Canadian Paper Tariff Could Significantly Raise Costs of Newsprint
On August 30, the International Trade Commission (ITC) heard testimony on a petition for the implementation of punitive trade duties against Canadian imports of uncoated groundwood paper, a product used primarily for newsprint and book publishing. The request was raised by a single entity with just one U.S. mill, North Pacific Paper Company (Norpac). The petition calls for antidumping and countervailing duties of over 50 percent on Canadian newsprint, which is likely to increase newsprint prices across the newspaper industry. Such cost increases would hit newspapers at the worst possible moment with little to no room to pass along any cost increases. The Alliance has collected letters from members opposing the petition, which will be hand-delivered to the ITC this week. The ITC is expected to make a preliminary determination on whether to move forward with this antidumping investigation on September 22. The Alliance is lobbying Members of Congress to encourage them to oppose the petition.
Court Nullifies Overtime Rules
On August 31, Judge Amos Mazzant of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas granted the Motion for Summary Judgment in the case brought forward to vacate the Obama Administration’s 2016 Department of Labor overtime rules, increasing the threshold 100 percent from $23,660 annually to $47,476 annually. Various business groups, including the Partnership to Protect Workplace Opportunity (of which the Alliance is a member) and State Attorneys General challenged the DOL rules. This past November, Judge Mazzant issued a nationwide injunction, a ruling that is currently on review before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. The appeal of the injunction is likely to be withdrawn by the DOL considering Judge Mazzant’s new decision on the merits. Judge Mazzant ruled that the Final Rule was unlawful pursuant to Section 213(a)(1) of the Fair Labor Standards Act, which provides an exemption from overtime based on executive duties—an exemption clearly intended by Congress, but circumvented by the DOL’s Final Rule. The Court stated that “the Final Rule was not reasonable: The Department has exceeded its authority and gone too far.” The DOL is still collecting input on the proposed overtime rules and may consider a more moderate increase in salary to reflect today’s reality. Comments in this proceeding are due September 25. The Alliance will join the filing of the Partnership to Protect Workplace Opportunity.
LawView Monthly Updates Return in January, Access LawView Interactive Map
LawView is a tool that tracks state legislation critical to the news media industry so that our members can affect policy decisions at a local level. This members-only tool is shaped by member input that determines what issues, bills, and legislatures are covered. The LawView Monthly Legislative Update will not be published during the fall months since most state legislatures are adjourned – see state legislative session dates here. In the meantime, to receive real-time updates please visit our LawView interactive map to view state legislative initiatives, developments, bill text, sponsors and voting history and more. We will resume regular monthly updates when state legislatures are back in session in January.