The British island territory of Bermuda legalized same-sex marriage on Friday after a long legal battle. Two men, Bermudian Winston Godwin and his Canadian partner, Greg DeRoche, took their case to the Supreme Court after Bermuda’s Registrar-General declined their application to marry on the island. A crowded courtroom broke into applause when the judge ruled in in their favor, The Royal Gazette reported.
The couple contended that Bermuda’s Human Rights Act protected their right to marry. “The ruling today is more than me and pieces of paper; it’s more than any of that, it is what it means for Bermuda moving forward,” Godwin said. This is a big step in the right direction, he continued, with more to be done on LGBT issues. “People are going to have their opinions about this and that is OK,” said Godwin. “I am not here to change people’s opinions or how they think. I just want them to respect me and my relationship and my marriage that will happen here.”
The law goes into effect immediately. Godwin said he and DeRoche will resubmit their marriage application to the Registrar-General “within days.” The common law definition of marriage as the voluntary union for life of one man and one woman, and its reflection in existing matrimonial law “are inconsistent with the provisions of the Human Rights Act as they constitute deliberate different treatment on the basis of sexual orientation,” Judge Charles-Etta Simmons said in her ruling. “In so doing the common law discriminates against same-sex couples by excluding them from marriage and more broadly speaking the institution of marriage,” she said. “On the facts of this case the applicants were discriminated against on the basis of their sexual orientation when the Registrar refused to process their notice of intended marriage.”
The pro-LGBT group Bermuda Rainbow Alliance praised the judge’s decision, calling the ruling a victory for “a brave young couple willing to fight for their love” and “all same-gender loving people in Bermuda.” “Today, history has been made and love has won,” the group said in a statement. The pro-marriage group Preserve Marriage in Bermuda criticized the ruling. “Today a single judge, Justice Charles-Etta Simmons, of the Supreme Court of Bermuda has decided to redefine the institution of marriage,” the marriage group said in a statement. “By imposing this judgment, the court has ruled against many in the community of Bermuda.” Bermuda voters overwhelmingly rejected same-sex “marriage” in a referendum last June 69 percent to 31 percent. The vote was null, however, since some three percent less than the required 50 percent of registered voters took part in the referendum.
Read More : lifesitenews.com/news/bermudas-supreme-court-forces-gay-marriage-into-law
The ghosts of dead economists and a century-old decision that many consider to be judicial activism at its worst hovered over the U.S. Supreme Court today as the justices heard arguments about whether a New York law prohibiting surcharges for credit-card purchases is unconstitutional. Justice Stephen Breyer did a lot of the talking in Expressions Hair Design v. Schneiderman, repeatedly expressing concern that by dragging constitutional questions into a fight over a state pricing law the court might open the door to a new wave of judicial interference in economic regulations. The court most famously did so with its 1905 decision Lochner v. N.Y., striking down a New York law limiting bakers to a 60-hour work week as violation of the 14th Amendment liberty of contract. Lochner ultimately wilted before the wave of state and federal economic regulations that accelerated in the New Deal and generations of law students have learned to regard it as an anomaly, although libertarians have tried to rehabilitate it in recent years.
“We are diving headlong into an area called price regulation,” Breyer said at one point. “The word I fear begins with an L and ends with an R; it’s called Lochner.” The merchants challenging New York’s law say it prohibits them from describing a higher price for credit-card purchases as a “surcharge,” even though they can offer a discount for cash. The two are identical in economic terms, but New York defends its law as reflecting the irrational belief of some consumers that a discount is preferable to a surcharge. Credit-card companies, not surprisingly, support the ban on “surcharges.” Justice Elena Kagan seemed to agree with New York, saying the law doesn’t implicate freedom of speech in any way. The law prohibits the practice of charging a higher price for credit, but not what merchants call it.
