Economics and Finance

Efforts around the country to revitalize downtowns and create economically vital and aesthetically pleasing communities, often centered on transit hubs, have created a greater need for a private-public entity that can manage these areas to ensure their long-term sustainability. While most states have laws on the books to enable these special districts, some experts say they are still too difficult to establish and that some of the decades-old laws may need to evolve to reflect the expanding mission of these districts and the changing nature of the communities they serve.

On January 29, President Obama announced an executive action that will require companies with 100 employees or more to report to the federal government how much they pay their employees, broken down by gender, race and ethnicity. The action is part of a larger effort to close the pay gap between men and women.

All states have statutes which allow individuals to delegate substitute decision-making authority. In Idaho, the main examples are financial powers of attorney and medical powers of attorney and mental health powers of attorney. If the person executes the document in Idaho and stays in Idaho, the documents will be recognized. However, in our mobile society, individuals move, travel, and may end up needing the document to be recognized in another jurisdiction. This Act is creating that ability.

The Act requires that in the event of a data security breach information holders are to contact anyone whose data may have been accessed by an unauthorized person. Additionally, this Act requires that cloud computing service providers will not process student data without parental permission.

The Act establishes ABLE savings trust accounts to be administered by the Virginia College Savings Plan to facilitate the saving of private funds for paying the qualified disability expenses of certain disabled individuals. Under the federal Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2014, Congress authorized states to establish ABLE savings trust accounts to assist individuals and families in saving and paying for the education, housing, transportation, employment training and support, assistive technology and personal support services, health, prevention and wellness, financial management and administrative services, and other expenses of individuals who were disabled or blind prior to the age of 26. Earnings on contributions to ABLE savings trust accounts are exempt from federal income tax. Because Virginia conforms to the federal income tax laws, earnings on contributions to ABLE savings trust accounts will also be excluded from Virginia taxable income.

The Act encourages local workforce investment boards to implement pay-for-performance contract strategy incentives for training services as an alternative model to traditional programs. The Act also authorizes local workforce investment boards to allocate funds to the extent permissible under §§ 128(b) and 133(b) of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 (P.L. 113-128) for pay-for-performance partnerships.

Under the Act, covered employers will be required to provide reasonable accommodation to employees or applicants for employment for limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions. The Act allows employees to request modified duties and other accommodations as long as they do not place undue hardship on employers. It allows such accommodations as bathroom breaks and assistance with manual labor. The Act also requires employers to provide nursing women time to express breast milk. It bars employers from turning away a qualified job applicant out of concern she might be asked to provide some accommodations for her pregnancy.

The Act bans the possession of automated business record falsification devices. These devices, commonly known as zappers or phantom-ware, use software installed on point-of-sale terminals to evade retail sales tax. The software manipulates electronic records to hide and/or under report sales.

The Uniform Voidable Transactions Act (UVTA), formerly named the Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act (UFTA), strengthens creditor protections by providing remedies for certain transactions by a debtor that are unfair to the debtor’s creditors. The 2014 amendments to the UVTA address a small number of narrowly-defined issues, and are not a comprehensive revision of the act. The Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act was promulgated in 1984 and has been enacted by 43 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands as of 2014. The act replaced the very similar Uniform Fraudulent Conveyance Act, which was promulgated in 1918 and remains in force in two states as of 2014.

Powers of Appointment are routinely included in trusts drafted throughout the United States, but there is little statutory law governing their use. Instead, estate-planning attorneys rely on a patchwork of common-law decisions. The Uniform Powers of Appointment Act codifies the law on powers of appointment, relying heavily on the Restatement (Third) of Property: Wills and Other Donative Transfers, published in 2011 by the American Law Institute. Therefore, estate planners will already be familiar with the provisions of this uniform act.

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