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Westlake Legal Group > News Media (Page 58)

Georgia women charged after authorities rescue 43 pups living in ‘deplorable conditions’: police

Two Georgia women face a slew of charges after authorities found more than 40 neglected dogs – including seven with their bottom jaws missing – living in what authorities described as “deplorable conditions.”

Brandi Louis Marzka and Lynda Susan Cummings were arrested Monday after authorities discovered a puppy mill in Barnesville, about an hour’s drive south of Atlanta, according to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.

Westlake Legal Group Puppy-Milll Georgia women charged after authorities rescue 43 pups living in ‘deplorable conditions’: police fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/georgia fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc Bradford Betz article 81eab204-ccd0-5b1e-b41b-1c2d1c416b7b

Brandi Louis and Lynda Susan Cummings have been charged with animal abuse. (Monroe County Sheriff’s Office)

Authorities began investigating the abandoned home after a citizen alerted the Towaliga District Attorney’s Office and the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department,  Fox 5 Atlanta reported.

Deputies reportedly contacted Cummings after conducting a welfare check of the home. She eventually surrendered all the dogs to the sheriff’s office, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

“No one was living at the house. She was periodically coming and checking on the dogs,” said Monroe County Sheriff Brad Freeman. “Obviously, because at some point they had had food and water.”

At least one Maltipoo puppy was found dead, according to the paper. The 43 other Maltipoo pups were rescued by the Atlanta Humane Society.

“For the majority of the dogs, homes will be found for them and they will be taken care of,” Freeman said.

MISSOURI MAN CHARGED WITH REPEATEDLY STABBING NEIGHBOR’S DOG WHO RAN ONTO PROPERTY

The Society told The Journal-Constitution that the bottom jaws of seven dogs were missing entirely because of neglected dental care. Others were matted and some had skin or eye issues, The Journal-Constitution reported.

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Cummings faces seven counts of maliciously causing physical harm to an animal by serious disfigurement and one count of maliciously causing the death of an animal – both felonies. Both women face 36 counts of animal neglect. They were booked into the Monroe County Jail.

An investigation is ongoing.

Westlake Legal Group Puppy-Milll Georgia women charged after authorities rescue 43 pups living in ‘deplorable conditions’: police fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/georgia fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc Bradford Betz article 81eab204-ccd0-5b1e-b41b-1c2d1c416b7b   Westlake Legal Group Puppy-Milll Georgia women charged after authorities rescue 43 pups living in ‘deplorable conditions’: police fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/georgia fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc Bradford Betz article 81eab204-ccd0-5b1e-b41b-1c2d1c416b7b

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MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace uses 9/11 commemoration to attack Trump

MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace commemorated the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in part by attacking President Trump.

Wallace, a former White House communications director under President George W. Bush, reflected on her experience as the U.S. was being attacked.

“I was in the WH on 9/11 -after 3rd plane [United Flight 77] crashed [into the Pentagon] we evacuated with the WH press corps on orders from the USSS [Secret Service] who pointed up and said “’they’re coming,’” Wallace tweeted. “We ran out the NW gate together-potential targets of terrorists.”

NEW YORK TIMES DELETES 9/11 TWEET AFTER BACKLASH: ‘AIRPLANES TOOK AIM AND BROUGHT DOWN THE WORLD TRADE CENTER

The “Deadline: White House” host then quickly pivoted to the current president and his repeated attacks against the media.

“When Trump calls press enemy of the people I think of this day,” Wallace added.

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Last month, Wallace issued an apology after failing to challenge a guest on her show who suggested that Trump was seeking the “extermination” of Latinos in America.

Westlake Legal Group Nicolle-Wallace MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace uses 9/11 commemoration to attack Trump Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc article ab0c367d-a34a-5da4-8274-c223c53fe81b   Westlake Legal Group Nicolle-Wallace MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace uses 9/11 commemoration to attack Trump Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc article ab0c367d-a34a-5da4-8274-c223c53fe81b

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Trump delays tariff increase on $250B in Chinese goods for two weeks to Oct. 15

Westlake Legal Group AP19252683535418 Trump delays tariff increase on $250B in Chinese goods for two weeks to Oct. 15 Melissa Leon fox-news/world/world-regions/china fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc article 93b73c59-99a6-5b3a-88be-f8178e4e2901 /FOX NEWS/WORLD/GLOBAL ECONOMY/Trade

President Trump announced late Wednesday that the U.S. will delay a planned tariff increase on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods for two weeks.

“At the request of the vice premier of China, Liu He, and due to the fact that the People’s Republic of China will be celebrating their 70th Anniversary on October 1st, we have agreed, as a gesture of good will [sic], to move the increased Tariffs on 250 Billion Dollars worth of goods (25% to 30%), from October 1st to October 15th,” Trump wrote on Twitter.

Wednesday’s announcement came 10 days after the U.S. imposed 15 percent tariffs on about $112 billion of Chinese imports, the latest salvos in an ongoing trade war between Washington and Beijing. In total, Trump has imposed or announced penalties on about $550 billion of Chinese products, or almost everything the United States buys from there.

TRUMP ANNOUNCES INCREASED TARIFFS ON CHINA IN LATEST TRADE WAR SALVO

After Trump proposed tariff increases on billions in Chinese products in August, Beijing responded with increased tariffs on $75 billion of U.S. products. Trump called the move “politically motivated.”

