Many new, unusual state laws will take effect when the ball drops at midnight and millions of Americans ring in the New Year, including one that will limit the number of cats in a household. Also: a fine of $1,000 on anyone who pops a wheelie on a motorcycle while speeding; Illinois is also imposing a law cracking down on those who posses, sell or distribute shark fins; in Concord, Mass., plastic bottles will be considered contraband; it will no longer be illegal to flash your headlights in Florida to warn drivers about a speeding trap set by police; etc.Read more »
No grocery store would hire a clerk who insisted on adding up a customer's purchases with an ancient abacus. Yet a similarly archaic standard is about to be inflicted on the nation's taxpayers and consumers. Current farm programs—which consist of massive subsides, price supports and various marketing restrictions—were enacted in 2008 and expire on Dec. 31. That should be cause for rejoicing, except that the system is rigged against consumers and taxpayers.Read more »
For years, China’s net nannies turned the other cheek to a loophole in their vast online censorship apparatus. Anyone who wanted access to blocked overseas websites such as Twitter, Facebook, and more recently, the New York Times, need only download foreign software called a virtual private network (VPN) to circumvent the Great Firewall. But in recent weeks, even these tools have begun to falter, frustrating tech-savvy Chinese and foreign businesspeople who now struggle to access Internet sites as innocuous as gmail.com and imdb.com.Read more »
The 10 Worst Regulations of 2012
During 2012, virtually every aspect of American life, from caloric intake to dishwasher efficiency, was subjected to government meddling.
Most of these rules increase the cost of living, others hinder job creation, and many erode freedom. Not all regulations are unwarranted, of course, but increasingly, the rules imposed by the government have less to do with health and safety and more to do with whether government or individuals get to make basic pocketbook and lifestyle decisions that affect them. And it is not just the regulators who are to blame.
The EPA has changed its policy on corn-ethanol blends, and states may soon change their formula 15 percent ethanol. The problem with that? There are fears might void your warranty or damage your car. Also, from the article:
"The only group that really seems to like the new rule is the ethanol lobby.
"'We've force fed a fuel into every American's car that benefits a few thousand corn farmers and ethanol refiners at the expense of virtually every other American,' EWG's vice president of governmental affairs, Scott Faber, told Mother Jones.Read more »
With Congress spending all its time trying to avert the fiscal cliff, a slew of other legislative matters are going unattended. One of them is the agriculture bill which, if not addressed, could lead to a doubling of the price of milk early next year. It works like this: In order to keep dairy farmers in businesses, the government agrees to buy milk and other products if the price gets too low. The current agriculture bill has a formula that means the government steps in if the price of milk were to drop by roughly half from its current national average of about $3.65 a gallon.Read more »
Casa Nueva long ago settled on a system of pooling all tips from a given pay period and dividing them equally between all employees based on how many hours they worked that pay period. “What we truly believed in was that everybody, from the dishwasher, the prep cook, the cooks, the servers, provided the customer’s meal, so they should share in the tips,” said 25-year worker-owner Nancie Buerkel. Problem is, back in February, the Department of Labor issued “Field Assistance Bulletin No.Read more »
An attorney for a group of food truck and push cart vendors has written members of the Birmingham City Council to say the vendors have “serious concerns” about a proposed mobile food ordinance that they say is “extraordinarily restrictive” and, if passed as written, could drive them out of downtown. “Our organization isn’t opposed to regulation, but the complexity of this ordinance is kind of astounding to me,” David Donaldson, the attorney representing the mobile vendors, said today.Read more »
When the state of Colorado decides to trample on your dreams, you must be patient while awaiting justice. The taxi drivers who formed Mile High Cab, for example, have waited more than four years since they first asked the state for permission to serve metro Denver. Now their saga, in its final act, rests with the state Supreme Court. The court is expected to rule soon — perhaps next month — on Mile High's challenge to a bureaucratic travesty, two years after the Public Utilities Commission rejected the company's application to operate for fear that it would spark "destructive competition."Read more »
The problem, Assemblyman John F. McKeon said, is utility poles just aren't as sturdy as they could be. It's potentially making outages worse than necessary and putting line workers in danger, he said. But he's not quite sure how much his proposed bill to to require sturdier poles would ultimately cost utility companies, or how much of a difference it would make after a major storm — like Sandy or Irene. He had ballpark estimates, but not specific figures.Read more »
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