Tag: change

Federal court orders change to mail-in voting while Missouri’s high court affirms law | Law and order

The attorney general’s office told the court that suspending the notarization requirement after thousands of people already have requested ballots could be confusing and grant one group of voters a privilege that others did not have.

The case before the state Supreme Court is an appeal of a decision last month by Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem, who ruled against the plaintiffs. Beetem wrote that the evidence showed that election authorities provided “a safe voting experience” during the August primary and “will continue to do so in the upcoming general election.”

Supreme Court Judge Paul Wilson concurred with the majority. In a separate decision, he said the Legislature could have removed the notarization requirement, but didn’t.

“(T)his Court’s role is to construe the law that was passed, not to lament the laws that were not passed,” Wilson wrote.

Absentee voting began Sept. 22. An estimated 364,000 absentee ballots have been requested so far, compared to the 305,000 requested in 2016.

The decision came as a second case in Cole County went to trial Tuesday in Circuit Judge Daniel Green’s courtroom. The lawsuit, filed by the Washington, D.C.-based American Women advocacy organization, also seeks to ensure that ballots are counted even if mail service delays cause them to be delivered after the polls close.

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Will Italy’s Push For A Cashless Society Change Its Economy Forever?

The coronavirus pandemic has left Italy’s economy in a bad state, with the latest predictions foreseeing a -9% in GDP in 2020. At the same time, the online economy has limited the fall, leading to a +15% in the use of contactless payments and +80% of mobile payments compared to 2019. For the first time, Italy’s historic resistance to electronic transactions might be at a turning point. This is one of the reasons behind the country’s government decision to draft a plan in the direction of a ‘cashless society’, which is also meant to counter undeclared economic activity and tax evasion – a phenomenon that in Italy is worth 12% of the country’s GDP.

Even before the pandemic, Italy was not in good shape: it is at the 24th place out of 27 countries in the EU for number of digital payments, while about 80% of all transactions are still made in cash. Now, COVID-19 has provided a big push in the direction of an enhanced use of electronic money, also because it allows no contact with objects (currently for payments up to €25 ($29) there is no need to insert a pin code) and is therefore perceived as safer. 

While consumptions levels in the country have generally decreased in the first semester of 2020 (-27% in April, now recovering by 0.8% increase in August), at the same time the number of digital payments has boomed, reaching €31.4 billion ($37 billion) with contactless cards and €1.3 billion ($1.5 billion) with smartphone payments, according to the Innovative Payments Observatory at Milan’s technical university Politecnico. In total, the volume of all card transactions in the country is worth €118.3 billion ($139 billion). 

In order to capitalize on these results and push more towards electronic payments, the Italian government is about to implement a series of measures: the first novelty, called ‘cashback’ will allow customers to be refunded of 10% of all payment card transactions, up to a maximum of €1,500 ($1,700) per person every semester and €3,000 ($3,500) a year, until 2022. There is also a ‘supercashback’ prize of €3,000 ($3,500) for 100,000 citizens who will have used e-payments the most. Moreover, starting from January 2021, customers and retailers using electronic money in physical stores will be allowed to participate in a lottery with prizes between €5,000 ($5,900) and €5 million ($5.9 million), for a total of €300 million ($354 million). 

“Sanctions alone cannot lead to a change in behavior, while now the effort is to try to find measures that allow both consumers and retailers to pay with a card”, said Ivano Asaro, director of the Innovative Payments Observatory.

According to a study by the Bank of Italy, the public cost to sustain the use of cash in the country is worth €15 billion ($17 billion), about 1% of GDP. This is why reducing use of paper money is essential in the government’s mind. Part of the strategy is also to

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Can new California law on board diversity really change corporate culture?

The summer was filled with scorching images of racial injustice, and the fury that injustice breeds. Now comes the fall, and with it a yearning for the cooling breeze of potent reform.

From all quarters is heard the righteous demand for diversity, equity and inclusion. This week, California purported to respond on the corporate front.

