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January 27, 2023

Tech Week: Congressman’s Apt Call for AI Regulation, Google Ad Tech Lawsuit & More

U.S. Rep Introduces Unique Measure Calling for Regulation of AI: U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) introduced a resolution last week calling on Congress to establish a nonpartisan commission to make recommendations about how to regulate artificial intelligence. What made the bill unusual was that it was written entirely by the online AI chatbot ChatGPT, which has been drawing a lot of attention lately. Lieu gave the chatbot...

January 27, 2023

Labor Week: CA Fast-Food Worker Law on Hold, Paid Leave Coming to IL & More

CA’s New Fast-Food Industry Law on Hold: Implementation of a landmark law passed last year in California ( AB 257 ) aimed at improving working conditions for fast-food employees and potentially increasing their minimum wage up to $22 per hour has been put on hold, pending the outcome of a referendum on the law next year. California’s secretary of state announced last week that opponents of the law, including...

January 27, 2023

Health Week: State Lawmakers Target Vaccine Makers and Mandates, Abortion Pill Lawsuits in NC and WV & More

Flurry of Bills Targeting Vaccine Makers and Mandates: Already this year lawmakers in 18 states have introduced over 80 measures dealing with vaccine policy, according to Dorit Reiss, a professor at the University of California Hastings College of Law. Most of the legislation was introduced by conservative lawmakers and is targeted at those who make or mandate vaccines. Measures introduced in at least 10 states would...

January 27, 2023
States Taking Lead on Regulating Data Privacy

States Taking Lead on Regulating Data Privacy

With so much of our world online, data privacy has become a major concern for American policymakers. But in the absence of comprehensive federal legislation addressing data privacy, states are leading the way—creating compliance headaches for businesses. No U.S. Data Privacy Law — Yet In 2016, the European Union approved the General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR, which established guidelines for collecting...

January 13, 2023

Hospitals’ Problematic Use of Volunteer Staff, MT Lawmakers’ Full Health Agenda & More

U.S. Hospital Use of Volunteers May Violate Federal Rules: Volunteer workers have become an integral part of the labor force at hospitals across the country. According to analysis of federal and other data by Kaiser Health News, hospitals may use over $5 billion worth of free volunteer labor each year. Some labor experts say using volunteers puts hospitals, especially for-profit ones, at risk of violating federal...

January 13, 2023

Amazon Loses Bid to Overturn Union Victory at NYC Warehouse, Labor Policy Shifts in MI & More

NLRB Official Rejects Amazon’s Effort to Overturn Union Victory in NYC: A regional director of the National Labor Relations Board rejected Amazon’s effort to overturn a union victory at the company’s JFK8 warehouse on Staten Island, which has impeded contract negotiations between the company and the union. The NLRB official decided there was insufficient evidence supporting the company’s claim...

January 13, 2023

Continuing Rise of Illicit Crypto Use, DE Taking Second Shot at Right to Repair & More

Illicit Crypto Use Reaches $20B: The use of cryptocurrencies for illicit purposes reached a record $20.1 billion in 2022, according to data from blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis. Despite falling crypto transaction volumes overall, the value of illicit transactions rose for the second consecutive year. Transactions associated with entities subject to U.S. sanctions, most notably Russian crypto exchange Garantex...

January 12, 2023
Top Issues for State Lawmakers in 2023

Top Issues for State Lawmakers in 2023

As the nation has transitioned to living with COVID-19, the attention of state lawmakers has shifted away from pandemic-related matters like testing availability and vaccine distribution to other concerns. Many of the issues we expect to top state legislative agendas this year predate the pandemic, although some of them have become more pressing because of it. HEALTH Healthcare Workforce There already weren’t...