“For many years China (and many other countries) has been taking advantage of the United States on Trade, Intellectual Property Theft, and much more. Our Country has been losing HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year to China, with no end in sight,” Trump tweeted Aug. 23. “Sadly, past Administrations have allowed China to get so far ahead of Fair and Balanced Trade that it has become a great burden to the American Taxpayer. As President, I can no longer allow this to happen!”

Earlier in the day, the president had “ordered” American companies to relocate back to the U.S. instead of doing business in China.

“Our great American companies are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China, including bringing … your companies HOME and making your products in the USA,” Trump said.

TRADE WAR EXPLODES AS TRUMP CLASHES WITH US FIRMS OVER ‘ORDER’ TO ABANDON CHINA, BLOCK FENTANYL SHIPMENTS

“Because of the tariffs, we’re in an incredible negotiating position,” Trump said Aug. 30, “and we happen to be taking in billions and billions and billions of dollars.”

University of Maryland business professor Peter Morici recently told Fox News that tariffs aren’t going to affect the average American “as much as critics say.”

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Even more tariffs loom on the horizon. On Dec. 15, the Trump administration is scheduled to impose a second round of 15 percent tariffs — this time on roughly $160 billion of imports. If those duties take effect, virtually all goods imported from China will be covered, including all major Apple products.

The Chinese government has released a list of American imports targeted for penalties on Dec. 15 if the U.S. tariff hikes take effect. In total, Beijing says Sunday’s penalties and the planned December increases will apply to $75 billion of American goods.

Fox News’ Gregg Re and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group AP19252683535418 Trump delays tariff increase on $250B in Chinese goods for two weeks to Oct. 15 Melissa Leon fox-news/world/world-regions/china fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc article 93b73c59-99a6-5b3a-88be-f8178e4e2901 /FOX NEWS/WORLD/GLOBAL ECONOMY/Trade   Westlake Legal Group AP19252683535418 Trump delays tariff increase on $250B in Chinese goods for two weeks to Oct. 15 Melissa Leon fox-news/world/world-regions/china fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc article 93b73c59-99a6-5b3a-88be-f8178e4e2901 /FOX NEWS/WORLD/GLOBAL ECONOMY/Trade

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California’s Contractor Law Stirs Confusion Beyond the Gig Economy

Westlake Legal Group 11uber2-facebookJumbo California’s Contractor Law Stirs Confusion Beyond the Gig Economy Wages and Salaries Uber Technologies Inc State Legislatures minimum wage Labor and Jobs Freelancing, Self-Employment and Independent Contracting Car Services and Livery Cabs California

SAN FRANCISCO — After months of bickering over who would be covered by a landmark bill meant to protect workers, California legislators passed legislation on Wednesday that could help hundreds of thousands of independent contractors become employees and earn a minimum wage, overtime pay and other benefits.

But even before California’s governor, Gavin Newsom, had signed it into law, the battle over who would be covered flared up again. Uber, one of the main targets of the legislation, declared that the law’s key provisions would not apply to its drivers, setting off a debate that could have wide economic ramifications for businesses and workers alike in California, and potentially well beyond as lawmakers in other states seek to make similar changes.

“California sets off a chain reaction,” said Dan Ives, a managing director of equity research at Wedbush who tracks the ride-hailing industry. “The worry is that the wildfire spreads.”

In California, religious groups said they feared that small churches and synagogues would not be able to afford making pastors and rabbis employees. Winemakers and franchise owners said they were worried they could be ensnared by the law, too. Even some of the contractors for the app-based businesses that have been at the center of this debate said the change could hurt them if companies like Uber, Lyft and DoorDash decided to restrict how often they could work or cut them off entirely.

Under the bill, workers are likely to be employees if the company directs their tasks and the work is part of the company’s main business.

California has at least one million workers who work as contractors and are likely to be affected by the measure, including nail salon workers, janitors and construction workers. Unlike contractors, employees are covered by minimum-wage and overtime laws. Businesses must also contribute to unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation funds on their employees’ behalf.

For months, lawmakers have jockeyed to exempt a variety of job categories, including doctors, insurance agents and real estate agents.

Carrying out the mandate will most likely be anything but orderly. Companies in dozens of industries must decide whether or not to comply pre-emptively or risk being sued by workers and state officials. Some workers may find that their schedules and job descriptions change, while others may be out of a job altogether if their employers cut back hiring amid rising costs.

Mr. Newsom has said he intends to sign the bill but has indicated that he would be open to negotiating changes or exemptions with businesses like Uber and Lyft if they were willing to make other concessions. That has added to the air of uncertainty about the law.

Litigation is also likely to follow.

Uber said Wednesday that it was confident that its drivers will retain their independent status when the measure goes into effect on Jan. 1. “Several previous rulings have found that drivers’ work is outside the usual course of Uber’s business, which is serving as a technology platform for several different types of digital marketplaces,” said Tony West, Uber’s chief legal officer. He added that the company was “no stranger to legal battles.”

In order to classify drivers as contractors, legal experts said, Uber would also have to prove that it didn’t direct and control them, and that they typically operated an independent driving business outside their work for Uber.

Historically, if workers thought they had been misclassified as a contractor, it was up to them to fight the classification in court. But the bill allows cities to sue companies that don’t comply.

San Francisco’s city attorney, Dennis Herrera, has indicated that he may take action. “Ensuring workers are treated fairly is one of the trademarks of this office,” he said in a statement.

And California may be only the beginning, as lawmakers elsewhere, including New York, move to embrace such policies. Legislators in Oregon and Washington State said they believed that California’s approval gave new momentum to similar bills that they had drafted.

