Tag: Law

Uber, Lyft look to kill California law on app-based drivers

FILE - In this Oct. 29, 2019, file photo, Carla Shrive, right, who drives for various gig companies, joined other drivers to support a proposed ballot initiative challenging a recently signed law that makes it harder for companies to label workers as independent contractors, in Sacramento, Calif. A battle between the powerhouses of the so-called gig economy and big labor could become the most expensive ballot measure on Nov. 3, 2020, in California history. Voters are being asked to decide via Proposition 22 whether to create an exemption to a new state law aimed at providing wage and benefit protections to Uber, Lyft and other app-based drivers.

FILE – In this Oct. 29, 2019, file photo, Carla Shrive, right, who drives for various gig companies, joined other drivers to support a proposed ballot initiative challenging a recently signed law that makes it harder for companies to label workers as independent contractors, in Sacramento, Calif. A battle between the powerhouses of the so-called gig economy and big labor could become the most expensive ballot measure on Nov. 3, 2020, in California history. Voters are being asked to decide via Proposition 22 whether to create an exemption to a new state law aimed at providing wage and benefit protections to Uber, Lyft and other app-based drivers.

AP

Californians are being asked decide if Uber, Lyft and other app-based drivers should remain independent contractors or be eligible for the benefits that come with being company employees.

The battle between the powerhouses of the so-called gig economy and labor unions including the International Brotherhood of Teamsters could become the most expensive ballot measure in state history. Voters are weighing whether to create an exemption to a new state law aimed at providing wage and benefit protections to drivers.

Uber and Lyft have fought a losing battle in the Legislature and courts, so now — with help from app-based food delivery companies DoorDash, Postmates and Instacart — they are spending more than $180 million to take their fight directly to voters in the Nov. 3 election.

Early voting in California starts Monday. Uber and Lyft, both headquartered in San Francisco, have said they may leave the state if the measure fails.

The landmark labor law known known as AB5 threatens to upend the app-based business model, which offers great flexibility to drivers who can work whenever they choose. But they forego protections like minimum wage, overtime, health insurance and reimbursement for expenses.

“What’s at stake is the future of labor, the nature of work, how conditions are changing for households amidst the pandemic and recession,” said David McCuan, chair of California’s Sonoma State University political science department.

Labor-friendly Democrats in the Legislature passed the law last year to expand upon a 2018 ruling by the California Supreme Court that limited businesses from classifying workers as independent contractors.

Uber and Lyft have maintained that their drivers meet the criteria to be independent contractors, not employees. They also have argued the law didn’t apply to them because they are technology companies, not transportation companies, and drivers are not a core part of their business.

Attorney General Xavier Becerra took the companies to court, and a San Francisco Superior Court judge ruled the companies are subject to the new employment standards. But that ruling has been put on hold while the companies appeal.

Any ruling could be undone by the outcome of the vote, though further litigation is likely.

If Proposition 22 passes, it would exempt app-based transportation and delivery companies from the labor law and drivers would remain independent contractors exempt from mandates for overtime, sick leave and expense reimbursement.

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Kobe Bryant crash prompts California law on unauthorized photos

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday approved legislation prompted by the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant and eight other people that makes it a crime for first responders to take unauthorized photos of deceased people at the scene of an accident or crime.

Reports surfaced after the Jan. 26 crash that killed Bryant, his daughter Gianna and the others that graphic photos of the victims were being shared.

Eight deputies were accused of taking or sharing graphic photos of the scene, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said then, adding that he had ordered the images deleted. He said the department has a policy against taking and sharing crime scene photos, but it did not apply to accident scenes.

REMEMBERING THE LEGEND: Kobe Bryant would have turned 42 in August

Scene of the hillside where the helicopter carrying Kobe Bryant crashed in Calabasas, California. (Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea, USA TODAY Sports)

The measure that will take effect Jan. 1 makes it a misdemeanor with fines up to $1,000 per offense to take such photos for anything other than an official law enforcement purpose.

Bryant’s widow, Vanessa Bryant, has sued the department over the photos.

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Israel Passes Law To Limit Protests During ‘Virus Emergency’

Israel’s parliament approved a law early Wednesday restricting demonstrations as part of a coronavirus-related state of emergency, that critics say is aimed at silencing protests against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The law, which passed its final reading by 46 votes to 38, was meant to be part of a slew of measures approved by parliament last Friday tightening a second nationwide lockdown.

But debate on the measure was put off, as the government struggled to secure the necessary votes amid an opposition outcry and a protest outside parliament on Tuesday.

The lockdown, which went into force on September 18, shutters the majority of workplaces, markets, places of worship, schools and cultural venues.

