Leading experts discuss the pros and cons of government regulations and explain how they affect everyday life for Americans.

California’s AB-5 Law: Who can be considered an “independent contractor”?

June 30, 2020

In 2019, California passed AB-5, a law that mandates that most workers should be considered “employees” rather than “independent contractors.” Advocates claim that this law will offer more protection for all workers. Opponents state that this law will stifle innovation and deprive workers of the independence to structure their own relationships.

Alida Kass of the New Jersey Civil Justice Institute explores how the California law compares to other states and the issues that it may raise for workers.

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Do Certificate of Need Laws Help Control Healthcare Costs?

June 4, 2020

Certificate of need laws are state regulations designed to control medical costs. New medical facilities must be assessed and approved by a state board which determines whether such a facility is needed by the community.

Christina Sandefur of the Goldwater Institute explores whether such laws have successfully controlled costs or if they have hindered the competition required to balance healthcare prices.

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Government Surveillance: The National Security Perspective

May 26, 2020

Many national security experts argue that lawful surveillance activities, such as those authorized by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), are necessary to protect the national security of the United States.

In this Fourth Branch video, Matthew Heiman takes a deep dive into this issue from the national security perspective.

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FTC Hot Topics with Commissioner Christine Wilson: Regulatory Reform, Privacy, Antitrust, & Beyond

May 21, 2020

On May 18, the Regulatory Transparency Project hosted a virtual fireside chat discussion on the Federal Trade Commission’s regulatory reform efforts, federal privacy legislation, and the future of antitrust law.

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FDA Regulation of Diagnostic Testing and COVID-19

May 11, 2020

Did Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations hamper the fight against COVID-19 at a critical juncture? In this short video narrated by Roger Klein, we explore the relationship between the FDA and the CDC in regulating and conducting diagnostic tests.

In 2016, in response to the Zika virus, the FDA designated the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as the country’s only diagnostic test manufacturer. In early February 2020, the CDC was ordered to distribute tests for COVID-19 which were faulty and had to have results verified by the CDC laboratory. Only in mid-March 2020, did the CDC loosen regulations which then allowed private hospitals and labs to develop and conduct their own tests.

Could more have been known about the disease at an earlier date if private testing and treatment had been allowed and encouraged? Should the COVID-19 emergency force us to reevaluate the purpose and use of public health regulations and policies?

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Regulating Big Tech: Should Social Media Platforms Be Viewpoint Neutral? Should the Government Care?

April 9, 2020

On March 4, 2020, the Regulatory Transparency Project sponsored a symposium with the University of Pennsylvania Federalist Society student chapter. The second panel of the symposium was titled “Should Social Media Platforms Be Viewpoint Neutral? Should the Government Care?”

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Big Cities and Zoning: The Search for Affordable Housing

March 31, 2020

Across the country, housing in larger cities is becoming more expensive. Lower and middle-class families are being priced out of many of them. This video tells the story of Seattle residents Kip and Michelle Klemz and discusses the role that zoning regulations, specifically those that limit housing density, play in this trend.

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Does Federal Permitting Under the National Environmental Policy Act Need Reform?

March 5, 2020

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) was designed to regulate federal infrastructure projects to minimize harmful environmental impact. Over time, the review process has become lengthy and costly. This process has delayed or condemned needed construction of roads, pipelines, and power lines.

In this video, Professor James Coleman discusses possible benefits of NEPA reform, while explaining why the issue is hotly debated. He proposes a new way of formulating the question that could be discussed without resorting to partisanship.

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Government Surveillance: Security v. Liberty?

February 5, 2020

In this Fourth Branch video, Matthew Heiman and Julian Sanchez debate the pros and cons of government surveillance and Faisal Gill, a former Department of Homeland Security official who was surveilled by the federal government beginning in 2006, tells his story.

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What’s Next for Fannie, Freddie, and Housing Finance Reform?

December 20, 2019

On December 10, 2019, the Regulatory Transparency Project hosted an event at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. The title of the event was “What’s Next for Fannie, Freddie, and Housing Finance Reform?”

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) oversees the administration of both Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. What’s next for the agency? What are the priorities that the agency should be pursuing?

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