Tag Archives: new law

CA Allows Driverless Cars

This week the California Department of Motor Vehicles approved new rules that would allow self-driving cars to hit the road without a human behind the wheel at all.

These regulations, which take effect on April 2, 2018, will pave the way for companies like Waymo, Uber, GM, and others to continue autonomous vehicle testing on the roads of the Golden State and likely will lead to the technology becoming mainstream.

In 2014, California was the first state to have rules for testing autonomous vehicles on public streets. But many felt that those regulations were too restrictive and unable to adapt to a technology that is rapidly maturing. As a result, testing programs have flourished in other states, like Arizona.

“This is a major step forward for autonomous technology in California,” DMV Director Jean Shiomoto said. Safety is our top concern and we are ready to begin working with manufacturers that are prepared to test fully driverless vehicles in California.”

Among other requirements imposed as part of the permitting process, companies must show that there is a link for remote control, allowing the car to be operated from afar.

Autonomous vehicle makers must also provide a “law enforcement action plan” that includes instructions as to how to contact the remote human operator and how to disengage the AV mode, among other requirements. The rules do not say what type of data law enforcement will be able to access from AVs. Consumer Watchdog, a group that has routinely opposed AV technology, slammed the new rules this week. “A remote test operator will be allowed to monitor and attempt to control the robot car from afar,” said John M. Simpson, the group’s privacy project director. “It will be just like playing a video game, except lives will be at stake.”

 

New Laws in Arizona Summer 2017

The following new laws become effective in Arizona on August 9, 2017:

The Motor Vehicle Division cannot suspend the licenses of those who fail to respond to their citations. 

Dog racing is now illegal across the state. 

For spouses or dependents of military members killed in the line of duty, free car registrations become available.

The minimum wage will be increasing for workers, who can now expect $10 an hour. 

Homeowners with short-term rental homes on sharing websites like Airbnb and Homeaway will now have state taxes collected from the companies. The website companies will then forward the taxes to the Department of Revenue. 

In upcoming elections, pamphlets must be mailed to every household with registered voters showing what will be on the ballots. 

Got one of those plastic covers on your license plate to thwart photo radar?  They are now illegal.

Other laws range from expanding who can teach in Arizona classrooms and when police need warrants to track cell phones to exactly how much of someone’s foot a podiatrist can amputate (it’s a toe — not a foot).

Legislation to bar the state’s newest drivers from using cell phones does not take effect until July 1, 2018.

And a bill to set up procedures for people to argue about what they are charged by out-of-network hospitals does not become law until Jan. 1, 2019.

 

Tax News for 2016

Estate or Inheritance Taxes

For 2016, the estate and gift tax exemption is $5.45 million per individual.  What does this mean?  Each person must have an estate in excess of almost five and a half million dollars before any federal tax kicks in.  That means an individual can leave $5.45 million to heirs and pay no federal estate or gift tax.  A married couple will be able to shield $10.9 million from federal estate and gift taxes. Good news!  Our state of Arizona has no estate tax whatsoever.

Gift Taxes

What about gift giving?  Well, for 2016 the annual gift exclusion remains  $14,000.  Again, this is the federal government — Arizona does not have a gift tax at all.  The donor is generally responsible for paying the gift tax. Under special arrangements the donee may agree to pay the tax instead.

What can be excluded from gifts?

The general rule is that any gift is a taxable gift.  However, there are many exceptions to this rule.  The following are not taxable gifts:

•Gifts that are not more than the annual exclusion for the calendar year.

•Tuition or medical expenses you pay for someone (the educational and medical exclusions).

•Gifts to your spouse.

•Gifts to a political organization for its use.

In addition to this, gifts to qualifying charities are deductible from the value of the gift(s) made.

 

Argentina’s Debt Default

This week, Argentina failed to reach an agreement with several hedge funds holding its bonds and has defaulted on its debt payments.  Standard & Poors has lowered the country’s rating to “selective default,” meaning that Argentina has failed to make some interest payments on its bonds.  Argentina’s economy minister, Axel Kicillof, stated that the “vulture” hedge funds had declined to accept Argentina’s offer to swap out their bonds for new ones and that he was therefore heading home.

Mr. Kicillof did not inspire confidence during his press conference at the Argentine consulate in New York after the talks fell apart.  Instead, he left the impression that Argentina barely negotiated at all, offering the holdout bondholders the option to trade in their bonds at terms offered to those who participated in the restructurings in 2005 and 2010—the very terms the holdout investors have been fighting for years now. The country has the money to pay the bonds. But a federal court in Manhattan has ruled that unless it settles its debt dispute with hedge fund Elliott Management and other holdouts from its previous debt default, it is barred from paying its main bondholders.

While the stock market has acted as though the threat of default wasn’t real, and that even if it did happen the consequences would be minor, economic default is a serious matter for the people of Argentina. As the court-appointed mediator in the dispute, Daniel Pollack, an attorney at McCarter & English, put it: “Unfortunately, no agreement was reached and the Republic of Argentina will imminently be in default.  Default is not a mere ‘technical’ condition, but rather a real and painful event that will hurt real people: these include all ordinary Argentine citizens, the exchange bondholders (who will not receive their interest) and the holdouts (who will not receive payment of the judgments they obtained in court). The full consequences of default are not predictable, but they certainly are not positive.”