“I can imagine ways in which you might say that this is restricting speech, but that’s not it,” Kagan said. The enforcement history in New York suggests something more, however. Investigators for state and local prosecutors conducted sweeps in which they called about pricing and arrested merchants when they slipped up and failed to call a discount for cash by its proper name. One gas station operator was busted because his clerk described a nickel discount for cash as “paying more” for credit.
Read More : forbes.com/sites/danielfisher/2017/01/10/supreme-court-puzzles-over-speech-implications-of-ny-law-banning-surcharges-for-credit/#618c78f226d6
Dar es Salaam — The High Court (Land Division) has dismissed an application by Chadema chairman Freeman Mbowe in which he opposed being removed from a city centre NHC building. Judge Sivangilwa Mwangesi reached the decision yesterday after he was satisfied that Mr Mbowe was legally evicted. However, Mr Mbowe’s advocate Peter Kibatala was not happy with the decision and expressed intention to appeal at the Court of Appeal.
According to him, they already filed a notice of appeal at the Land Division seeking to be provided with judgment and proceeding so as to file revision at the High Court. Along with the notice of appeal, Mr Kibatala also said that they have filed an application for injunction restraining NHC and its auctioneers not to sell the properties pending determination of the revision by the Court of Appeal. On September 1, National Housing Corporation (NHC) auctioneers attached properties in the building that houses popular Bilicanas Club and Free Media Limited, the publisher of Tanzania Daima newspaper, both owned by Mr Mbowe following an occupancy dispute between the two sides. Mr Mbowe through his advocate, Mr Kibatala, filed the application at the Court seeking among other things, the court to order NHC and Foster Auctioneers and General Traders to restore him to the property.
According to Mr Kibatala, his client was illegally evicted from the building because the auctioneer sent by NHC was not registered and hence not recognised by the Registrar of the Court. Mr Kibatala further submitted that the law was not followed during the eviction because his client was not served with a notice.
I’m walking down the street the other day somewhere in California, and I stumble across an Audi A4 with an Illinois license plate that has black writing on it. Now, I can’t be sure of much in this fast-changing planet we call home, but I can be sure of this: Illinois license plates have red writing, typically stamped directly on top of Abraham Lincoln’s nose. The license plate also has an unusual format that ends with the letters “WT.” What does WT stand for? Work Truck? Wiggle Taxonomy? Waving Tutu? Wild Turkey? This situation irked me enough that I decided to take a picture of it. Then I did what any normal, rational person would do when they see something that makes them curious: I forgot about it for like six months. So last month I’m going through my pictures, and I notice the Wiggle Taxonomy license plate among them. And at that moment, I committed to solving the mystery once and for all by doing what any serious, professional, highly qualified journalist would do: I began poring over Illinois state statutes, stopping only for lunch, dinner, and the occasional break for rocking out to Jimmy Eat World songs with my stuffed capybara.
No, I’m just kidding. What I actually did was, I Googled it. I do have a stuffed capybara, though. Here’s what I learned: that mysterious “WT” code on the license plate I saw? It does not stand for Wild Turkey, or Whirling Taliban, or Walking Turtles. It stands for Window Tint. This is a special license plate for window tint.
What exactly is a special license plate for window tint? I will let the Illinois state statute do the talking, as it very clearly states in Section 12, Row 6, Seats 3 and 4, on the third base side:
A person owning and operating a motor vehicle, who is determined by a physician licensed to practice medicine and is afflicted with or suffers from medical disease such as systemic or discoid lupus erythematosus, disseminated superficial actinic porokeratosis or albinism, which would require that person to be shielded from the direct rays of the sun is entitled to operate said vehicle with tinted windows. This exception also applies to a vehicle used in transporting a person when the person resides at the same address as the registered owner and the person is afflicted with or suffering from a qualifying medical condition”. However, no exemption from the requirements of subsection (a-5) shall be granted for any condition, such as light sensitivity, for which protection from the direct rays of the sun can be adequately obtained by the use of sunglasses or other eye protective devices.
