Posts Tagged ‘Philadelphia’

Wage and hour roundup

  • Decision time coming up for administration on whether to reverse one of Obama’s worst initiatives, overtime for junior managers [Veronique de Rugy; Robin Shea]
  • California observes different rule on overtime for offshore oil workers than does federal government, exposing employers to huge retroactive back pay liability [Washington Legal Foundation, Supreme Court granted certiorari last month in Newton v. Parker Drilling]
  • Today in bad ideas: Philadelphia becomes latest jurisdiction to regulate shifts and scheduling in retail, hospitality [Juliana Feliciano Reyes, Philadelphia Inquirer/WHYY, Drinker Biddle/National Law Review, Max Marin/BillyPenn]
  • “I’m a restaurant employee in a city with a $15 minimum wage; here’s how it’s hurt me” [Simone Barron, Washington Examiner] Virginia could wind up with a $15 minimum law before long, tough luck for rural parts of state [Hans Bader]
  • “Nurses allege Corona, Calif. underpaid them, rounding down their time to the nearest quarter hour. Ninth Circuit: This can proceed as a class action. Five judges, dissenting from denial of en banc review: The only evidence in support of the nurses’ claim is a declaration from plaintiffs’ lawyers’ paralegal, which is plainly not admissible. ‘This doesn’t pass the straight-face test.'” [Short Circuit on Sali v. Corona Regional Medical Center, Ninth Circuit panel, denial of en banc rehearing]
  • “The Impact of The New German Minimum Wage” [Ryan Bourne]

Asset forfeiture: Philly, Texas, South Carolina, Mississippi

Investigation of asset forfeiture outrages in Philadelphia, where the D.A. “pursued nearly door-to-door confiscation of real estate” on some blocks [Ryan Briggs, Plan Philly] Texas police made more than $50 million in 2017 from seizing people’s property, but not everyone was guilty of a crime [Texas Tribune] How police departments in South Carolina make millions by seizing property [Anna Lee, Nathaniel Cary and Mike Ellis, Greenville News] “Civil Asset Forfeiture: An Overview & Conversation”, short video featuring Stefan Cassella and Darpana Sheth [Federalist Society] And this is how the Governor of Mississippi, Phil Bryant, defends forfeiture [@PhilBryantMS on Twitter]

Food and paternalism roundup

  • “Sandwiches and main meal salads will be capped at 550 calories, ready meals will be capped at 544 calories and main courses in restaurants will be capped at 951 calories.” Guidelines from Public Health England aren’t mandatory yet, but expect U.K. government pressure on supermarkets and restaurants [Christopher Snowdon, Baylen Linnekin, Scott Shackford, Ryan Bourne]
  • “We are not saying they can never give children a chocolate or biscuit ever again,” says the Public Health England official. “But it cannot be a daily occurrence.” And more from “2018: The [mostly U.K.] nanny state year in review” [Snowdon]
  • Research paper on Philadelphia soda tax: cross-border shopping completely offsets in-city reduction in beverage sales, “no significant reduction in calorie and sugar intake.” [Stephan Seiler, Anna Tuchman, and Song Yao, SSRN via Caron/TaxProf] More: owner blames tax for closure of Philly supermarket [Eric Boehm]
  • Alternative headline: feds act to curb food waste by giving local schools more freedom to offer lunches kids will willingly eat [Jaden Urbi, CNBC]
  • “Los Angeles councilmember Paul Koretz [has] introduced a bill that, if passed, would require entertainment and travel venues around town to put at least one vegan dish on their menus.” [Clint Rainey, Grub Street; Scott Shackford]
  • “Dollar stores are the latest target of advocates who want to improve food offerings by limiting them” [Baylen Linnekin]

Philadelphia might finally clean up its forfeiture act

“If a judge accepts the agreement, Philadelphia’s process of seizing many millions of dollars in property from innocent owners will be dismantled. Darpana Sheth of the Institute for Justice explains why” in this Cato Daily Podcast with Caleb Brown. More: Tom McDonald, WHYY; C.J. Ciaramella, Reason; Tim Cushing, Techdirt, and earlier from our long-running coverage of Philadelphia’s remarkable and outrageous forfeiture practices.