Gov. Gavin Newsom recently signed into law a dramatic new statute that requires public corporations headquartered in California to put at least one minority on their board of directors by 2021. By 2022, most public boards are required to have at least one-third minority directors. Under this law, minority means either a member of a historically underrepresented racial group, or a gay, lesbian or transgender person.

In some ways, this is a remarkable advance for proponents of diversity in America’s most powerful institutions. Yet in a deeper sense, it is business as usual. Or worse, it is the co-option of the impulse to racial justice by prevailing systems of power and privilege.

What is diversity for?

Corporate law in the United States requires corporate directors to use their powers to pursue profits for shareholders. Profits may not be sacrificed in the interests of workers, consumers, communities or patriotic conscience.

“Cakes and ales,” as an old case puts it, are permitted, but only such as are necessary to make money for shareholders. This is the rule today, whether the issue is corporate diversity, coronavirus-themed advertising or any policy that purports to be socially responsible. In fact, American corporations routinely lay off thousands of workers, destroy local communities and ignore the national interest when profit so commands.

California’s new corporate minority quota comes fast on the heels of the Golden State adopting a gender quota for corporate boards in 2018. When that reform was passed, many scholars doubted the constitutional viability of the command. The Constitution requires “equal protection” under the law, and jurists usually hold that strict hiring quotas violate this standard. Yet only recently have a few cases begun to percolate that challenge the corporate gender quota. Most firms have complied with the new strictures, eagerly identifying women who will further the faithful pursuit of corporate profits.

Proponents of corporate diversity quotas believe that more women directors will improve corporate sensitivity to the needs of employees’ families and children. They hope minority directors will curb corporate abuses that harm poor and disadvantaged communities. They may be right. But if they are right, this will happen only through informal, unspoken compromises at the margin, in the shadow of the law that says shareholders are first — rather than being dealt with explicitly in the boardroom, in the corporate conscience, and in the most important decisions, where shareholders alone are served.

Without reform of our foundational corporate governance law, California’s diversity statutes represent (brace yourself) capitalism’s commodification of diversity, equity and inclusion, and a capture of gender and racial justice impulses in the service of the shareholding class, rather than genuine reform.

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Climate change not a threat to rare wolverine, government officials say

BILLINGS, Mont. — U.S. wildlife officials are withdrawing proposed protections for the snow-loving wolverine after determining the rare and elusive predator is not as threatened by climate change as once thought.

Details on the decision were obtained by The Associated Press in advance of an announcement Thursday.

A federal judge four years ago had blocked an attempt to withdraw protections that were first proposed in 2010, pointing to evidence from government scientists that wolverines were “squarely in the path of climate change.”

But years of additional research suggest the animals’ prevalence is expanding, not contracting, U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials said. And they predict that enough snow will persist at high elevations for wolverines to den in mountain snowfields each spring despite warming temperatures.

“Wolverines have come back down from Canada and they are repopulating these areas in the Lower 48 that they historically occupied,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Justin Shoemaker. “There’s going to be significant areas of snow pack in the spring at the time they would need it and the levels they would need it.”

Wildlife advocates expressed doubts about the rationale for the move and said they are likely to challenge it in court.

“They are putting the wolverine on the path to extinction,” said Andrea Zaccardi with the Center for Biological Diversity.

Wolverines, also known as “mountain devils,” were wiped out across most of the U.S. by the early 1900s following unregulated trapping and poisoning campaigns. They’re slowly clawing their way back in some areas, according to biologists, who no longer consider the relatively few wolverines in the Lower 48 states to be an isolated population. Instead, they are believed to be linked to a much larger population in Canada.

Wildlife officials have previously estimated that 250 to 300 wolverines survive in remote areas of Montana, Wyoming, Idaho and Washington state. The animals in recent years also have been documented in California, Utah, Colorado and Oregon.

A newly released government assessment of the species status does not provide an updated population estimate.

The animals need immense expanses of wild land to survive, with home ranges for adult male wolverines covering as much as 610 square miles, according to a study in central Idaho.

The projection that they’ll have enough snow to den as temperatures warm is based on computer models developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the University of Colorado.