It also bans journeys of more than a kilometre (0.6 miles) from home, other than for essential purposes such as buying food and medicine or receiving medical treatment.

Israeli demonstrators, angry at the new government powers to restrict gatherings, protest outside parliament ahead of the vote Israeli demonstrators, angry at the new government powers to restrict gatherings, protest outside parliament ahead of the vote Photo: AFP / Menahem KAHANA

The new law gives the government powers to declare a “special emergency caused by the coronavirus pandemic” for renewable periods of one week.

During that time, the one-kilometre limit on travel will apply to demonstrations, and there will also be restrictions on numbers.

The state of emergency can be declared only during a lockdown.

The government has yet to use those powers, but with more than 237,000 coronavirus infections and 1,528 deaths in a population of nine million, Israel currently has the world’s highest weekly infection rate per capita.

In recent months, weekly protests have been held outside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's residence demanding that he quit over his management of the coronavirus pandemic and his ongoing trial on corruption charges In recent months, weekly protests have been held outside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s residence demanding that he quit over his management of the coronavirus pandemic and his ongoing trial on corruption charges Photo: AFP / Emmanuel DUNAND

Meir Cohen, of main opposition party Yesh Atid-Telem, condemned the new controls on demonstrations as a “slippery slope”.

Yair Golan, of the leftwing Meretz party, warned that the new law “won’t stop the demonstrations.”

“The anger growing in the streets will find its way out,” he said.

In recent months, weekly protests have been held outside Netanyahu’s Jerusalem residence, demanding that he quit over his management of the pandemic and his ongoing trial on corruption charges.

Shortly after the measures were finalised, an opposition group, the Movement for Quality Government in Israel, filed a petition to the supreme court challenging the law’s legality.

“In the darkness of the night, members of the Knesset brought Israel a step closer to crushing democracy, but we won’t let that happen,” the movement said in a statement.

“And don’t let them say the law is crucial to save people from corona,” the statement added, pointing out that demonstrations in vehicles where people drive cars in convoy on the streets — where risk of infection was minimal — were prohibited as well.

“There are no health considerations in this legislation, rather a sweeping prohibition on demonstrating against a prime minister accused of bribery, fraud and a breach of trust,” the movement said.

On Tuesday, Netanyahu

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Exclusive: EU Chair Germany Proposes Adherence to Rule of Law as Key to Getting Bloc’s Cash | World News

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Germany, current president of the European Union, has proposed a scheme that links access to EU money, including the 750 billion euro recovery fund, to respecting the rule of law, a document seen by Reuters showed on Monday.

The proposal will underpin negotiations between the European Parliament and the 27 EU governments, which in July agreed to such a mechanism in principle but left out much detail to avoid a veto from Poland or Hungary, whose nationalist governments stand accused of flouting EU democratic norms.

Warsaw and Budapest are under EU investigation for undermining the independence of the judiciary, media and non-governmental organisations, and both could lose tens of billions of euros in funding if the rule of law mechanism is established.

In the recovery fund alone, excluding the linked long-term EU budget for 2021-27, Poland would be at risk of losing access to 23 billion euros ($26.84 billion) and Hungary to six billion.

“The rule of law requires that all public powers act within the constraints set out by law … under the control of independent and impartial courts,” reads the proposed draft regulation, which needs the approval of the European Parliament.

But the vast majority of EU lawmakers want the link between money and the rule of law to be stronger than agreed in July and the German proposal – sticking closely to the leaders’ summer agreement – is all but certain to disappoint the chamber.

Liberal German EU lawmaker Moritz Korner, who leads the chamber’s work on the matter, said Berlin was “cuddling” with eurosceptic, nationalist rulers in Warsaw and Budapest.

“Without an automatic sanction system, Germany’s proposal fails to defend the rule of law and the correctness of the EU budget spendings,” he told Reuters when asked about the scheme.

According to the German document, punishment for rule of law breaches would include suspending the flow of EU money to capitals seen as breaching democratic checks and balances. It would be decided by a majority vote of EU governments on a recommendation by the EU’s executive European Commission.

This could allow other governments to override opposition from Poland and Hungary.

But those seeking a stronger link argue that a majority of EU governments should be needed to decline, rather than endorse any recommendation by the Commission, to suspend funding for those flouting the rule of law.

That formula would make penalties more likely by leaving governments less room for political horse-trading.

Some have cautioned, however, that seeking too ambitious a solution could backfire, given that Warsaw or Budapest might withdraw their support if the proposal is changed from what they signed up to in July after four days of tortuous talks.