December 20, 2022
What It Takes to Build an Effective DEI Program

What It Takes to Build an Effective DEI Program

STATE NET ® THOUGHT LEADERSHIP SERIES What It Takes to Build an Effective DEI Program Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) has been an agenda item in corporate boardrooms for some time, but it has attracted more Growing Importance of DEI Fortune reported that American companies are now spending $8 billion annually on DEI initiatives. This financial commitment is likely to continue growing, as VentureBeat...

December 16, 2022

Governors Roundup: TikTok Ban, Death Sentences, Affordable Housing & More

More GOP Govs Ban TikTok Citing data privacy concerns, a growing number of Republican governors have issued orders barring the use of the popular Chinese-owned social media app TikTok from state-owned devices. South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem started the trend in November, and was quickly followed in kind by governors in Maryland, Alabama, Oklahoma, Georgia, Texas, South Carolina and Nebraska. They were subsequently...

December 16, 2022

Tech Week: Big Tech Seeks to Block CA’s New Child Online Protections, Nuclear Fusion Breakthrough & More

Big Tech Sues to Block CA Child Online Protection Law The tech industry group NetChoice is suing to block California’s new Age-Appropriate Design Code Act ( AB 2273 ), which is aimed at making the internet safer for kids. NetChoice, which includes Amazon, Google, Meta and Twitter, contends the law violates the First Amendment. The group has also sued Florida and Texas over laws passed in those states seeking to...

December 16, 2022

Healthcare Roundup: Hospitals Seek to Reduce Dependence on Nurse Staffing Agencies, Legal Blow for MT Anti-Vax Law & More

Hospitals Getting Creative to Mitigate Staffing Shortages With contract labor expenses up almost 500 percent from where they were before the pandemic, a growing number of hospital systems are creating in-house staffing systems to help them deal with the nationwide nursing shortage and reduce their dependence on private staffing agencies. The in-house systems allow nurses to earn more pay and have greater flexibility...

December 16, 2022
Wrapping up 2022...and 20 Years

Wrapping up 2022...and 20 Years

Former longtime U.S. Rep. Tip O’Neill (D-MA) famously lived by the mantra that “ all politics is local .” It was certainly true in O’Neil’s heyday, and it was still so when I got to the State Net Capitol Journal in 2002. But with all due respect to the late Congressman, these days it’s more accurate to say all politics is national. That evolution is a child with many fathers: too...

December 16, 2022

Major Insurance Reforms in FL & Insurance Protections for Hate Crime Victims in NY

FL Approves Major Property Insurance Reforms Florida lawmakers passed sweeping legislation aimed at ending the state’s years-long property insurance crisis. If signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), the bill ( SB 2 c ), which sailed through both chambers during the state’s second special session on insurance, will return state-created Citizens Property Insurance Corp. to the status of insurer of last resort by...

December 02, 2022

Governors Spotlight: Bitcoin Mining, TikTok Ban, DEI & More

NY Gov Partially Limits Bitcoin Mining, Signs NIL Bill New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) has signed legislation imposing the nation’s first temporary ban on new fossil fuel-powered cryptocurrency mining projects. The moratorium under AB 7389 applies to fossil-fuel power plants seeking new permits to convert to proof-of-work cryptocurrency mining, a process used in the transaction of digital currencies like Bitcoin...

December 02, 2022

Tech Week: SF Authorizes Deadly Police Robots, Twitter Stops Policing Covid Misinformation & More

SF Authorizes Police Use of Lethal Robots On an 8-3 vote, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors authorized police to deploy robots with lethal force in very rare cases involving violent suspects such as mass shooters. A minority of the board opposed the policy out of concern that it could let police kill too easily. The board adopted an amendment requiring a high-ranking SFPD leader to authorize the actual use...

December 02, 2022

Finance & Insurance Week: LA’s Insecure Insurance Market, FL’s Upcoming Insurance Special Session & More

Many LA Homeowners Insured by Small, Untested Carriers Before Hurricane Katrina struck Louisiana in 2005, most homeowners insured their properties with industry giants, like Allstate, Farmers, State Farm or USAA. But now many homeowners in the state are covered by small insurance companies that don’t even have agents or the local expertise necessary to write policies, outsourcing their operations to third parties...