Wildlife officials had previously relied on a study that said snow cover would decline by roughly a third across the U.S. Rocky Mountains by 2059, and by two-thirds by the end the century.

While snow cover is still expected to decline under the latest analysis, researchers looked more closely at two areas — Montana’s Glacier National Park and Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park — and determined they’ll still have enough snow for wolverines to successfully den and breed. That’s believed to hold true for other areas of the Rockies too, officials said.

“As we’ve learned more we’ve have become more

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European Parliament cements position on climate change before haggling by member states

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Union lawmakers have backed a plan to cut greenhouse gases by 60% from 1990 levels by 2030, hoping member states will not try to water the target down during upcoming negotiations.

FILE PHOTO: A general view shows European Council President Charles Michel addressing an extraordinary plenary session of the EU Parliament following an EU leaders summit, in Brussels, Belgium July 23, 2020. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

Results of the vote released on Thursday confirm their preliminary votes earlier this week on a landmark law to make the EU’s climate targets legally binding.

The law, which contains the new EU emissions-cutting goal for 2030, passed by a large majority of 231 votes.

Parliament must now agree the final law with the EU’s 27 member countries, only a few of whom have said they would support a 60% emissions-cutting target. Lawmakers want to avoid countries whittling it away to below the level of emissions cuts proposed by the EU executive of at least 55%.

The EU’s current 2030 target is a 40% emissions cut.

Parliament also supported a proposal to launch an independent scientific council to advise on climate policy – a system already in place in Britain and Sweden – and a carbon budget, setting out the emissions the EU could produce without scuppering its climate commitments.

With climate-related impacts such as more intense heatwaves and wildfires already felt across Europe, and thousands of young people taking to the streets last month to demand tougher action, the EU is under pressure to ramp up its climate policies.

Groups representing investors with 62 trillion euros in assets under management, plus hundreds of businesses and NGOs on Thursday wrote to EU leaders urging them to agree an emissions-cutting target of at least 55% for 2030.

Scientists say this target, which has been proposed by the European Commission, is the minimum effort needed to give the EU a realistic shot at becoming climate neutral by 2050. The Commission wants the new 2030 goal finalised by the end of the year.

However, the climate law will require compromise from member countries. Wealthier states with large renewable energy resources are pushing for deeper emissions cuts, but coal-heavy countries including Poland and Czech Republic fear the economic fallout of tougher targets.

Given its political sensitivity, heads of government will likely decide their position on the 2030 target by unanimity, meaning one country could block it.

Reporting by Kate Abnett, editing by Marine Strauss and Philippa Fletcher

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Courts Shouldn’t Change Election Law Now

Poll workers inspect absentee mail-in ballots in Racine, Wisconsin, Aug. 11.


Sue Dorfman/Zuma Press

Your editorial “Will a ‘Blue Shift’ Swing Wisconsin?” (Sept. 23) notes that state laws are contravened by court decisions in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin that extend deadlines for counting mail-in ballots. “This increases the chances of post-election litigation.” Indeed. They apparently go against Bush v. Gore, which closed out the 2000 election. This controversial case was preceded by Bush v. Palm Beach, which unanimously vacated a recount decision by Florida’s Supreme Court because its constitutional basis was unclear.

In Bush v. Gore, there were two rulings. First, the Supreme Court stopped the recount. “There are constitutional problems with the recount ordered by the Florida Supreme Court that demand a remedy.” Specifically, counting in different counties used different standards, violating the Equal Protection Clause. This ruling was 7-2, Justices David Souter and Stephen Breyer dissenting. This decision is regularly and mistakenly reported as 5-4.

The Supreme Court did indeed rule 5-4—against Justice Breyer’s proposed remedy: an extension of the counting deadline from Dec. 12 to Dec. 18, to allow a constitutionally proper recount (dissenting: Justices Souter and Breyer, John Paul Stevens, Ruth Bader Ginsburg). Dec. 18 was the date for the Electoral College to meet. The recount limit set by law was Dec. 12; it was also the date of the court’s decision. It would be senseless to allow a proper recount without extending the deadline. The court ruled that an extension of the deadline would be a “violation of the Florida Election Code.”