“It is important that all sides stick to the delicate compromise reached. What didn’t find the support of the (leaders) at that time, will certainly not find it now,” said one official working on the matter.

Germany has already called on EU lawmakers to speed up work on approving the bloc’s next

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Coronavirus: Israel passes law to ban mass protests during lockdown

People protest in Jerusalem before an Israeli parliamentary vote on a law that allows ministers to curb mass protests (29 September 2020)

image copyrightEPA

image captionPeople protested outside the Israeli parliament before the law was approved

Israel’s parliament has handed the government the power to ban mass protests during the country’s second nationwide coronavirus lockdown.

Demonstrators will be confined to groups of up to 20 people and must stay within 1km (0.6 miles) of their homes.

The law should have been part of a range of measures passed on Friday.

But the government struggled to get the necessary votes after critics accused it of trying to stifle protests against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

For weeks, thousands of people have gathered outside his official residence in Jerusalem to demand he resign over corruption allegations and his handling of the pandemic. Mr Netanyahu has denied any wrongdoing.

media captionWhat does a second lockdown feel like?

The protests have continued despite a dramatic resurgence of Covid-19.

Israel currently has the world’s highest infection rate per capita, with the daily number of new cases exceeding 8,000 last week despite the second lockdown.

Since the start of the pandemic more than 237,000 cases and 1,528 deaths have been reported in the country, which has a population of nine million.

  • Israel tightens second lockdown amid acrimony

  • Coronavirus: Where are the global hotspots?
  • Anger swells in Israel against ‘king’ Netanyahu

The law approved by the Knesset early on Wednesday gives ministers the power to declare a “special state of emergency” related to the coronavirus pandemic for renewable one-week periods.

During that time, people will not be allowed to go more than 1km from their homes to take part in a protest – a limit that is already applied to journeys for anything other than essential purposes, such as buying food or medicine.

Demonstrators will also be confined to “capsules” of no more than 20 people.

image copyrightReuters
image captionA car park in Haifa has been converted into a ward to treat coronavirus patients

Mr Netanyahu has described the protests against his premiership as “coronavirus incubators” without providing evidence to support the claim.

Protest organisers called the vote on the new powers an “execution ceremony for democracy”.

Yair Golan of the left-wing Meretz party has warned the restrictions “won’t stop the demonstrations”. “The anger growing in the streets will find its way out,” he said.

BBC Middle East correspondent Tom Bateman says tensions have come to the fore over Israel’s democratic versus its religious character; with a heated debate about restrictions on protest and prayer.

A top scientist warned that allowing worship inside synagogues on Yom Kippur – Judaism’s holiest day, which fell on Monday – risked “mass transmission”; while reports have emerged of widespread flouting of the rules in some of Jerusalem’s ultra-Orthodox areas.

Mr Netanyahu also warned on Tuesday it was unlikely that the second lockdown would end in mid-October, following the Jewish festival of Sukkot.

“The numbers [of infected] are climbing, they will rise even more. The lockdown will take no less than a month and

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Israel approves law to curb protests during virus lockdown

Updated


JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel’s parliament on Wednesday passed a law that would allow the government to curtail public protests during the country’s nationwide coronavirus lockdown, a measure that drew fierce opposition a day earlier.

The law allows the government to declare a special week-long state of emergency if the coronavirus spreads out of control. If such a state is declared, the government would be able to limit participation in assemblies, including protests, to 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) from a person’s home, effectively putting a halt to large weekly demonstrations outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s residence.


The Knesset approved the bill 46-38 during a late-night session that stretched into the morning hours.

That measure is widely seen as a bid to squelch protests against Netanyahu, which have drawn thousands each week outside his official residence for the past several months.



They are the largest sustained demonstrations against Netanyahu in nearly a decade, and call on the longtime prime minister to resign while on trial for corruption charges and accuse him of bungling his management of the coronavirus crisis


Netanyahu has said the protests must end due to public health concerns. But protesters say he is using the crisis as a pretext to muzzle them.

Netanyahu is on trial for fraud, breach of trust and accepting bribes in three separate cases. He has denied any wrongdoing, accusing the media and law enforcement of an orchestrated “witch hunt” against him.

Earlier this month, Israel declared its second countrywide lockdown, and tightened restrictions further last week in a bid to rein in one of the world’s most severe coronavirus outbreaks. Schools, malls, restaurants and hundreds of businesses are shut.