December 02, 2022

Healthcare Roundup: Legal Snag for KS Telemedicine Abortion Ban, Potential $3.7T Economic Cost of Long Covid & More

Judge Blocks KS Law Banning Telemedicine Abortions A judge in Topeka, Kansas issued a preliminary injunction blocking enforcement of a 2011 Kansas law banning telemedicine abortions on a women’s clinic in Wichita, pending a ruling in the associated case. Shawnee County District Court Judge Teresa Watson’s order comes six months after the Kansas Court of Appeals reversed her prior denial of a preliminary...

December 02, 2022
Will Twitter’s Travails Curb Its Political Influence?

Will Twitter’s Travails Curb Its Political Influence?

Once again, Twitter played a meaningful role in the 2022 Midterm Elections, as it has in several previous elections. Democrat John Fetterman used Twitter to relentlessly mock his Republican opponent Dr. Mehmet Oz in their Pennsylvania Senate race while he was recovering from a stroke. (Remember the uproar over “crudité” ?) Herschel Walker’s son attacked his father on Twitter over a report...

November 18, 2022

Governors Spotlight: Medical Cannabis, Mass Shooting Preparations & More

MA Gov Signs $3.76B Development Plan Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) signed off on a $3.76 billion development plan that allocates hundreds of millions of dollars to affordable housing and helping hospitals and businesses harmed by the pandemic. The proposal – a compromise from an earlier $4 billion plan that Bay State lawmakers rejected over the summer – also commits $200 million to increasing wages...

November 18, 2022

Tech Week: Crypto Regulation Indecision, National Security Threat from Tik Tok & More

No Clear Direction on Crypto Regulation after FTX Crash The collapse this month of Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX, the third-largest cryptocurrency exchange by volume , has intensified calls for regulation of the industry. But exactly how to proceed with that task remains unclear. Some say federal legislation is called for. “The FTX bankruptcy is both devastating and alarming, but at the same time, not surprising...

November 18, 2022

Finance & Insurance Week: Ubiquity of Natural Disasters & New Insurance Producer Requirements in CA

Most U.S. Counties Suffered Natural Disaster in Past Decade Between 2011 and 2021, 90 percent of counties in the United States suffered a hurricane, flood, wildfire, drought or other natural event severe enough to have been declared a federal disaster, according to a report from Rebuild by Design, a nonprofit created by the Department of Housing and Urban Development shortly after Hurricane Sandy in 2012 to research...

November 18, 2022

Healthcare Roundup: Downside of Medical Bill Financing, State of Emergency for Respiratory Illnesses in OR & More

Medical Bill Financing Adding to Patient Debt Hospitals and other healthcare providers have traditionally offered patients interest-free payment plans to help them manage their medical bills. But providers have increasingly been relying on payment plans provided by financing companies, which promise to collect more of the money owed to the providers in exchange for a cut. The downside for patients is that the financing...

November 18, 2022
Voters Weigh in on Abortion, Other Health-Related Issues

Voters Weigh in on Abortion, Other Health-Related Issues

Along with deciding which party will control Congress and many state legislative chambers next year, voters across the country also weighed in this month on over 100 ballot measures. A number of those measures dealt with abortion and other health-related issues that helped shape the general course of the election. Voters Ponder Record Number of Abortion Measures As one of the most divisive issues in American politics...

November 04, 2022

Governors Spotlight: Homelessness, Step Therapy, Abortion Rights & More

CA Gov Blocks $1B in State Funds to Cities Not Doing Enough to End Homelessness Saying “Californians demand accountability and results, not settling for the status quo,” California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) blocked $1 billion in state funding to cities and counties he says are not doing enough to address homelessness in their communities. Newsom said he will withhold the funds until he has met with local leaders...