As thousands of schools across the country comply with state and local social distancing orders due to the global pandemic COVID-19 for this 2020-21 school year, many schools are now faced with having to educate students from their homes in either hybrid or fully remote models. Millions of students are now utilizing online educational services to aid in remote learning. Although these education technology companies (“EdTech”) are now providing crucial remote learning opportunities for students, school districts must also keep students’ privacy rights in mind. Many of these EdTech services will collect and use personal information of students who use their services. This is where the Federal Trade Commission’s Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”) pertains.
On September 16, The Big Ten conference announced the reversal of the decision to postpone fall sports and will resume football the week of Oct. 23rd. On that same day, Governor J.B. Pritzker announced elementary and high school football teams will still not return for the fall. With football being a contact sport, the risk of spreading COVID-19 is very high. There are hopes for Illinois high school football to return in the spring but as of now, there are not enough resources to comply with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) and local authorities’ guidelines.
If you live in Illinois, you have likely seen in the past couple of days this vibrant blue commercial at least once or twice. The commercial encourages Illinois voters to “Vote Yes for Fairness” at the polls this November by voting their approval of an amendment to the 1970 Illinois Constitution. The proposed amendment would change the state’s current state income system from a flat tax to a graduated income tax. Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker made the adoption of a progressive income tax a centerpiece of his policy agenda in a budget address back in February 2019, and it was geared up to be a focus of election-season debates before the COVID-19 pandemic took precedence. With the Illinois general election less than fifty days away, however, the ‘Vote Yes for Fairness’ campaign has bolstered its attempts at garnering voters’ approval of the proposed amendment.
There is poison in the water. The Flint water crisis has ravaged the city of Flint, Michigan, permanently altering how many in the community see the role of government.
On August 20th, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced a $600 million settlement between several state actors and victims of the Flint water crisis. Finally, six years after exposing residents to dangerous levels of lead in the water, the residents of Flint will receive their duly needed compensation. Unfortunately, it may be too little, too late for Flint, and there is little to prevent the crisis from repeating itself elsewhere without deliberate action.
In response to the rise in teenage vaping, and given the link between respiratory issues and COVID-19, the Chicago City Council (“City Council”) passed an ordinance on September 9, 2020 banning the sale of flavored vaping products. Flavored vaping products are targeted to youth and can also mislead them to believe that flavored products are safer than other tobacco products. The City Council originally proposed banning all flavored nicotine products, but after pressure from small business owners, they decided to only pursue a ban on flavored vaping products.
In the long standing and highly regulated field of workers’ compensation, a look into the recent landscape of laws, regulations, and court decisions in New Mexico could provide a snapshot into the rapidly accelerating trajectory of medical cannabis regulation within a state’s workers’ compensation system.
It’s been nearly two years since Chinese researcher He Jiankui shocked the scientific community and the world when he claimed to have genetically modified the genome of two human babies for resistance to HIV using CRISPR technology. Jiankui operated under the guise of reducing the HIV/AIDS disease burden in Africa, a seemingly admirable pursuit. But geneticists and ethicists considered the experiment , and done in pursuit of personal gain.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (“WHD”) recently announced alterations to its previous regulations which expanded family and medical leave provisions and paid sick leave of April’s Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”). These revisions serve to clarify the responsibilities of employers and the rights of workers as they relate to the paid leave of FFCRA. These revisions come after a decision from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York which invalidated portions of the initial regulations. The WHD’s revisions are an example of the lack of clarity and adequate response from regulations designed to protect workers during the current pandemic.
A whistleblower recently called attention to unsafe landing practices at the Detroit Metro Airport. The whistleblower, a veteran air traffic controller, has helped uncover dangerous flaws in the airport’s instrument landing system (ILS). This system emits radio waves that help guide approaching aircraft to the center of the runway. Air traffic control recordings attest to the danger, as many pilots have voiced complaints about the flawed system upon landing. Nevertheless, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has failed to take immediate corrective actions. The U.S. Special Counsel recently notified the President about this lapse in safety, but it remains to be determined whether officials at the Detroit Metro Airport have repaired or replaced the faulty system.
During his election campaign, President Trump hired Cambridge Analytica, a political data firm, to gain access to the private data of more than 50 million Facebook users. The data included users’ personal identities, friend networks, and “likes.” The election campaign and Cambridge Analytica team used users’ data to target political and digital ads, increase online fundraising, and reach out to and sway undecided voters.
In 2019, following intense public criticism and accusations of political bias and censorship, Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, began advocating for the regulation of four areas: harmful content, election integrity, privacy, and data portability. However, no legislation has been passed, no regulation has been implemented, and Zuckerberg has not offered support for any proposals. A blank promise with no action. Congress needs to work with countries around the globe in order to regulate Facebook as a public utility and ensure that hate speech and incitements of violence are not tolerated.