To the Supreme Court: Please rule on the Pennsylvania legislature’s appeal. The rules are much less important than for people to know what they are before the election.

Paul Wonnacott

Potomac, Md.

Mr. Wonnacott was a member of the Council of Economic Advisers 1991-93.

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Valvoline Instant Oil Change Partners With American Cancer Society To Raise Money In The Fight Against Cancer

NEWTON, Mass., Oct. 5, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — During October, participating Valvoline Instant Oil Change SM (VIOC) locations will offer customers the opportunity to help raise much-needed dollars to support American Cancer Society (ACS) and its Road To Recovery program which helps transport cancer patients to potentially life-saving treatment appointments. For an even bigger impact, customers can download a coupon from ValvolineFightsCancer.com and for every coupon redeemed, VIOC will donate an additional five dollars to ACS.

“DON’T PUT IT OFF!” Recent reports show that due to the pandemic, 46% fewer patients were diagnosed with cancer. This means many cancers won’t be discovered until they are in advanced stages when they are more difficult to treat. In support of ACS, VIOC wants to remind everyone that just like maintaining fluids in their vehicle prevents major repairs, getting recommended cancer screenings does the same for their body.

“We are excited for the opportunity to again partner with ACS,” said William Smelley, Vice President of Marketing for Henley Enterprises, VIOC’s largest franchisee. “Thanks to the generosity of the communities we serve, we’ve raised over $126,000 to help this life-changing organization.”

“Driving awareness about screenings is a core part of our work and will help to save more lives by detecting cancer at its earliest stage,” said Jane Barnes, Regional Director, Corporate Relations for ACS.

Find participating VIOC locations at ValvolineFightsCancer.com. For more information about cancer support and treatment, call (800) 227-2345 or visit cancer.org.  

About Valvoline™

Valvoline Inc. (NYSE: VVV) is a leading worldwide marketer and supplier of premium branded lubricants and automotive services, with sales in more than 140 countries. It operates and franchises approximately 1,400 quick-lube locations, and is the No. 2 chain by number of stores in the United States under the Valvoline Instant Oil ChangeSM brand. To learn more, visit www.valvoline.com.

About Henley Enterprises, Inc.
Founded in 1989, Henley Enterprises, Inc. is the largest Valvoline Instant Oil Change franchisee. They operate more than 200 quick-lube service centers in 11 states including: California, Delaware, Florida, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Virginia.

About the American Cancer Society
The American Cancer Society is a global grassroots force of 1.5 million volunteers dedicated to saving lives, celebrating lives, and leading the fight for a world without cancer. From breakthrough research, to free lodging near treatment, a 24/7/365 live helpline, free rides to treatment, and convening powerful activists to create awareness and impact, the Society is the only organization attacking cancer from every angle. For more information go to www.cancer.org.


Valvoline Instant Oil Change           
Cindy Hudson
[email protected]                                                      

American Cancer Society
Kari Dahlstrom
[email protected]
(206) 919.4497

SOURCE Henley Enterprises, Inc.

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Proposed law in Jersey City would change how affordable housing is built

Proposed legislation could change how affordable housing is built in Jersey City for years to come.


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The City Council will introduce an ordinance Wednesday requiring developers of residential projects that have received a use variance or have been permitted to build with increased density or height to set aside 20% of their total units for affordable housing.

Residential developments with 15 or fewer units and projects undertaken by the Jersey City Housing Authority would be exempt from the affordable housing requirement, under the ordinance. Also, projects impacted by rezoning because of a redevelopment master plan update or amendment will also be exempt.

Mayor Steve Fulop said the ordinance will take construction in the city to the next level by forcing developers to include more affordable housing in their projects.

“While our administration has prioritized affordable housing growth for Jersey City, it takes time to construct the new housing, and in many ways, we are trying to make up for the lack of a policy focus for decades before our administration,” Fulop said in a statement.