“It makes everyone take notice,” said State Senator Karen Keiser of Washington, whose Legislature could take up the measure next year. “It’s not just a bright idea from left field. It gives it a seriousness and weight that is always helpful when you’re trying to pass a new law.”

While much of the debate about the California legislation has been about the impact on fast-growing businesses like Uber, Lyft and DoorDash, it could apply to many kinds of employers, including those that long predated the so-called gig economy.

Religious groups said some congregations would struggle to pay for full employment benefits for their leaders if they were converted from independent contractors to employees.

“For smaller ones that operate on very small budgets, it could force them to lay off their rabbi or maybe only hire them part time,” said Nathan Diament, the public policy director for the Orthodox Union Advocacy Center.

Even drivers for Uber and Lyft have been split on the bill. Some of them visited lawmakers’ offices in Sacramento to plead their case for employment status. Others objected to the bill, worrying that it would take away their ability to switch their work on and off just by opening an app.

“I’m torn. Drivers are so split on the issue,” said Harry Campbell, a driver and the founder of the publication The Rideshare Guy.

Uber and Lyft have long maintained that converting drivers to employees would most likely require the companies to schedule drivers in shifts rather than allowing them to decide when, where and how long to work. While nothing in the bill requires employees to work scheduled shifts, in practice the companies may want to restrict drivers from working when there are few customers and the revenue that drivers bring in would not offset the hourly costs of employing them.

After New York City enacted a minimum wage for drivers this year, Lyft put such restrictions in place because having too many drivers on the road without passengers could significantly raise the minimum wage the company had to pay under the city’s wage formula.

“Drivers will have some restrictions,” Mr. Campbell said. “The question for me is whether it will be worth it for all the drivers to have protections.”

The costs for app-based businesses, many of which are not profitable, could be significant. Uber held a troubled initial public offering in May and has reported large losses and slowing revenue growth. Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber’s chief executive, has laid off hundreds of employees in recent months, including Tuesday, to cut costs.

But some traditional businesses have argued that the mandate merely levels the playing field. Construction companies have long complained that they face unfair competition from rivals that classify workers as contractors so they can avoid paying payroll taxes and lowball bids on projects.

App-based companies are “starting to send carpenters, electricians, plumbers off their platform — independent contractors who make very low wages,” said Robbie Hunter, the head of the state building trades council that represents construction worker unions in California. “They’re undercutting brick-and-mortar businesses doing the right thing — paying for workers’ compensation, being very efficient, working hard to make a profit.”

In other cases, the new law has created anxiety and confusion.

Small vineyard owners are concerned that they could be forced to directly employ the independent truckers they use to haul their harvests and become responsible for providing insurance and workers’ compensation. Currently, truckers operate as contractors, with their own rigs and insurance, and serve several vineyards, said Michael Miiller, director of government relations at the California Association of Winegrape Growers.

“Our members are growers, not trucking companies,” Mr. Miiller said. “The target of legislators is Uber and Lyft, but the unintended victims are small, independent vineyards on the coast of California.”

Saunda Kitchen owns a Mr. Rooter plumbing business in Sonoma County that has 30 employees, for whom she pays payroll taxes and provides the various mandated benefits. But Ms. Kitchen said she believed that she herself would have to become an employee of Mr. Rooter under the new law, which could cause the parent company to pull out of the state.

“I wouldn’t have access to new technology, training, help with marketing,” said Ms. Kitchen, who planned to talk with Mr. Rooter officials on Thursday about how to proceed.

But Steve Smith, a spokesman for the state labor federation, which advised lawmakers on the bill, said he did not believe the vineyards or Ms. Kitchen would be hurt by the law.

“We’ve seen no cases of legitimate franchisees being targeted or having any issues at all with the test” in other contexts, he said.

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Aaron Carter reveals he has multiple mental health diagnoses, says there is ‘nothing to hide’

Westlake Legal Group Aaron-Carter-getty Aaron Carter reveals he has multiple mental health diagnoses, says there is ‘nothing to hide’ Julius Young fox-news/entertainment/music fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 9cf47e09-4cd8-502d-8fdc-6b77fa59bb3f

Aaron Carter is pulling back the curtain to let the world in on his truth.

The singer opened up in a huge way about his mental health struggles and revealed in a moving conversation on “The Doctors” that he’s received several medical diagnoses.

AARON CARTER DEFENDS BEING A GUN OWNER: ‘I FULLY SUPPORT THE CONSTITUTION AND MY RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS’

“The official diagnosis is that I suffer from multiple personality disorder, schizophrenia, acute anxiety; I’m manic depressive,” said Carter. “I’m prescribed to Xanax, Seroquel, Gabapentin, Hydroxyzine, Trazodone, Omeprazole.”

“This is my reality. … Hi, I have nothing to hide,” the former child star said before holding up a large, clear plastic bag of prescription drugs to give viewers some perspective.

“I haven’t taken any opioids,” Carter, 31, said before adding: “Oh no, no. I did. I got my teeth done, I got six crowns, so I had to take Hydrocodone.”

The two-part interview also had Carter take a drug test to prove he’s clean from recreational drugs and features his mother, Jane, in an emotional bout with her son over her alleged drinking habits. Carter said his mother’s choice on that front will determine whether she remains a part of his life.

AARON CARTER DEFENDS MICHAEL JACKSON FOLLOWING ‘LEAVING NEVERLAND’

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Carter’s two-part interview on “The Doctors” airs on Thursday and Friday.

