emission will remain in place while litigation over it continues, the court’s decision is not the end of the legal battle, as the appeals court must hear oral arguments and rule on the regulation’s legality.

Read more: Court Denies Stay for Clean Power Plan

Montana Farm Bureau Applauds GAO Decision about EPA Breaking the Law


The Montana Farm Bureau is applauding the legal opinion released by the U.S. Government Accountability Office that found the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) broke the law with its social media and grassroots lobbying campaign advocating for its own Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule.

Read more: Montana Farm Bureau Applauds GAO Decision about EPA Breaking the Law

Passage of Transportation Bill Will Move Projects Forward


The US Congress, both the House and the Senate, passed a $305 billion federal transportation bill – the first in over ten years. President Barack Obama has said he will sign it.
The bill will fund repairing and expanding the nation’s highways and related infrastructure, over the next five years. That includes, $835 million annually for the first two years and $850 million annually for the last three years for bicycle and pedestrian projects.

Read more: Passage of Transportation Bill Will Move Projects Forward

Next Step in Affordable Care Act

Beginning in 2016, federal and state health organizations will begin sharing patient medical data among service providers, a process which was advanced under the Affordable Care Act as a cost-saving and more efficient approach to providing health care.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will also begin paying care providers, who are approved as part of the network, based upon the success of the treatment they administer rather than on how many tests or procedures they perform.

Read more: Next Step in Affordable Care Act

Minimum Wage Does Not Impact Welfare Programs


The Employment Policies Institute (EPI) released a new study that concludes that minimum wage increases have had little-to-no net impact on participation in or spending on a range of social welfare programs. In some instances, the authors find evidence that a higher minimum wage increases taxpayer spending on, or the receipt of, certain public benefits.

Read more: Minimum Wage Does Not Impact Welfare Programs

Pew Poll: Americans Losing Confidence in Economy


A Pew Research Center poll found that “Americans are less confident in next year’s economy than they were in January 2015,” Politico reported. According to the poll, 54% of Americans “expect economic conditions in 2016 to remain the same, 22 percent project they’ll get worse and 20 percent foresee an improvement.” The numbers “are lower than last January when 31 percent thought things would improve, 17 percent thought there would be a downturn and 51 percent expected things to remain the same.” Meanwhile 45% “see the economy as in fair shape, 27 percent see it as excellent or good and 28 percent see it as poor.”

Read more: Pew Poll: Americans Losing Confidence in Economy

Court to Consider Case Involving Union Fees


The Detroit News reports that the Supreme Court is set to hear a case out of Detroit “that could overturn a longstanding precedent about union fees ... and effectively dismantle the public-sector labor-relations system that has grown up around it.” The News notes that “nearly 40 years ago,” a group of Detroit public schoolteachers “cited free speech rights in refusing to pay compulsory service fees that, in part, subsidized their union for political activities with which they disapproved.”

Read more: Court to Consider Case Involving Union Fees

Retail Sales Up Less Than Expected In October.


In its latest report, the Commerce Department on Friday said retail sales were up 0.1% in October, to $447.3 billion, following no change in the previous two months. Economists had forecast a 0.3% increase. For the 12 months ending in October, sales rose 1.7%. Analysts noted that low oil prices and low inflation, which suppress spending increases, have contributed to weaker retail sales, which aren’t adjusted for price changes. According to Reuters analysts have warned that the weak consumer spending could indicate slower US economic growth in the fourth quarter. The Wall Street Journal reported that strong employment gains and wage growth suggest that American consumers remain cautious.

Read more: Retail Sales Up Less Than Expected In October.

Market Update

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