Author:

Katia Cortes Guzman

Property Rights and the Clean Water Act: The Potential Impacts of SCOTUS’ Decision

On Monday, October 3, the Supreme Court began its new term by hearing a case concerning the rights of property owners and the interests of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Water Act. When Michael and Chantell Sackett purchased land in Idaho in 2004, they did so with the intention of building a home on the property. Their plans were quashed when the EPA stepped in and declared that the land the couple purchased constituted a wetland, subject to regulation under the EPA’s Clean Water Act because the land is located 300 feet from a large lake. The Court is now faced with the question; how far can the government regulate water in the United States? Additionally, what counts as ‘waters of the United States”? Although the Court is not expected to make a decision regarding this case until June of 2023, the repercussions of the court siding with the Sacketts could be detrimental.

Is Real ID IDeal?

By May 3, 2023, U.S travelers must be Real ID compliant to board domestic flights, enter nuclear facilities, visit military bases, and gain access to certain federal facilities. The implementation of the Real ID comes eighteen years after Congress passed the Real ID Act and ten years after the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued an enforcement plan for compliance with Real ID standards. Although U.S travelers have a little more than a year to comply with Real ID requirements, compliance may be difficult in light of the Real ID’s history and complications.

Lifting Mask Mandates: How Districts, Parents, and Students May Struggle to Comply

On Friday February 4, 2022, a judge in Sangamon County, Illinois issued a ruling that prohibited mask mandates for school districts across the state. The ruling followed a lawsuit filed by parents from Peoria-area schools against 140 school districts, the governor, the Illinois State Board of Education superintendent, and the director of the Illinois Department of Public Health. The lawsuit challenged mask mandates and other COVID-19 procedures implemented by Governor J.B Pritzker as COVID-19 grew rampant. The ruling exposes the difficulties in implementing and complying with COVID-19 safety measures as schools return back to in-person learning.

America’s Fight Against Robocalls

Robocalls are an increasing threat to Americans across the country. In 2020, American consumers received nearly 4 billion robocalls per month. This number quickly increased in March 2021 when Americans received 4.9 billion robocalls. Although not all robocalls are illegal, illegal robocalls hurt Americans by spamming them to market a product. Americans have a choice to give their written consent, but the issue stems from robocalls marketing products without written consent. About 60 million Americans say they have been a victim to phone scams in the last year and have lost nearly $30 billion as a result. Unfortunately, despite the FCC and FTC increasingly targeting spammers and illegal robocalls, it is difficult to say when this problem will end.

Eradicating Real Guns in Hollywood: Why No One’s Life Should be Put at Risk on a Fictional Movie Set.

On October 21, 2021, actor Alec Baldwin fatally shot a cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins, and injured director Joel Souza on the set of the western film, Rust. Details of the tragic accident are still surfacing, but the incident has already sparked debate over the safety of cast and crew in Hollywood. With access to so much technology and computer-generated work behind the scenes, there is no longer a need for real guns in Hollywood. Despite the regulations on guns on Hollywood film sets, accidents still happen. Cast and crew should not have to risk their lives over something that is one hundred percent preventable.

Demonetize the Children

The Fair Labor Standards Act (“the Act”), enacted in 1938, protects public and private employees with a federal minimum wage, requirements for overtime pay, and youth employment standards. Despite protections established for children under the Act, children in the entertainment industry are expressly excluded from its protections. Instead, minors in the entertainment industry must rely on state regulation of their employment, which is often stricter and more protective than the Act. However, there is a massive loophole in that the entertainment industry in most states does not include child influencers and social media stars. With the increase in social media in the last decade, children in the social media sector are left in limbo about their rights and employment protections. State entertainment laws for minors must be extended to include the fast-growing number of children growing up in social media fame.

Education as the Cure to Expensive Workplace Injury Costs

The signing of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 decreased workplace deaths and injuries in the United States. Signed by President Richard Nixon more than fifty years ago, the purpose of the law is to secure “safe and healthful working conditions and to preserve our human resources.” One reason for enacting the law was to address the substantial financial burden that workplace injuries and illnesses put on interstate commerce. However, it is estimated that as of 2018, employers still spent an average of 1 billion dollars per week on workers’ compensation costs. This high price of workplace injuries can be reduced through more rigorous education and training for employees. Employers should be required to implement increased training and education to employees. Doing so would strengthen OSHA’s regulatory effect with a decrease in workplace incidents and the high price associated with them.