Jottings By An Employer's Lawyer

Monday, May 19, 2008

Bush Era Ending Sooner Than You Think

At least from an administrative standpoint. Although one of the Bush countdown timers shows 246 days as of this writing, a memorandum from his Chief of Staff Josh Bolton sent to the heads of federal agencies sets an earlier end point for administrative regulations. According to the website OMB RegWatch article, Bush Sets Policy on Midnight Regulations Bolton wrote:

Except in extraordinary circumstances, regulations to be finalized in this Administration should be proposed no later than June 1, 2008 and final regulations should be issued no later than November 1, 2008.

The memo has more resonance today with me than it might have a few days ago as I just was reviewing some of the last minute actions taken in the Clinton administration for a speech I will be giving at the 60th Annual SHRM Convention in Chicago this summer on the possible impact of the 2008 elections.

One of the most notable was a change in federal procurement laws issued on December 20, 2000 and effective January 19, 2001 (one day before President Bush was to be sworn in) which would have implemented the so called "blacklisting regulations" which would have given federal contracting officers the power to bar employers who had erred too frequently in complying with tax, labor, employment, environmental, antitrust or consumer protection laws.
Although published as a fait d'accompli on December 20 in Federal Acquisition Circular 97-21, they were first suspended then ultimately repealed by the Bush Administration.

Without regard of the merits, it would be nice if we could all agree that Bolton's memorandum if carried out, is certainly a more civil, one might say democratic way of approaching the end of a Presidential administration.

Hat tip to the folks at the DLR for spotting the story.


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