For those of you who do not wish to spend your time on Jalopnik reading statutes from a place where the local prison population primarily consists of former governors, allow me to paraphrase: the window tint license plate is issued to people who have a medical condition that requires them to be shielded from the direct rays of the sun. However, the statute very clearly says that the plate is not for people who have simple “light sensitivity,” which can be solved with “the use of sunglasses or other eye protective devices.” I imagine this is much in the same way that a disabled license plate is not for people who have minor disabilities, such as too much back hair, or bad breath, or they’re 28 years old and they have a capybara stuffed animal. And indeed, the Audi I saw with the Window Tint license plates had extremely tinted windows; windows so tinted that they may have actually been painted metal. This would not surprise me, as I suspect Audi charges more for “transparent windows,” as part of the same $2,400 Convenience Package that includes round tires.
Now, for those of you reading this from outside North America, you might be wondering why any of this exists: window tint laws. Exceptions to window tint laws. License plates with Abraham Lincoln’s face on them. Well, the answer is that window tint is a very divisive issue here in this part of the world. This is because police officers believe heavily tinted windows to be a huge safety hazard, in the sense that they greatly diminish visibility, and also tinted windows make it hard for an officer to see how many people are in a vehicle, or whether not they’re reaching for a weapon during a traffic stop. On the flip side of the argument, a large contingent of 19-year-olds support tinted windows because “they look cool.” Personally, I’m not a big fan of window tint on my own vehicles, because it reduces my visibility at night. I am, however, for Illinois’ special license plate, because I believe it’s an interesting way to accommodate a disability. In fact, I think the program should expand. For example: I would qualify for an “RC” license plate, which of course would alert officers to the fact that the driver might be Rocking out to Jimmy Eat World with a stuffed Capybara.
Read More : Jalopnik.com/illinois-issues-a-special-license-plate-for-legal-windo-1771775231
In Oregon, authorities are planning to implement a new rule that would cap individual serving sizes of infused edibles at 5 mg THC, or half that of Washington and Colorado. Currently there are no potency limits for Oregon edibles, though they’re only available to state-registered medical patients. The measure is scheduled to go into effect on Oct. 1. Regulators explain the change not as an attack on the industry but as a push to curb the horror stories of young children coming into emergency rooms after mistakenly ingesting edibles. The new limits, they say, are actually aimed at helping the new market succeed. “Everybody’s aware that all eyes are on us,” said André Ourso, manager of the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program. As the statewide experiment unfolds, it’s no secret U.S. and international governments are watching keenly. “It’s a frontier,” Ourso said. “It really is something new, and I think everybody wants to do it right and not make mistakes going forward.” Oregon’s new rule would limit retail edibles to 5 mg THC per serving for things like cookies and chocolates. An entire package could contain no more than 50 mg. Medical products would have higher limits, up to 100 mg per package. While Colorado and Washington have had years of regulatory opportunities, “this is pretty much our first real regulatory crack at rulemaking,” Ourso explained. “Setting lower limits, it allows us to look at things in a more cautious public health manner.” He stressed that the lower limits don’t mean Oregon regulators are opposed to cannabis. “We don’t want to decimate an entire industry; that’s not our goal,” he said. “We want to have a well-regulated industry, just like any other.” The proposal is winning hesitant buy-in from some producers and dispensary operators. While business owners aren’t necessarily in favor of the proposed rules, they said, they understand the unique position legal cannabis still occupies. “I think obviously they’re coming from a public safety standpoint, and we get it,” said Oregon cannabis entrepreneur Brent Kenyon, founder of Southern Oregon Alternative Medicine dispensaries and maker of the 400-mg-THC Chocowanna Bar, which would be prohibited under the new state rule. A big piece of the industry’s buy-in seems to come from the sense that authorities in Oregon are genuinely on board with cannabis. When there’s a rub, Kenyon said, he’s seen the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, which also regulates cannabis, revise rules in response to feedback from both the industry and the public. “They’ve done a great job of reaching out to everyone,” Kenyon said. “The state of Oregon doesn’t want to squish commerce.” If trust can go a long way in getting stakeholders on the same page, though, a misunderstanding can make for disaster. In Colorado, a recent legislative push to limit the potency of all cannabis products drew the ire of many in the industry. Michael Elliot, executive director of the Denver-ased Marijuana Industry Group, described the measure in a Denver Post op-ed as “an attempt to make pot illegal.” The proposal would’ve capped THC in all cannabis and cannabis products — including concentrates — at 15 percent. That’s lower than the current state average of 17.1 percent THC for raw flower, and it’s drastically below the average concentrate potency of 62.1 percent. The Colorado lawmaker who introduced the legislation, Rep. Kathleen Conti (R-Littleton), said in an interview that the proposal came in response to a lack of scientific research into the safety of high-THC cannabis. She also said it’s her opinion that too many in Colorado have adopted the opinion that “if it’s legal, it can’t hurt you.”