Westlake Legal Group Aaron-Carter-getty Aaron Carter reveals he has multiple mental health diagnoses, says there is ‘nothing to hide’ Julius Young fox-news/entertainment/music fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 9cf47e09-4cd8-502d-8fdc-6b77fa59bb3f   Westlake Legal Group Aaron-Carter-getty Aaron Carter reveals he has multiple mental health diagnoses, says there is ‘nothing to hide’ Julius Young fox-news/entertainment/music fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 9cf47e09-4cd8-502d-8fdc-6b77fa59bb3f

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Supreme Court Says Trump Can Bar Asylum Seekers While Legal Fight Continues

Westlake Legal Group 12Mexico-Migrants-03-facebookJumbo Supreme Court Says Trump Can Bar Asylum Seekers While Legal Fight Continues United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Supreme Court (US) Sotomayor, Sonia Immigration and Emigration Ginsburg, Ruth Bader Decisions and Verdicts Asylum, Right of

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed the Trump administration to bar most Central American migrants from seeking asylum in the United States. The court said the administration may enforce new rules that generally forbid asylum applications from people who had traveled through another country on their way to the United States without being denied asylum in that country.

The court’s order was a major victory for the administration, allowing it to enforce a policy that will achieve one of its central goals: effectively barring most migration across the nation’s southwestern border by Hondurans, Salvadorans, Guatemalans and others. Mexican migrants, who need not travel through another country to reach the United States, are not affected by the new policy.

A federal appeals court had largely blocked the policy, but the justices, in a brief, unsigned order, allowed it to go into effect while legal challenges move forward. Justice Sonia Sotomayor, joined by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, dissented, saying the court’s action will “upend longstanding practices regarding refugees who seek shelter from persecution.”

This was the second time in recent months that the Supreme Court backed a major Trump administration immigration initiative. In July, the court allowed the administration to begin using $2.5 billion in Pentagon money for the construction of a barrier along the Mexican border. Last year, the court upheld President Trump’s ban on travel from several predominantly Muslim countries.

Lee Gelernt, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union, which represents the challengers in the new case, stressed that the Supreme Court’s action was provisional. “This is just a temporary step,” he said, “and we’re hopeful we’ll prevail at the end of the day. The lives of thousands of families are at stake.”

The case will almost certainly return to the Supreme Court after an appeals court rules, but that will take many months.

Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, the acting director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, pledged on Wednesday night to “commence implementing the asylum rule ASAP.”

“While congress continues to do nothing,” he wrote on Twitter, “@realDonaldTrump’s administration uses every tool in the toolbox to try and solve the crisis at our southern border.”

In a Supreme Court brief in the case, the solicitor general, Noel J. Francisco, representing the administration, said the new policy was needed to address “an unprecedented surge in the number of aliens who enter the country unlawfully across the southern border and, if apprehended, claim asylum and remain in the country while their claims are adjudicated.”

Under the policy, which was announced July 15, only immigrants who have been denied asylum in another country or who have been victims of “severe” human trafficking are permitted to apply in the United States. “The rule thus screens out asylum seekers who declined to request protection at the first opportunity,” Mr. Francisco wrote.

Under the rules, Hondurans and Salvadorans must seek and be denied asylum in Guatemala or Mexico before they can apply in the United States. Guatemalans must seek and be denied asylum in Mexico.

Migrants from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala have made up the vast majority of asylum seekers who have tried to enter the United States in record numbers this year. The Border Patrol has arrested 419,831 migrant family members from those three countries at the southwest border so far this fiscal year, compared with just 4,312 Mexican family members.

The rules reversed longstanding asylum policies that allowed people to seek haven no matter how they got to the United States.

The administration made the unilateral move after months of pushing Guatemala and Mexico to commit to going along with the plan. Mr. Trump went as far to threaten both countries with tariffs unless they did more to halt the migration.

The administration struck such a deal with Guatemala in July, which would force the country to absorb Central American migrants. But Guatemala’s Constitutional Court has ruled that the deal needs further approval, and the countries are still working on an implementation plan for the deal.

The Mexican government, however, has pushed back against the so-called safe-third-country agreement, which would force Mexico to absorb Guatemalan asylum seekers.

Instead of agreeing to the deal, Mexico deployed thousands of security personnel to its southern border and agreed to collaborate with the United States on a program that returns migrants to Mexico to wait out their cases.

Two federal trial judges had issued conflicting rulings on whether the new plan was lawful.

In July, Judge Timothy J. Kelly of the Federal District Court in Washington, who was appointed by President Trump, refused to block the administration’s rules.

That same day, Judge Jon S. Tigar of the Federal District Court in San Francisco, who was appointed by President Barack Obama, blocked the new rules, saying they were put in place without following the required legal procedures.

In her dissent, Justice Sotomayor said Judge Tigar’s ruling “warrants respect.”

“The rule the government promulgated,” she wrote, “topples decades of settled asylum practices and affects some of the most vulnerable people in the Western Hemisphere — without affording the public a chance to weigh in.”

The two other members of the court’s liberal wing, Justices Stephen G. Breyer and Elena Kagan, had dissented in earlier cases on Trump administration immigration policies. They did not note dissents from Wednesday’s order.

Judge Tigar ordered the administration to continue accepting applications from all otherwise eligible migrants, even if they had not sought asylum elsewhere on their journey north.