No escape from gas liens for Philadelphia landlords

John K. Ross, Short Circuit: “When tenants fail to pay gas bills, Philadelphia’s municipal utility allows debts to pile up for years without notifying landlords, then puts a lien on the property—effectively making the landlords liable for the debt. When landlords complain, the utility tells them to file a complaint with a state agency that has no jurisdiction to address their complaints. Third Circuit: No due process problem here.” [Augustin v. City of Philadelphia]

June 6 roundup

  • “Prosecutors say use of condoms manufactured outside state made sex crime a federal offense” [ABA Journal]
  • Philadelphia family court judge, much criticized in course of appellate review, now subject of probe by state Judicial Conduct Board [Samantha Melamed, Philly.com]
  • Check out illustration: would you be likely to confuse cartoon beaver with cartoon alligator? Texas jury in trademark dispute thinks you would [Lowering the Bar]
  • Panels at Federalist Society’s annual Executive Branch Review Conference tackle disparate impact, litigation and regulatory reform, and civil service reform, including participants like Gail Heriot, Roger Clegg, Stuart Taylor, Jr, and Philip K. Howard;
  • British restrictions on trial reporting wrongly infringe on liberty of press, but at core of Tommy Robinson affair is old-fashioned contempt of court [Daniel Hannan, Washington Examiner]
  • Animal Legal Defense Fund argues animals should have standing to sue persons who abuse them, opening many new employment opportunities for lawyers at places like ALDF [KATU; related, recent Ninth Circuit monkey-selfie ruling]

School discipline roundup

Seattle: beverage tax backers on sugar high

The city of Seattle has now put its stiff new 1.75 cents per ounce tax on sugary beverages (text of bill) into effect, and Costco managers in the tech city, much to their credit, have not hesitated to post signs informing shoppers of its impact. According to a reporter’s photo, the sign atop a Gatorade Frost Variety Pack lists the regular Costco price of $15.99 along with $10.34 in newly added Seattle tax for a total of $26.33. Helpfully, an adjacent sign advises shoppers that the same item “is also available at our Tukwila and Shoreline locations without City of Seattle Sweetened Beverage Tax.”

Following KIRO7 News coverage of the story, Scott Drenkard of the Tax Foundation wrote a funny Twitter thread on the positions taken by the various advocates:

  • “First they interview people at the Costco who are rightfully shocked at how high prices on soda and sports drinks are now (they are almost doubled).”
  • “Then they interview a public health advocate who says ‘that’s right! We want these prices to change people’s behavior and slow sales!’”
  • “Then they talk to the consumer, ‘think you’ll change your behavior, maybe even shop somewhere else?’ And she’s like, ‘ya the Tukwila store is close enough.’ Then they ask a city council member if this will hurt local biz, who says ‘there is no data’ suggesting that.”
  • “Then the SAME public health advocate says that people won’t respond to price increases, shopping elsewhere because it isn’t ‘worth their while.’”
  • “You can’t have it both ways people! The tax is either big enough to elicit behavior change, which would slow sales and hurt local biz and potentially reduce calories, or it isn’t. Get your stories straight!”

In 2016 I wrote about Philadelphia’s soda tax that “while all taxes are evaded to some extent, excise taxes are especially subject to evasion based on local geography”, and followed up on the Philly measure’s possible openings for unlawful evasion and eventual public corruption. Seattle authorities intend to use the hoped-for $15 million revenue stream to fund various causes and organizations including an effort to bring fresh fruits and vegetables to urban neighborhoods, even though the once-voguish “food deserts” theory blaming dietary choices on the retail environment has sufferedone debunking after another in recent years. [cross-posted and expanded from Cato at Liberty]

P.S. I used to see this constantly from trial lawyers and their advocates on the question of whether it was a good thing for liability insurance rates to rise reflecting the big liberalization of tort recovery that was going on when I wrote The Litigation Explosion. Higher rates were socially desirable, they would say, because they would expose and discourage dangerous actors, such as incompetent doctors and drivers. There followed a big public reaction when it turned out it was not so easy to pick out bad apples ahead of time and that entire specialties like obstetricians and neurosurgeons were having to pay massive premiums. They then switched to the position that there was no connection between expected future payouts and liability premiums, that the problem was insurance companies being greedy, and that liability insurance rates should be frozen by law.

P.P.S. “Philadelphia implemented a 1.5-cent tax on soda in January of last year. …By August, the marketing firm Catalania found a 55 percent decline in the sale of carbonated soft drinks within the city limits — and a 38 percent jump in stores just outside of Philadelphia. Revenue from Philadelphia’s soda tax has also proven disappointing, coming in at $7 million below projections for fiscal year 2017.” [Christian Britschgi, Reason]