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Paul Zimmerman
pzimmerman@mrllp.com
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Showing 20 posts from February 2015.

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Hotel WiFi Wars

UPDATE (March 3, 2015): Hilton just announced that they will be offering free WiFi to their Hilton Honors members. 

Recently, the FCC and Marriott Hotels, along with the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), engaged in a battle over one of the most important services a hotel can provide these days: WiFi. Marriott and the AHLA petitioned the FCC to block guests’ use of outside WiFi networks in order to protect network quality and improve security but, perhaps due to the optics of the action, they have abandoned their petition. This comes on the heels of 2013’s $600,000 FTC fine levied against Marriott after the hotel chain blocked convention attendees’ outside WiFi networks at one of their Nashville properties, charging the attendees upwards of $1,000 to access WiFi.  (Read more)

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serezniy © 123RF.com

New York Raises Minimum Wage to $7.50 for Tipped Employees

On February 23, 2015, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that all servers in restaurants, hotels and other tipped employees will get a minimum wage of $ 7.50 per hour, commencing at the end of the year. Currently, tipped workers receive between $4.90 and $5.65 as an hourly wage. (Read more)

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Viktor Bondar © 123RF.com

The FTC Targets Health Care M&A’s

The Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC’s) challenge of St. Luke’s Health System’s merger with Saltzer Medical Group and its physicians was the agency’s first case against a hospital-physician acquisition. The Idaho district court ordered divestiture and on February 10, 2015, the Ninth Circuit agreed that the merger violated Section 7 of the Clayton Act, the governing federal statute prohibiting monopolies.  (Read more)

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Valeriy Lebedev © 123RF.com

Do Your Supervisors Know the Rules?

Have you tested your supervisors lately? How well do they know the rules of your business?

Late last year, there was a case pending in Oklahoma state court involving a high school football game. The state playoffs were being delayed due to an erroneous call made by an official, who called a penalty on an assistant coach. The assistant coach inadvertently obstructed the official’s path on the field during a 58-yard touchdown pass in the final minutes of the game. It gave the assistant coach’s team a 5-point lead with 1 minute and 4 seconds left to play. (Read More)

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Dmitriy Shironosov © 123RF.com

Will Hotels and Restaurants be ready for EMV?

October, 2015 should mark the beginning of the end of the traditional 'swipe and sign' technology for credit and debit card payments in the U.S.  Still, the question remains whether retailers, including those in the restaurant, food & beverage and hotel industries, will be ready for this change? (Read more)

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Apple Pay: A Marketer's Treasure Trove?

While mobile payment systems (mobile money, mobile wallets) have been around for over a decade, the unveiling of Apple Pay late last year has some analysts projecting that as many as 2 billion of these kinds of mobile transactions will transpire by 2017. (Read more)

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Alert: California DOI Action on Price Optimization

On February 18, 2015, the California Department of Insurance (CDI) issued a Notice to property and casualty insurers on the issue of price optimization. The notice advises P&C insurers that price optimization is illegal under California law, and instructs insurers currently using price optimization in California to cease the practice. It also instructs that “any insurer that has a factor or factors based on Price Optimization in its rating plan shall remove the factor or factors in its next filing,” and requires this filing within six months. (Read more)

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Maksim Kabakou © 123RF.com

Senate Introduces Cyberthreat Data Sharing Legislation

On Wednesday, February 11, The Cyber Threat Sharing Act of 2015 was introduced in the U.S. Senate. The bill is aimed at improving cybersecurity for both the private and public sectors, through the increase of shared cyberthreat data and communication between both sectors. (Read more)

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oksix © 123RF.com

Chickens Provided More Space, but at What Cost?

Egg lovers beware. Egg prices are on the rise across the nation, largely because of California voters. Animal rights advocates persuaded voters in 2008 to pass Proposition 2, the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act. The act requires farmers to place egg-laying hens in bigger cages to provide room to run around and flap their wings. The law just took effect on January 1, 2015. The California Department of Food and Agriculture has also implemented rules that give chickens substantially more room to breathe. Farmers in states like Iowa and Ohio who regularly sell their eggs to California will also have to comply with the new rules. In cold states, farmers will now be forced to install heaters in order to keep their chickens warm. This was never a previous concern, as conventional wisdom was that chickens huddled together for warmth in smaller cages. These out-of-state farmers may have to spend thousands, if not millions, to install heaters and bigger cages if they wish to sell eggs in California. To keep costs down, many farmers are opting to reduce the number of chickens. As a result, we will likely see at least a fifteen percent increase in egg prices.  (Read more)

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Ievgenii Biletskyi

Farm to Fork May Present Opportunities to Hotel and Restaurant Chains

In September of last year, Governor Brown signed AB 2413, creating California’s Farm to Fork, an initiative that seeks to bring fresh, healthy foods from farms directly to consumers in order to build healthy communities. The genesis of the legislation began when California's Health in All Policies Task Force, the Department of Education, the Department of Food and Agriculture, and the Department of Public Health all collaborated in an effort promote making agricultural products more accessible to schools and underserved communities. AB 2413, authored by Assembly Speaker John A.  Pérez, was originally proposed after a myriad of State findings regarding a lack of access to healthy foods in disadvantaged urban communities, and the prevalence of chronic health conditions related to poor diets in these communities.  (Read more)