Judge Tigar said his ruling applied across the nation. Such nationwide injunctions have been the subject of much criticism, but the Supreme Court has never issued a definitive ruling on whether and when they are proper.

In August, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, narrowed the geographic scope of Judge Tigar’s more recent ruling while it considered the administration’s appeal, saying it should apply only in the territorial jurisdiction of the Ninth Circuit, which includes two border states, California and Arizona. (Two other border states, Texas and New Mexico, are in the jurisdictions of other federal appeals courts.)

On Monday, however, Judge Tigar again imposed a nationwide injunction, saying he had been presented with additional evidence justifying one. “Anything but a nationwide injunction,” he wrote, “will create major administrability issues.” On Tuesday, the Ninth Circuit temporarily blocked the new injunction and ordered the two sides to submit briefs on whether it should issue a stay.

In an emergency application to the Supreme Court last month seeking a stay of Judge Tigar’s initial ruling while the case moved forward, Mr. Francisco argued that the administration was entitled to skip ordinary notice and comment requirements for new regulations because foreign affairs were at issue and because a delay after the announcement of the procedures “may prompt an additional surge of asylum seekers.”

In any event, Mr. Francisco wrote, the Ninth Circuit’s narrower injunction, covering only the states in its jurisdiction, was still too broad. At most, he wrote, the injunction should cover only clients of the four groups challenging the new policy — East Bay Sanctuary Covenant, Al Otro Lado, Innovation Law Lab and Central American Resource Center in Los Angeles.

In response, the American Civil Liberties Union, which represents the groups along with the Center for Constitutional Rights and the Southern Poverty Law Center, said the administration was trying to rewrite a federal immigration law enacted in 1980. There was no reason, the A.C.L.U. said, to alter “the 40-year-long status quo while this case is heard on an expedited basis in the court of appeals.”

“The current ban would eliminate virtually all asylum at the southern border, even at ports of entry, for everyone except Mexicans (who do not need to transit through a third country to reach the United States),” the A.C.L.U.’s brief said. “The court should not permit such a tectonic change to U.S. asylum law.”

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California Approves Statewide Rent Control to Ease Housing Crisis

California lawmakers approved a statewide rent cap on Wednesday covering millions of tenants, the biggest step yet in a surge of initiatives to address an affordable-housing crunch nationwide.

The bill limits annual rent increases to 5 percent after inflation and offers new barriers to eviction, providing a bit of housing security in a state with the nation’s highest housing prices and a swelling homeless population.

Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat who has made tenant protection a priority in his first year in office, led negotiations to strengthen the legislation. He has said he would sign the bill, approved as part of a flurry of activity in the final week of the legislative session.

The measure, affecting an estimated eight million residents of rental homes and apartments, was heavily pushed by tenants’ groups. In an indication of how dire housing problems have become, it also garnered the support of the California Business Roundtable, representing leading employers, and was unopposed by the state’s biggest landlords’ group.

That dynamic reflected a momentous political swing. For a quarter-century, California law has sharply curbed the ability of localities to impose rent control. Now, the state itself has taken that step.

“The housing crisis is reaching every corner of America, where you’re seeing high home prices, high rents, evictions and homelessness that we’re all struggling to grapple with,” said Assemblyman David Chiu, a San Francisco Democrat who was the bill’s author. “Protecting tenants is a critical and obvious component of any strategy to address this.”

A greater share of households nationwide are renting than at any point in a half-century. But only four states — California, Maryland, New Jersey and New York — have localities with some type of rent control, along with the District of Columbia. A coalition of tenants’ organizations, propelled by rising housing costs and fears of displacement, is trying to change that.

In February, Oregon lawmakers became the first to pass statewide rent control, limiting increases to 7 percent annually plus inflation. New York, with Democrats newly in control of the State Legislature, strengthened rent regulations governing almost one million apartments in New York City.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_160578480_4e66f72d-f9f7-4bf5-9f06-a8705d4ce907-articleLarge California Approves Statewide Rent Control to Ease Housing Crisis State Legislatures Renting and Leasing (Real Estate) Rent Control and Stabilization Regulation and Deregulation of Industry Real Estate and Housing (Residential) Politics and Government Newsom, Gavin Law and Legislation Landlords Homeless Persons gentrification California Affordable Housing

Assemblyman David Chiu, a San Francisco Democrat, was the bill’s author. “The housing crisis is reaching every corner of America,” he said.CreditRich Pedroncelli/Associated Press

Measures were recently introduced in Massachusetts and Florida to allow rent regulation in cities with a housing crunch — like Boston, Miami and Orlando.

Nationally, about a quarter of tenants pay more than half their income in rent, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University. And California’s challenges are particularly acute. After an adjustment for housing costs, it has the highest state poverty rate, 18.2 percent, about five percentage points above the national average, according to a Census Bureau report published Tuesday.

Homelessness has come to dominate the state’s political conversation and prompted voters to approve several multibillion-dollar programs to build shelters and subsidized housing with services for people coming off the streets.

Despite those efforts, San Francisco’s homeless population has grown by 17 percent since 2017, while the count in Los Angeles has increased by 16 percent since 2018. Over all, the state accounts for about half of the country’s unsheltered homeless population of roughly 200,000.

That bleak picture — combined with three-hour commutes, cries for teacher housing and the sight of police officers sleeping in cars — is prompting legislators and organizers to propose ever more far-reaching steps.

