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Normally December is a calm month for OSHA and Labor Lawyers, but not this year! First, a few OSHA subjects, and then a summary of what we country boys call “a slew” of new NLRB and State Law Developments. Let's start with another short delay in submission of Electronic Injury data, our hopefully soon confirmed Assistant Secretary of Labor - OSHA and top Labor Department Lawyer, and expectations for next.

I don't want to count my chickens before they hatch, but this week the mining industry received a late Christmas present in the form of proposed secured funding for FY 2014 state grants program. You may recall my brief mention of MSHA's proposal to de-fund the state grants program and shift the allocated funds to the enforcement budget in my prior posts - "Tri-State Meeting is a Success" and "It's Not About Safety, It's About Compliance". Essentially, the state grants program provides funding to states (typically government agencies and non-profits) to provide training to miners in that state. From my experience, there is a huge benefit to mine safety based on a focus on and committment to training, and the state grants program is a big part of that in many states.

In case you saw headlines today, such as the one in the Wall Street Journal pasted below, we have attached the Treasury statement following the WSJ blurb.

Former Clinton official Webb Hubbell summed it up well…

There is an old adage in politics and the law that “Bad Facts, Lead to Bad Law.” In law, a horrible fact situation full of sympathy for one side can lead to a Judge or a jury making a poor decision or bad precedent.

In politics a bad or terrible tragedy may lead to sympathetic legislators making a law that seems to redress one inequity, but it has terrible consequences for society.

Recently, Congressional Democrats introduced the Robert C. Byrd Mine Safety Protection Act of 2013, which if enacted would increase the authority of MSHA to regulate the mining industry. Yes, you read that right, increase MSHA's authority, not decrease. You may be thinking to yourself by now, "How is this possible?!?"

Still reacting to the tragic disaster at Upper Big Branch in 2010, MSHA has convinced some of our Representatives that it needs more ...

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