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The IRS recently issued a private letter ruling, PLR 201310043 (released on March 8, 2013), of interest to Section 529 plans and their program managers. The ruling relates to the tax treatment of incentive contributions to 529 accounts and was issued in response to a ruling request by a financial services complex described as including a bank and broker.
A recent ruling in the American Airlines bankruptcy case enforcing an automatic acceleration upon bankruptcy provision serves as a reminder that the enforceability of so-called ipso facto provisions in debt instruments remains an unsettled, forum-dependent question. 

SEC Comforts Appointed Board Members of Municipal Issuers on Valentine's Day

February 15, 2013 | Blog | By Leonard Weiser-Varon

On February 14, 2013, SEC Chairman Elisse Walter at long last indicated, in testimony for the Senate Banking Committee, that the SEC’s final regulations regarding “municipal advisors”
Municipal securities regulators this week provided previews of upcoming regulatory action that suggest that one issue of concern to Section 529 college savings programs will fade away while another one may appear on the horizon.  

MSRB Proposes Rule G-47 on Time of Trade Disclosure Obligations

February 13, 2013 | Blog | By Leonard Weiser-Varon

MSRB Rule G-17 has been interpreted by the MSRB as requiring a broker or dealer (“broker”) to  disclose to its customer, at or prior to the time of trade of a municipal security, all material information about the transaction known by the broker, as well as material information about the security that is reasonably accessible to the market. 

"28% Cap" Unlikely to Trigger Wave of Municipal Bond Tax Calls

January 8, 2013 | Blog | By Leonard Weiser-Varon

Market commenters have suggested that billions of dollars in municipal bonds may be subject to par redemptions if the much-discussed “28% cap” on the value of certain federal income tax deductions or exclusions is enacted and if the capped items include municipal bond interest.

Michigan Emergency Manager Bill Signed Into Law

January 2, 2013 | Blog | By Leonard Weiser-Varon, William Kannel, Adrienne K. Walker

This is a follow up to our recent blog post discussing then pending Michigan legislation known as the “Local Financial Stability and Choice Act” or Public Act 436 (the “Financial Stability Act”), which will replace Public Act 72 and overhaul Michigan’s emergency manager law.

Detroit's "Fiscal Cliff" and Michigan's Response

December 13, 2012 | Blog | By Leonard Weiser-Varon, William Kannel, Adrienne K. Walker

Detroit’s increasingly distressed financial condition has created a dynamic and rapidly evolving situation where the potential of a Chapter 9 filing appears to be the subject of renewed discussion and legislative attention. 

Conflicts Disclosure and Acknowledgments in MSRB Rule G-17 Disclosure Letters

October 3, 2012 | Blog | By Leonard Weiser-Varon, Charles Carey

Since August 2, 2012, investment banking firms retained to act as underwriters on municipal finance transactions have been required to provide written disclosure to issuers concerning the relationship between issuers and underwriters.

Special Revenue Decision Posted in Jefferson County Bankruptcy Case

June 29, 2012 | Blog | By Leonard Weiser-Varon

Please find today’s special revenue decision in the Jefferson County bankruptcy case.

Court Dismisses Public Pension Fund's Bankruptcy Case

June 13, 2012 | Blog | By Leonard Weiser-Varon, William Kannel, Eric Blythe

In our May 24 entry on this topic, the Northern Mariana Islands Retirement Fund (the “Fund”) was battling numerous challenges to its Chapter 11 eligibility.
The IRS is planning on sending out letters (“Letters”) over the next few months to several hundred issuers who have experienced covenant or payment defaults from 2007 to the present.

First Bankruptcy Filed by a Public Pension Fund

May 24, 2012 | Blog | By Leonard Weiser-Varon, William Kannel, Eric Blythe

On April 17, 2012, the Northern Mariana Islands Retirement Fund (the “Fund”) became the first United States public pension fund to seek formal bankruptcy protection.

IRS Announces Closing Agreement Process for At-Risk Student Loan Bonds

March 21, 2012 | Blog | By Leonard Weiser-Varon

The IRS has announced the procedures, and settlement cost methodology, for issuers seeking to preserve the tax-exemption of those student loan bonds that are at risk of being declared taxable due to the issuer's attempted compliance with arbitrage restrictions using a loan-swapping technique that the IRS has determined is ineffective.

SEC Issues Investor Bulletin Regarding Municipal Bonds

March 21, 2012 | Blog | By Leonard Weiser-Varon, Charles Carey

While the Investor Bulletin is fairly basic and addressed primarily to investors generally, the list of some of the risks of investing in municipal bonds included in the Bulletin may be helpful to issuers and underwriters when preparing or reviewing disclosure documents. 
On March 19, the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations released a National Examination Risk Alert reporting on its examinations of broker-dealers for compliance with municipal bond underwriter due diligence obligations under the SEC’s prior interpretive releases and under SEC Rule 15c2-12.

MSRB Proposes Limits on Underwriter Consents to Indenture Amendments

February 8, 2012 | Blog | By Leonard Weiser-Varon

The MSRB has put out for comment a proposed interpretive notice designed to eliminate or reduce instances in which underwriters of new bonds issued under a parity indenture or bond resolution consent to amendments to such instrument on the issuance date of the new bonds.
The Massachusetts Attorney General recently promulgated regulations authorizing remote participation in meetings subject to the Open Meeting Law under certain prescribed circumstances.
Following the advent of Build America Bonds (BABs) in 2009 and securities law rulemaking that has resulted in the posting of virtually instantaneous trading data on the EMMA website ( hosted by the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB)

Harrisburg Chapter 9 Status Conference Highlights Eligibility Issues

October 17, 2011 | Blog | By Leonard Weiser-Varon, William Kannel

The Bankruptcy Court held a status conference in the Harrisburg Chapter 9 earlier today. The principal purpose of the hearing was for the court to set a schedule for objections to Harrisburg’s chapter 9 eligibility. 
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