State Senator Scott Wiener, a San Francisco Democrat, offered a bill that would essentially override local zoning to allow multiple-unit housing around transit stops and in suburbs where single-family homes are considered sacrosanct. The bill was shelved in its final committee hearing this year, but Mr. Wiener has vowed to keep pushing the idea.

Economists from both the left and the right have a well-established aversion to rent control, arguing that such policies ignore the message of rising prices, which is to build more housing. Studies in San Francisco and elsewhere show that price caps often prompt landlords to abandon the rental business by converting their units to owner-occupied homes. And since rent controls typically have no income threshold, they have been faulted for benefiting high-income tenants.

“Rent control is definitely having a moment across the country,” said Jim Lapides, a vice president at the National Multifamily Housing Council, which opposes such restrictions. “But we’re seeing folks turn to really shortsighted policy that will end up making the very problem worse.”

But many of the same studies show that rent-control policies have been effective at shielding tenants from evictions and sudden rent increases, particularly the lower-income and older tenants who are at a high risk of becoming homeless. Also, many of the newer policies — which supporters prefer to call rent caps — are considerably less stringent than those in effect in places like New York and San Francisco for decades.

“Caps on rent increases, like the one proposed in California or the one recently passed in Oregon, are part of a new generation of rent-regulation policies that are trying to thread the needle by offering some form of protection against egregious rent hikes for vulnerable renters without stymieing much-needed new housing construction,” said Elizabeth Kneebone, research director at the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at the University of California.

Supporters of rent control marched in Sacramento last year. After adjusting for housing costs, California has the highest state poverty rate.CreditRich Pedroncelli/Associated Press

Mr. Chiu’s bill is technically an anti-gouging provision, with a 10-year limit, modeled on the typically short-term price caps instituted after disasters like floods and fires. It exempts dwellings less than 15 years old, to avoid discouraging construction, as well as most single-family homes. But it covers tenants of corporations like Invitation Homes, which built nationwide rental portfolios encompassing tens of thousands of properties that had been lost to foreclosure after the housing bust a decade ago.

According to the online real-estate marketplace Zillow, only about 7 percent of the California properties listed last year saw rent increases larger than allowed under the bill. But there could be a big effect in rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods like Boyle Heights in Los Angeles, where typical rents on apartments not covered by the city’s rent regulations have jumped more than 40 percent since 2016.

By limiting the steepest and most abrupt rent increases, the bill is also likely to reduce the incentive for hedge funds and other investors to buy buildings where they see a prospective payoff in replacing working-class occupants with tenants paying higher rents.

Sandra Zamora, a 27-year-old preschool teacher, lives in a one-bedroom apartment in Menlo Park, Calif., a short drive from Facebook’s expanding headquarters. A year ago, Ms. Zamora’s building got a new owner, and the rent jumped to $1,900 from $1,100, a rise of over 70 percent. Most of her neighbors left. Ms. Zamora stayed, adding a roommate to the 600-square-foot space and taking a weekend job as a barista.

“Having an $800 increase at once was really shocking,” she said. “It just keeps me thinking every month: ‘O.K., when is it going to happen? How much am I going to get increased the next month?’ It’s just a constant worry.”

Even as more states begin to experiment with rent control, it has long existed in places like New York City, which intervened to address a housing shortage post-World War II, and San Francisco, where it was adopted in 1979.

Today it is common in many towns across New Jersey and in several cities in California, including Berkeley and Oakland, although the form differs by jurisdiction. Regulated apartments in New York City are mostly subject to rent caps even after a change in tenants, for example, while rent control in the Bay Area has no such provision.

In New York City, where almost half of the rental stock is regulated, a board determines the maximum rent increases each year; this year it approved a 1.5 percent cap on one-year leases, considerably lower than the limits passed in Oregon and California.

Cea Weaver, campaign coordinator of Housing Justice for All, a coalition of New York tenants that pushed for new rent laws, welcomed the outcome in California.

“Any victory helps to build a groundswell,” she said. “There is a younger generation of people who see themselves as permanent renters, and they’re demanding that our public policy catches up to that economic reality.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

California Approves Statewide Rent Control to Ease Housing Crisis

California lawmakers approved a statewide rent cap on Wednesday covering millions of tenants, the biggest step yet in a surge of initiatives to address an affordable-housing crunch nationwide.

The bill limits annual rent increases to 5 percent after inflation and offers new barriers to eviction, providing a bit of housing security in a state with the nation’s highest housing prices and a swelling homeless population.

Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat who has made tenant protection a priority in his first year in office, led negotiations to strengthen the legislation. He has said he would sign the bill, approved as part of a flurry of activity in the final week of the legislative session.

The measure, affecting an estimated eight million residents of rental homes and apartments, was heavily pushed by tenants’ groups. In an indication of how dire housing problems have become, it also garnered the support of the California Business Roundtable, representing leading employers, and was unopposed by the state’s biggest landlords’ group.

That dynamic reflected a momentous political swing. For a quarter-century, California law has sharply curbed the ability of localities to impose rent control. Now, the state itself has taken that step.

“The housing crisis is reaching every corner of America, where you’re seeing high home prices, high rents, evictions and homelessness that we’re all struggling to grapple with,” said Assemblyman David Chiu, a San Francisco Democrat who was the bill’s author. “Protecting tenants is a critical and obvious component of any strategy to address this.”

A greater share of households nationwide are renting than at any point in a half-century. But only four states — California, Maryland, New Jersey and New York — have localities with some type of rent control, along with the District of Columbia. A coalition of tenants’ organizations, propelled by rising housing costs and fears of displacement, is trying to change that.

