The success of our clients depends on our ability to maintain strong and trusted relationships with key decision-makers at administrative agencies and the Legislature. We have been engaged in Texas politics since the early 1900s, and our involvement has continued throughout the firm's history, with several of our partners regularly involved in legislative initiatives.
Our Legislative section is comprised of attorneys with expertise serving clients in diverse industries such as agriculture, energy, financial institutions, health care, insurance, and public utilities. These attorneys have significant experience representing clients before state and federal agencies and the Texas State Legislature regarding regulatory compliance, development of new legislation, and responses to enforcement actions. Strong advocates of the "ounce of prevention" philosophy, we regularly advise clients on fulfilling their responsibilities in relation to relevant statutes and policies to avoid time-consuming and potentially costly enforcement proceedings.
Jackson Walker's involvement in Texas politics began in the 1930s with C.C. Small, Sr., who served as a State Senator from Amarillo for many years. Richard C. Craig served in the Texas House as a Representative from the Panhandle in the early 1940s. Later, Charles F. Herring served for many years as the State Senator from Austin. C.C. Small, Jr., served as General Counsel of the Texas Savings and Loan League for over 35 years and in that capacity played a leading role in drafting and passing legislation dealing with important issues for financial institutions. Jackson Walker acquired significant governmental affairs experience when the law firm of Small, Craig & Werkenthin joined with Jackson Walker in January 1999.
Our current Legislative team has over 100 years of combined experience practicing before regulatory agencies and the Texas Legislature. Attorneys in the firm's Administrative Law section also work closely with the section on administrative proceedings before the various regulatory agencies. In short, we know state government and the people who make it work. Our experience and relationships protect and advance the interests of our clients in their business endeavors.
Environmental and Energy Policy
Attorneys throughout Jackson Walker's statewide offices have significant experience serving the environmental needs of clients in a broad range of industries.
- Power generation technology - Assisted in the drafting and passage of several pieces of legislation, the net result of which is the most comprehensive financial and regulatory incentive package in the nation for new electric power generation technology and related carbon dioxide storage projects, including enhanced oil recovery projects.
- Air quality - Before EPA and TCEQ, we represented electrical generating industries regarding the implementation of the Clean Air Interstate Rule, the Clean Air Mercury Rule, and the Dallas/Fort Worth and Houston/Galveston State Implementation Plans. This included developing emissions specifications for attainment demonstrations and system cap compliance mechanisms.
- Steel manufacturing and recycling - Passed targeted legislative initiatives to ease the compliance costs for members of the steel manufacturing and recycling industries, as well as the mining and reclamation industries. We have also been instrumental in drafting and presenting testimony to prevent the passage of measures that would have dramatic, negative impacts on these industries.
- Advanced biofuels - Preserved key incentives and developed market protection mechanisms for the biodiesel industry and worked in concert with key statewide elected officials to establish the Texas Bioenergy Policy and Research Councils.
- Renewable energy - Our attorneys were instrumental in the preservation and extension of key incentive programs essential to the continued growth of the renewable energy industry in Texas. We also assisted in the drafting and passage of a first-of-its-kind grant program for electricity storage projects related to renewable energy that could pave the way for utility scale solar energy projects and further expansion of Texas wind energy.
- Special utility districts - Drafted and assisted in the passage of legislation to create special utility districts, including one of the largest, geographically, in the state.
The Administrative section's expertise includes service to public utilities such as electric, water, and wastewater.
- Rulemaking - Representation in evaluating rule proposals, drafting comments and reply comments, meeting with Commissioners and Public Utility Commision of Texas staff regarding rule proposals, and oral presentations on rulemaking matters
- Business Litigation - Representation regarding diversification related business litigation
- Administrative Proceedings - Administrative proceedings and consultation concerning creation and permitting of water and wastewater utilities, including transfers of permits and certificates issued by the TNRCC, rate cases, defense of permit violations, and other enforcement proceedings before the TNRCC
- Utility Service Contracts - Preparation and enforcement of utility service contracts
Attorneys in the Administrative section have served the agricultural industry throughout Texas for decades. Examples of the areas in which Jackson Walker attorneys have assisted these clients are listed below:
- Agriculture Product Container Disposal Task Force - Representation in evaluating regulation of hazardous waste residue in grain and other agriculture product containers for permit-exempt regulation
- Animal Health Regulatory Actions - Drafted statutory language and regulation language for Brucellosis and tick regulations
- Wastewater /Air Environmental Regulations - Representation before the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission and Texas Legislature relating to permit-exempt regulation
- Employment Issues - Advice on compliance with state and federal non-discrimination law, employment-at-will, hiring and background checks, disciplinary actions and discharges, and workers' compensation
- Safety / OSHA Compliance for Agricultural Operations - Developed safety programs and policies; participated in OSHA accident investigations and inspections; prosecuted contests of OSHA citations and agricultural exemptions
- Wage and Hour Compliance - Represented clients in Texas Employment Commission audits, unemployment compensation matters, and employee/independent contractor determinations
- Air Quality Enforcement Action - Defense of air emissions enforcement action, involving nuisance odors, brought by the Texas Air Control Board
- Aquaculture Wastewater Discharge Permit - Representation of major user of Edwards Aquifer water in a contested case hearing involving a TNRCC wastewater discharge permit
- Defense of Enforcement Action - Represented a major dairy product cooperative in successfully negotiating significant reduction in proposed administrative penalty and in related actions, including negotiating a compliance directive (the first to be issued since the creation of the TNRCC) authorizing the on-site land application of an industrial solid waste
- Wastewater Discharge Permit - Representation in defense of challenges to wastewater permit amendment on jurisdictional grounds, securing TNRCC staff support for aggressive action in pursuing successful issuance of wastewater permit amendment under high profile circumstances
- Wastewater Discharge Permit Protest - Negotiated an alternate discharge route for a landowner who would have been adversely affected by a proposed wastewater discharge permit
- Endangered Species Regulation - Representation in negotiations with U.S. Fish & Wildlife Department concerning potential endangered species modification and actions necessary to avoid need for an incidental take permit
The firm's tax-related expertise is not limited to administrative and regulatory matters, but includes all major areas of federal, state, and international taxation issues, tax treaty matters, estate and probate, employee benefit and executive compensation, IRS audits, state & local tax, and tax litigation.