City Council President Joyce Watterman, who is sponsoring the ordinance with the Fulop administration, said the legislation simply means more affordable housing for city residents.

“Everyone, regardless of income or age, deserves an affordable and safe place to live, and this ordinance looks to protect our most vulnerable populations by requiring developers to incorporate affordable housing going forward,” Watterman said in a statement.

“Whatever affordable housing we can increase on is a plus for the whole city. There is a lot of people who need a place to live,” she added.

More than a third of Jersey City households are defined as “cost-burdened,” meaning they use more than 30% of their income to pay for housing, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Households with a combined annual income of no more than 80 percent of the city’s median income are eligible for affordable units. In Jersey City, the median income is $65,923. A household making less than $52,738 qualifies for affordable housing.

Some projects may forgo a portion of the on-site affordable housing requirement if they build affordable units off site, buy out their affordable housing obligation, and include community contributions like a school or recreational center.

The buyout provision would allow developers to pay the city between $25,000 and $100,000 per unit — money that would then go into Jersey City’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund. Those payments would increase by 2% each year.

However, all projects impacted by the proposed legislation would be required to make 5% of their on-site units affordable regardless of how many affordable units are built off-site, whether they use the buyout provision, or include community contributions.

But Councilman At Large Rolando Lavarro, who co-chaired an inclusionary zoning committee with Watterman, said he wants his council colleagues to reject the proposal and resume discussions on the buyout provision. He said the plan is a “developer’s dream.”

“It does nothing to address the affordable housing crises

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Premier League prepared to lobby IFAB for handball law change following furious criticism over decisions

The Premier League is considering lobbying IFAB, football’s international lawmakers, for a change in the handball law after Tottenham’s Eric Dier was penalised against Newcastle.

a man playing a game of football

© Provided by Evening Standard

Top-flight referees this week agreed to take a more lenient approach to interpreting the new handball law following a succession of penalties and widespread condemnation at a number of the decisions.

The biggest outcry came after Dier conceded a stoppage-time penalty in last weekend’s 1-1 draw with Newcastle, when the ball was headed into his arm at close quarters as he challenged Andy Carroll in the air.

Despite top-flight shareholders agreeing on Tuesday that referees should show more subjectivity going forward, the decision against Dier would still stand because the ball struck his arm when it was above the shoulder, which is automatically considered a penalty under the letter of the law.

Dier and Newcastle boss Steve Bruce are among those to have condemned the law in the wake of the incident, and the Premier League and PGMOL both believe a rule change is now needed.

Any move from the Premier League to change the handball law would need to be submitted to IFAB by the end of October in order to be considered, but alterations would only apply from next season.

Conversations between the Premier League and IFAB are currently ongoing and if necessary the top-flight is prepared to formally lobby for a change in the law.

The upturn in handballs this season has been blamed on a new interpretation of the law which punishes a defender for making their body “unnaturally bigger” and has seen penalties awarded if the ball strikes an arm when it is outside a player’s “body line”.

From this weekend, referees will be invited to consider whether a defender’s arm is in an “expected position”, rather than looking for “unnatural” body shapes.

As well as arm position, proximity to the ball will also be a key factor in the changes, which have been approved by IFAB.

For example, the penalty awarded against Manchester United’s Victor Lindelof against Crystal Palace would no longer apply because his arm was in an “expected position”, albeit outside his body-line.

Similarly, the decision against Palace’s Joel Ward against Everton would not have been awarded going forward.

The decision against Spurs defender Matt Doherty in the 5-2 win at Southampton would also have likely been overturned going forward and the Republic of Ireland international gave his backing to the more lenient approach.

“I welcome the approach,” Doherty said. “I don’t think it’s the referees fault, it’s more the law that has been put in place.

“I am sure when they look at the monitor they are probably sick they have to give some of these penalties when they know they are just not penalties.

“You said Eric’s would still be a penalty, I don’t even know how that can still be a penalty when he wasn’t even looking and his hands are in a natural position because he is jumping

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