In February, Oregon lawmakers became the first to pass statewide rent control, limiting increases to 7 percent annually plus inflation. New York, with Democrats newly in control of the State Legislature, strengthened rent regulations governing almost one million apartments in New York City.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_160578480_4e66f72d-f9f7-4bf5-9f06-a8705d4ce907-articleLarge California Approves Statewide Rent Control to Ease Housing Crisis State Legislatures Renting and Leasing (Real Estate) Rent Control and Stabilization Regulation and Deregulation of Industry Real Estate and Housing (Residential) Politics and Government Newsom, Gavin Law and Legislation Landlords Homeless Persons gentrification California Affordable Housing

Assemblyman David Chiu, a San Francisco Democrat, was the bill’s author. “The housing crisis is reaching every corner of America,” he said.CreditRich Pedroncelli/Associated Press

Measures were recently introduced in Massachusetts and Florida to allow rent regulation in cities with a housing crunch — like Boston, Miami and Orlando.

Nationally, about a quarter of tenants pay more than half their income in rent, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University. And California’s challenges are particularly acute. After an adjustment for housing costs, it has the highest state poverty rate, 18.2 percent, about five percentage points above the national average, according to a Census Bureau report published Tuesday.

Homelessness has come to dominate the state’s political conversation and prompted voters to approve several multibillion-dollar programs to build shelters and subsidized housing with services for people coming off the streets.

Despite those efforts, San Francisco’s homeless population has grown by 17 percent since 2017, while the count in Los Angeles has increased by 16 percent since 2018. Over all, the state accounts for about half of the country’s unsheltered homeless population of roughly 200,000.

That bleak picture — combined with three-hour commutes, cries for teacher housing and the sight of police officers sleeping in cars — is prompting legislators and organizers to propose ever more far-reaching steps.

State Senator Scott Wiener, a San Francisco Democrat, offered a bill that would essentially override local zoning to allow multiple-unit housing around transit stops and in suburbs where single-family homes are considered sacrosanct. The bill was shelved in its final committee hearing this year, but Mr. Wiener has vowed to keep pushing the idea.

Economists from both the left and the right have a well-established aversion to rent control, arguing that such policies ignore the message of rising prices, which is to build more housing. Studies in San Francisco and elsewhere show that price caps often prompt landlords to abandon the rental business by converting their units to owner-occupied homes. And since rent controls typically have no income threshold, they have been faulted for benefiting high-income tenants.

“Rent control is definitely having a moment across the country,” said Jim Lapides, a vice president at the National Multifamily Housing Council, which opposes such restrictions. “But we’re seeing folks turn to really shortsighted policy that will end up making the very problem worse.”

But many of the same studies show that rent-control policies have been effective at shielding tenants from evictions and sudden rent increases, particularly the lower-income and older tenants who are at a high risk of becoming homeless. Also, many of the newer policies — which supporters prefer to call rent caps — are considerably less stringent than those in effect in places like New York and San Francisco for decades.

“Caps on rent increases, like the one proposed in California or the one recently passed in Oregon, are part of a new generation of rent-regulation policies that are trying to thread the needle by offering some form of protection against egregious rent hikes for vulnerable renters without stymieing much-needed new housing construction,” said Elizabeth Kneebone, research director at the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at the University of California.

Supporters of rent control marched in Sacramento last year. After adjusting for housing costs, California has the highest state poverty rate.CreditRich Pedroncelli/Associated Press

Mr. Chiu’s bill is technically an anti-gouging provision, with a 10-year limit, modeled on the typically short-term price caps instituted after disasters like floods and fires. It exempts dwellings less than 15 years old, to avoid discouraging construction, as well as most single-family homes. But it covers tenants of corporations like Invitation Homes, which built nationwide rental portfolios encompassing tens of thousands of properties that had been lost to foreclosure after the housing bust a decade ago.

According to the online real-estate marketplace Zillow, only about 7 percent of the California properties listed last year saw rent increases larger than allowed under the bill. But there could be a big effect in rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods like Boyle Heights in Los Angeles, where typical rents on apartments not covered by the city’s rent regulations have jumped more than 40 percent since 2016.

By limiting the steepest and most abrupt rent increases, the bill is also likely to reduce the incentive for hedge funds and other investors to buy buildings where they see a prospective payoff in replacing working-class occupants with tenants paying higher rents.

Sandra Zamora, a 27-year-old preschool teacher, lives in a one-bedroom apartment in Menlo Park, Calif., a short drive from Facebook’s expanding headquarters. A year ago, Ms. Zamora’s building got a new owner, and the rent jumped to $1,900 from $1,100, a rise of over 70 percent. Most of her neighbors left. Ms. Zamora stayed, adding a roommate to the 600-square-foot space and taking a weekend job as a barista.

“Having an $800 increase at once was really shocking,” she said. “It just keeps me thinking every month: ‘O.K., when is it going to happen? How much am I going to get increased the next month?’ It’s just a constant worry.”

Even as more states begin to experiment with rent control, it has long existed in places like New York City, which intervened to address a housing shortage post-World War II, and San Francisco, where it was adopted in 1979.

Today it is common in many towns across New Jersey and in several cities in California, including Berkeley and Oakland, although the form differs by jurisdiction. Regulated apartments in New York City are mostly subject to rent caps even after a change in tenants, for example, while rent control in the Bay Area has no such provision.

In New York City, where almost half of the rental stock is regulated, a board determines the maximum rent increases each year; this year it approved a 1.5 percent cap on one-year leases, considerably lower than the limits passed in Oregon and California.