- Tax Disputes - Representation of tax payers before state and local taxing authorities, including the Comptroller of Public Accounts and local appraisal review boards, as well as appeals from those determinations before state and federal courts
- State and Local Tax-related Rulemaking - Contact and negotiation with state tax authorities concerning new and amended substantive and procedural rules, including compliance with recently enacted legislation
- Tax Advisory Opinions - Representation of taxpayers before taxing authorities, including the Comptroller of Public Accounts, in seeking the interpretation of particular state or local tax provisions
Jackson Walker attorneys represent financial institutions in all manner of legal matters, including litigation, transactions, and administrative proceedings. The firm's administrative experience in relation to financial institutions includes administrative proceedings, regulatory compliance procedures, defense of enforcement actions, civil money penalties, director and officer liability, assistance on audits, regulatory examinations, and consultation concerning other regulatory issues, including approval for purchase, sale, merger, reorganization, and capitalization.
Jackson Walker's health care industry expertise includes litigation, corporate and financial transactions, contract development and review, and extensive administrative activities. Examples of the firm's health care industry administrative experience are listed below:
Jackson Walker attorneys advise insurance companies on a wide variety of regulatory matters.
- Advising insurance companies on permitted investments under applicable law
- Advising insurance companies on transactions with affiliates and seeking approval of transactions with affiliates
- Representing insurers in form and rate filings
- Advising insurance companies on periodic reporting requirement under insurance laws and assisting insurance companies in preparing reports
- Representing insurance companies in administrative proceedings before the Texas Department of Insurance
- Representing insurers in examinations by the Texas Department of Insurance
Attorneys in Jackson Walker's Administrative section take advantage of the expertise of attorneys in sections throughout the firm. Those attorneys with significant expertise in employment law lend assistance in matters such as those listed below:
- Employment Discrimination - Administrative proceedings concerning claims of discrimination and other violations of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, Age Discrimination in Employment Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, Equal Pay Act, Family and Medical Leave Act, and Texas Commission on Human Rights Act, including individual and class action lawsuits concerning discrimination on the basis of race, national origin, age, sex, and disability in connection with lay-off, transfer, or termination
- Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) - Administrative proceedings and consultation concerning compliance of employee benefit plans with ERISA, including claims for benefits, entitlement to coverage, record retention requirements, preparation and filing of mandated reports with the Department of Labor and Internal Revenue Service, preparation of required notices to plan participants, drafting and implementation of plans, including employee on-the-job injury plans for employers who elect out of the Texas Workers' Compensation system; litigation and consultation regarding COBRA and HIPAA requirements for continuation of group health coverage
- Disabled Employees and Workers' Compensation - Advice and consultation to employers concerning reasonable accommodation under the Americans With Disabilities Act and on-the-job injury claims under Texas Workers' Compensation and defense of employee retaliation claims
- State and Federal Governmental Agencies and Regulatory Issues - Representing health care providers in administrative hearings before state and federal governmental agencies involving agency sanctions, reimbursement, and other regulatory matters; analyzing state and federal regulatory issues affecting health care providers and entities, including Stark, illegal remuneration, corporate practice of medicine and EMTALA.
- Medicare and Medicaid - Advising health care clients on Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement and billing issues; representing clients charged with Medicare or Medicaid fraud and abuse; assisting health care providers in qualifying for Medicare/Medicaid reimbursement; handling reimbursement disputes before the Medicare Provider Reimbursement Review Board, state Medicaid agencies, and in state and federal court
- Transactional Counseling - Providing advice on disclosure issues in private placements and public offerings
- Legislative and Governmental Issues - Representation of client interests on matters pending before the Texas Legislature and various state and federal regulatory agencies; resolving regulatory and legislative issues with the Health Care Financing Administration, and the Office of the Inspector General on behalf of health care providers and health care trade associations
- Regulatory Compliance - Assistance in identifying state, local, and federal regulations with which clients must comply; advice in adopting and implementing appropriate policies and procedures necessary for regulatory compliance; assistance in dealing with state and federal regulatory agencies on compliance issues; representation in administrative appeals and litigation concerning regulatory issues
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