Grind for January 16th
“Snow is diamonds for a faery’s feet; blithely and bonnily she trips along, her lips a-carol with a merry song, and in her eyes the meaning…Life is sweet!” – Ruby Archer
New laws worth knowing for 2020
With every new year comes a swath of new laws. Below are six new laws affecting gun ownership, marijuana, cash bail, gig workers, medical bills, and Internet privacy:
1. Red flag law
The so-called “red flag law” allows judges in Colorado, Hawaii, and Nevada to order the removal of guns from any individual deemed “dangerous” to themselves or others.
Several jurisdictions have declared themselves “Second Amendment sanctuaries” and are ignoring the law.
Starting in January, it will be legal to use marijuana recreationally in the state of Illinois. To mark the change, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker (D) pardoned more than 11,000 misdemeanor convictions for cannabis possession.
3. Criminal justice overhaul
Moving into the new year, the state of New York is severely limiting cash bail and requiring district attorneys to provide evidence to defendants much sooner.
The law overturns New York’s “blindfold law,” which allowed prosecutors to withhold evidence from defendants until right before a trial. The new law also prohibits courts from setting bail for misdemeanor charges and nonviolent felonies.
Critics say the new rules will benefit defendants.
Starting this year, a new law in California protects contract and gig workers by reclassifying them as “employees” – meaning their employers must offer benefits.
Companies like Uber are already searching for ways to avoid the law.
A new law in Texas seeks to prevent surprise medical bills by creating an arbitration process for insurers and providers to negotiate fair prices in cases where patients receive out-of-network care.
6. Internet privacy
As I mentioned last month, the state of California is implementing the nation’s strongest data privacy law.
The law requires businesses to provide consumers with two methods to ask about data collection, delete data if requested, and create options for consumers to opt out of having their data sold.
The law allows consumers to make requests about their data up to twice per year and to sue companies if personal data is stolen during a breach.
Americans can expect fewer robo-calls in 2020
President Trump this week signed a bill that ups the punishment for companies that make unsolicited robotic phone calls.
“This historic legislation will provide American consumers with even greater protection against annoying unsolicited robocalls,” said the White House.
“American families deserve control over their communications, and this legislation will update our laws and regulations to stiffen penalties, increase transparency, and enhance government collaboration to stop unwanted solicitation.”
The Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act (TRACED) follows a nationwide push to cut down on the excessive number of robocalls plaguing American citizens.
The average American received 15 robocalls last month – that’s a total of 5 billion calls.
With support from the telecom industry, TRACED imposes fines of up to $10,000 per call for criminal robocall violations and requires phone companies to do more to identify spam calls.
The law outlines standard to create a “digital fingerprint for each phone call,” explains FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. “This framework will be critical in informing consumers whether the Caller ID information they see is real or spoofed. And it can be used to assist with blocking spoofed calls.”
Senator John Thune (R-SD), who co-sponsored the bill with Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ), describes TRACED as a “significant win for consumers in every corner of the country, and it finally and officially puts illegal robocallers on notice.”
Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) described the bill as a “holiday gift on everyone’s shopping list: stopping the plague of robocalls.”
In June, the FCC voted to give wireless carriers the ability to automatically block unwanted robocalls. In August, the attorneys general from all 50 states signed a voluntary agreement to punish illegal robocallers.
GOOD TO THE LAST DROP:
Did you know… If you blowtorch Pepto-Bismol, you would get a hunk of metal.