The lockdown went into effect on Sept. 18, just before the Jewish New Year, and was initially slated

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Fatal cases of COVID-19 at nursing facilities prompt new California law

With skilled nursing homes hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday signed a law requiring those facilities in California to report disease-related deaths to health authorities within 24 hours during declared emergencies.



a group of people that are standing in the grass: Patients were moved from Riverside's Magnolia Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in April after staff failed to show up. Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed a law requiring the reporting of deaths during health emergencies. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)


© (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
Patients were moved from Riverside’s Magnolia Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in April after staff failed to show up. Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed a law requiring the reporting of deaths during health emergencies. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

The law was written in response to concerns that health agencies were slow to respond to outbreaks in skilled nursing facilities because they did not receive timely information about them.

So far, more than 5,630 residents and staff at skilled nursing facilities in the state have died from COVID-19 — 36% of California’s fatalities from the coronavirus. The percentage “reveals the significant weaknesses in the reporting system currently required by these facilities,” said Assemblyman Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg), who introduced the legislation.

COVID-19 outbreaks have occurred at some 1,164 skilled nursing homes and 379 assisted-living facilities in California, according to the state Department of Public Health. The spread at such facilities is alarming to health officials, who note that the virus is especially deadly for the elderly and for those with underlying medical problems.

Wood’s bill requires that records of deaths be compiled into a weekly report on the department’s website, and that residents of the facilities and their families be notified of COVID-19 cases.

“This data, which will be reported in a manner that protects an individual’s privacy, will help the state receive more timely data, helping us respond much more quickly to the spread of communicable diseases, such as COVID-19, and save lives,” said Wood, who is a dentist.

The measure, AB 2644, also puts into law current Department of Public Health guidance that facilities have a full-time staff member who is trained in infection prevention and control.

In the early weeks after the pandemic was declared in March, much of what the public knew about COVID-19 in nursing homes did not come from public health agencies but from relatives, staff members and facility administrators.

The state was slow to report to the public which skilled nursing facilities were dealing with outbreaks.

The reporting requirements in the new law will also help the state meet its mandate to send data on virus infections to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The measure was supported by groups advocating for the elderly, including the California Commission on Aging.

“This pandemic has highlighted the ongoing problems of poor infection control, understaffing and poor regulation of nursing homes here and across the nation,” Betsy Butler, the commission’s chairwoman, said in a letter to lawmakers, adding that the bill “takes meaningful steps to address these issues.”

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Uber, Lyft Look to Kill California Law on App-Based Drivers | Business News

By BRIAN MELLEY, Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Californians are being asked decide if Uber, Lyft and other app-based drivers should remain independent contractors or be eligible for the benefits that come with being company employees.

The battle between the powerhouses of the so-called gig economy and labor unions including the International Brotherhood of Teamsters could become the most expensive ballot measure in state history. Voters are weighing whether to create an exemption to a new state law aimed at providing wage and benefit protections to drivers.

Uber and Lyft have fought a losing battle in the Legislature and courts, so now — with help from app-based food delivery companies DoorDash, Postmates and Instacart — they are spending more than $180 million to take their fight directly to voters in the Nov. 3 election.

Early voting in California starts Monday. Uber and Lyft, both headquartered in San Francisco, have said they may leave the state if the measure fails.

The landmark labor law known known as AB5 threatens to upend the app-based business model, which offers great flexibility to drivers who can work whenever they choose. But they forego protections like minimum wage, overtime, health insurance and reimbursement for expenses.

“What’s at stake is the future of labor, the nature of work, how conditions are changing for households amidst the pandemic and recession,” said David McCuan, chair of California’s Sonoma State University political science department.

Labor-friendly Democrats in the Legislature passed the law last year to expand upon a 2018 ruling by the California Supreme Court that limited businesses from classifying workers as independent contractors.

Uber and Lyft have maintained that their drivers meet the criteria to be independent contractors, not employees. They also have argued the law didn’t apply to them because they are technology companies, not transportation companies, and drivers are not a core part of their business.

Attorney General Xavier Becerra took the companies to court, and a San Francisco Superior Court judge ruled the companies are subject to the new employment standards. But that ruling has been put on hold while the companies appeal.

Any ruling could be undone by the outcome of the vote, though further litigation is likely.

If Proposition 22 passes, it would exempt app-based transportation and delivery companies from the labor law and drivers would remain independent contractors exempt from mandates for overtime, sick leave and expense reimbursement.

But it also would put in place policies that require those companies to provide “alternative benefits,” including a guaranteed minimum wage and subsidies for health insurance if they average 25 hours of work a week.

Supporters say drivers enjoy the independence and flexibility of the current model.

“If I want to work four hours and say, ‘I’m done,’ I can do that,” said Doug Mead, a Palm Springs retiree who delivers meals for Uber Eats and Postmates and estimates he makes about $24 an hour. “Where is there an employer on the planet where I can do that?”

Opponents say the companies exploit

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