“We don’t know that to be true,” she said.
Critics, however, said the ignorance cut both ways. The manner in which the bill was written, they argued, suggested Conti and her staff didn’t adequately understand cannabis. “I don’t think a lot of thought was put into the proposals,” Mark Slaugh, executive director of the Cannabis Business Alliance, told the Denver Post as the measure was being considered. “This bill threatens to wipe out most infused product manufacturers, and its language is unclear what to do with edibles.” Growers would have to destroy common strains with higher THC levels, they complained, and even carefully cultivated cannabis could come in above the cap, depending on growing conditions. And ultimately if consumers couldn’t obtain their favorite products legally, critics warned, they’d likely turn to the black market. The 15-percent limit barely fell short in committee, by a 6–5 vote, but lawmakers have promised to return to the issue next year. In the meantime, both sides are gearing up to battle over a bill introduced last week, HB 1436, that would prohibit infused edibles that “resemble the form of a human, animal, or fruit” because they are “shaped in a manner to entice a child.”
Regulation or Education?
There are good reasons to question caps on cannabis potency. But it’s also fair to say that edibles earn cannabis a lot of bad press when people, whether children or just rookie consumers, accidentally eat too much. New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd is an infamous example; she ate a whole cannabis-infused candy bar without realizing it contained 16 servings. Even officials who favor cannabis have started to rethink edibles. In Aspen, Colo., Sheriff Joe DiSalvo admits he’s struggling with how to regulate products like cookies and candy, which he worries might appeal to kids. County commissioners have asked DiSalvo to provide a recommendation as to whether Aspen should ban all edibles except for those in pill form, a decision the sheriff said he’s still considering. “It goes back to, for me, what is the real point of a cookie or a gummy when you can get it delivered in a different way?” he said. “I don’t know why you need to have in this other form when you could swallow it and be done with it.” He acknowledged a lot of the terrible stories he hears are anecdotal. “I wonder about that myself sometimes,” he said. But because he worries horror stories cause harm to the industry, he said a ban on edibles might be the way to go. “Is cookies and candies equivalent to putting a smiley face on a bottle of Jack Daniels and making it appeal to a kid?” he asked. “When it comes to children and use, we’re all concerned about that.” How does he feel about a cap on overall cannabis potency in Colorado? “I would fight it to the death. I don’t see a lot of accidental ingestion with flower.”
An Oklahoma state law that helps fund schools, passed 23 years ago, was never implemented, and now 48 school districts are seeking action from the Oklahoma State Supreme Court. The lawsuit is filed on behalf of the school district and names Oklahoma State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister, Treasurer Ken Miller and the Oklahoma Tax Commission as defendants. Every school district across the state has been given the wrong amount of money every year since 1991, the lawsuit alleges, a charge former State Superintendent Janet Barresi confirmed in 2014.