Cea Weaver, campaign coordinator of Housing Justice for All, a coalition of New York tenants that pushed for new rent laws, welcomed the outcome in California.

“Any victory helps to build a groundswell,” she said. “There is a younger generation of people who see themselves as permanent renters, and they’re demanding that our public policy catches up to that economic reality.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Kevin Hart released from hospital after car crash: reports

Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-baad59daec704fe79e8cd80f9832ff57 Kevin Hart released from hospital after car crash: reports Mariah Haas fox-news/entertainment/genres/comedy fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 61e97c4b-59a6-5da6-99ee-ca48b0f883b7

Kevin Hart has been discharged from a Los Angeles hospital following a Sept. 1 car crash in which he sustained major back injuries, according to multiple reports.

People magazine, citing a source, reported that Hart left the hospital on Wednesday and is now at a rehabilitation facility.

Hart will spend roughly one week at the facility — where he is set to undergo physical therapy — with the ultimate goal of getting him back home so he can start outpatient care, sources told TMZ.

KEVIN HART SUFFERS ‘MAJOR BACK INJURIES’ IN MALIBU HILLS CAR CRASH: REPORT

Police sources told TMZ that a Plymouth Barracuda belonging to Hart veered off the road on the Mulholland Highway in the Malibu Hills. Hart and the driver of the vehicle, Jared Black, suffered “major back injuries,” per a California Highway Patrol collision report.

According to TMZ, Hart fractured his spine in three places and he had to have a spinal fusion procedure. A female passenger, Rebecca Broxterman, was unhurt, the site reported.

911 AUDIO FROM KEVIN HART’S CAR CRASH RELEASED

The vehicle ended up in a ditch about 10 feet off the side of the winding road after it smashed through a wooden fence. The roof of the Barracuda was almost completely crushed in the crash.

Per TMZ, the driver was not drinking.

KEVIN HART BUYS HIMSELF A CUSTOM PLYMOUTH BARRACUDA FOR HIS BIRTHDAY

Hart’s wife, Eniko, gave an update on the star’s condition one day after the crash, telling TMZ, “He’s great. … Yup, he’s going to be just fine.”

Hart, an in-demand comic and film star, bought the car as a 40th birthday present for himself in July.

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A rep for Hart did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.

Fox News’ Sasha Savitsky and Julius Young contributed to this report

Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-baad59daec704fe79e8cd80f9832ff57 Kevin Hart released from hospital after car crash: reports Mariah Haas fox-news/entertainment/genres/comedy fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 61e97c4b-59a6-5da6-99ee-ca48b0f883b7   Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-baad59daec704fe79e8cd80f9832ff57 Kevin Hart released from hospital after car crash: reports Mariah Haas fox-news/entertainment/genres/comedy fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 61e97c4b-59a6-5da6-99ee-ca48b0f883b7

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Uber Says It Won’t Reclassify Drivers As Employees Despite New Law

After California lawmakers passed legislation on Wednesday seeking to reclassify many “gig economy” workers from independent contractors to employees ― with additional benefits and protections ― Uber said it still does not plan to consider its drivers full employees.

The ride-hailing company told reporters Wednesday that its drivers will not be reclassified as employees, even if Assembly Bill 5 is signed into law as widely expected. Tony West, Uber’s chief legal representative, said the drivers will still be considered independent contractors because “drivers’ work is outside the usual course of Uber’s business.”

West described the company’s business as “serving as a technology platform for several different types of digital marketplaces.” 

Under the legislation ― which the state Assembly approved on Wednesday and which Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) is expected to sign ― many gig-economy workers stand to gain new labor protections and benefits, like a minimum wage, unemployment and disability insurance, and the right to form a union.

The legislation clarifies the conditions under which a worker should be considered an employee. It says workers should be treated as independent contractors only if (a) they are “free from the control and direction” of the company that hired them, (b) their work falls outside the usual business of the company and (c) they are engaged in work in an independent business of the same type as the company’s.

Uber is claiming that its drivers “pass” that test and can thus be considered independent contractors. 

Westlake Legal Group 5d684357250000bf07894578 Uber Says It Won’t Reclassify Drivers As Employees Despite New Law

Justin Sullivan via Getty Images Drivers hold signs during a protest outside Uber headquarters in support of California Assembly Bill 5, Aug. 27, 2019, in San Francisco.

Uber, Lyft and other big tech companies lobbied extensively against the legislation. Their companies’ bottom lines would be dramatically affected if thousands of drivers were reclassified as employees for whom they’d then have to pay additional benefits.

Meanwhile, hundreds of Uber and Lyft drivers with the organizing group Gig Workers Rising protested throughout California last month, demanding AB5’s passage and a union for drivers.

One driver and organizer, Mostafa Maklad, told HuffPost in May that he drove between 40 and 50 hours a week with Uber and Lyft ― and that after taxes he was making less than minimum wage.

Uber and Lyft have repeatedly suggested that drivers wouldn’t enjoy as much flexibility if they were made full employees. The companies have said they could meet some of the workers’ demands by establishing a drivers association and working with lawmakers to commit to things like minimum pay.

Gig Workers Rising called the tech leaders’ proposals “a watered-down version” of the demands drivers have been making for months.

With AB5 now expected to become law, Uber said Wednesday that it is pursuing “several legal and political options,” including a statewide ballot initiative in 2020.

Newsom’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Uber’s remarks.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com