More than 150 districts are being short-changed funds, a group called Oklahoma Schools for Fair Funding said Monday. Just under 50 are participating in legal action, including Oklahoma City Public Schools. The law was intended to give districts extra money when taxes over a certain level. That money would go to local districts instead of the state. But that law was never implemented. The cap on property taxes has resulted in districts not getting the right amount of money now for some 20 years. And the fix means some districts will lose money, while some will gain.
The lawsuit seeks the defendants to “fufill its statutory duty” to determine the amount of money owed districts from 1991 until this year, “as a result of the [Department of Education’s] acknowledged failure to follow the plain language of” Oklahoma law. It started with Ponca City superintendent Dr. David Pennington some 10 years ago, as he struggled to figure out why his calculations of how much his district should get—always came up short. In a press conference announcing the lawsuit, Pennington said his district is estimated to have lost $14 million.
Should the Illinois legal smoking age increase from 18 to 21?
A proposal by Sen. John G. Mulroe, D-Chicago, would do just that. Mulroe, surrounded by public health advocates, pitched the idea Thursday in a news conference. He said the change would serve the public well for several reasons, among them:
– Smoking is deadly, and the proof’s available on every pack of cigarettes in the form of a warning from the U.S. surgeon general. – Smoking is expensive to the individual. A two-pack a-day habit in some areas (notably Chicago) can run a person24 a day or more than8,700 a year, Mulroe said. – Smoking is expensive to the state. The senator and public health advocates said5 billion annually is spent in Illinois treating smoking-related illnesses, and2 billion of that comes from taxpayer-supported Medicaid funds. – Raising the legal age for the purchase and possession of tobacco is a research-proven way to cut use among young people. Mulroe said research also shows that if people make it to 21 without smoking, they likely never start.
Mulroe said he’s not targeting smokers, many of whom have told him they support raising the legal age. “The smokers tell me, ‘It’s a good bill, John,'” and when he asks why, they respond, “I wish I’d never started smoking.” “They can’t quit,” Mulroe said. “The addiction makes them powerless.” People who don’t smoke or don’t object to smoking shouldn’t shrug off the issue as none of their concern, said Kathy Drea of the American Lung Association in Illinois. “Two billion dollars of the Illinois state budget is spent treating Medicaid recipients with tobacco-related diseases,” Drea said. “That cost alone is one of the main, right reasons this bill should be passed,” she said. “Illinois should be doing everything it possibly can to reduce tobacco use and the associated disease, death and cost.”
Anthony Fisher of Reason.com, a branch of the libertarian Reason Foundation, said not everyone agrees.
While Mulroe and supporters make some valid points, the change in law the senator proposes “restricts the personal liberties of adults, which people who are above the age of 18 are, period,” Fisher said.
“They can be charged as adults under the law, they can fight and die for their country, and they are required to pay taxes. They’re adults, and they are entitled to make their own decisions, even if they are ill-advised decisions like taking up cigarette smoking,” he said.
Fisher acknowledged the public-health cost of smoking is “a fair and valid point.””But if we’re going to go there, let’s go further — let’s make it so that nobody under 21 can purchase sugar,” he said.
“That will make it hard for people to develop the sugar habit, (and) it will make it harder for people to develop diabetes,” he argued. “Let’s just never stop,” he said. “Let’s just never stop using the public good as an excuse to curb people’s choices. We can go on forever with this.”
Fisher said he doesn’t smoke and doesn’t think people should, but “we’d actually be a freer and more tolerant society if we allow people to make those choices and not turn everything into a potential crime under civil and criminal codes.” Mulroe’s legislation, Senate Bill 3011, would apply to the sale, purchase and possession of all tobacco products, as well as electronic cigarettes. If passed, it would provide business penalties for retailers who sell tobacco products to anyone younger than 21 and make it a petty offense for anyone under 21 to be in possession.
Read More : huffingtonpost.com/reboot-illinois/should-the-legal-smoking_b_9292860.html