The government of Argentina now faces a stark choice: Try to restart negotiations with investors it has repeatedly called “vultures,” who have insisted on full repayment. Or it can remain ensnared in a default that could weigh on the country’s fragile economy and unsettle global markets.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this blog is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. No recipients of content from the site, the clients or otherwise, should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content included in the site without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from an attorney licensed in the recipient’s state. The content of this blog contains general information and may not reflect current legal developments, verdicts, or settlements. The Tucker Law Firm expressly disclaims all liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all of the contents of this blog.

 

Immigrant Children Wait For a Visa

A divided Supreme Court ruled Monday that immigrant children who waited for years with their parents to obtain visas still have to go to the back of the line when they turn 21. In a 5-4 decision, the justices sided with the Obama administration in finding that immigration laws offer relief to only a small percentage of children who “age out” of the system. The majority no longer qualify for the immigration status granted to minors.

The case involved Rosalina Cuellar de Osorio, a Salvadoran immigrant who was in line for a visa along with her 13-year-old son. But after years of waiting, her son turned 21 and government officials said he no longer qualified as an eligible child. He was placed at the back of the line, resulting in a wait of several more years. The family won before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals but the Supreme Court reversed that decision.

Writing for the majority, Justice Elena Kagan said the law directs immigration officials to automatically convert a 21-year-old child’s petition into a category for adults. The only immigrants who can stay in line are those who would already qualify under the new adult category. The case does not have any impact on the recent influx of thousands of immigrant children traveling on their own to cross the U.S. border from Mexico.

Because approving families for green cards can take years, several thousand immigrant children age out of the system each year, according to government estimates.

Congress tried to fix the problem in 2002 when it passed the Child Status Protection Act. The law allows aged-out children to retain their child status longer or qualify for a valid adult category and keep their initial priority date. But appeals courts have split over whether the law applies to all children or only those in specific categories. The Obama administration argued that the law applied only to a narrow category of immigrants, leaving out most of the children affected. Government attorneys said that applying the law too broadly would lead to too many young adults entering the country ahead of others waiting in line. In dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor said the law should be read to allow all aged-out children to keep their place in line.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this blog is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. No recipients of content from the site, the clients or otherwise, should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content included in the site without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from an attorney licensed in the recipient’s state. The content of this blog contains general information and may not reflect current legal developments, verdicts, or settlements. The Tucker Law Firm expressly disclaims all liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all of the contents of this blog.

 

MN & SC Approve Medical Marijuana

Minnesota recently legalized the medical use of marijuana. Now, the Minnesota Department of Health is seeking a director and about ten other employees for its new Office of Medical Cannabis, which will implement the medical marijuana bill signed into law last month by Gov. Mark Dayton.

Minnesota’s new law lets patients obtain marijuana in a liquid or pill form, but they won’t be allowed to smoke marijuana or use plant materials in vaporizers. Patients need a doctor’s certification to be part of the registry.

Two manufacturers will be certified in 2015, and each will have four distribution points spread across the state by July 2016. Unfortunately, patients will only be able to access marijuana in an extracted form, not the natural flowers, and the law requires patients and their doctors to participate in an onerous and costly study. The compromise also prohibits patients with intractable pain, wasting, and nausea from legally using medical cannabis despite good science showing it works for these terrible ailments.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) signed the Medical Cannabis Therapeutic Treatment Research Act into law this week, clearing the way for children with severe epilepsy to use cannabidiol oil (CBD), a non-psychoactive derivative of cannabis, to help reduce their seizures if recommended by a licensed physician. If it has been recommended by a licensed physician then you can easily shop cbd online if you wanted. This bill has shown that there is a big confusion between CBD and marijuana and the public is unsure of the differences between them. With CBD, it must contain less than 0.3 percent THC whereas marijuana is over that. If you would like to look into more of the differences then visit https://www.neotericnutra.com/blog/does-marijuana-have-any-of-the-medical-benefits-that-cbd-has.

The bill, which passed the Senate unanimously and cleared the House with a 92-5 vote, will also designate a new clinical trial at the Medical University of South Carolina dedicated to evaluating the effectiveness of CBD in controlling epileptic seizures. Seven other states, Alabama, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, Utah and Wisconsin, have also implemented similar CBD-only medical marijuana proposals in the past four months. Almost half the states and DC now allow the use of medical marijuana. It’s now much easier to get medical marijuana, for example, you can even now get marijuana doctors in florida to help you out if needs be. Just google it and you’ll find a place that will allow medical marijuana.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this blog is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. No recipients of content from the site, the clients or otherwise, should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content included in the site without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from an attorney licensed in the recipient’s state. The content of this blog contains general information and may not reflect current legal developments, verdicts, or settlements. The Tucker Law Firm expressly disclaims all liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all of the contents of this blog.

Legalized Pot: a Money Pot of Seized Assets Disappears

When pot is legal, the reason to seize and sell drug assets confiscated by law enforcement disappears.

A drug task force in Washington’s Snohomish County has been funded in part by cash, cars, houses and other assets seized from marijuana purveyors. But with recreational pot becoming legal in the state, this funding is going away.  Snohomish’s drug fighting operation, one of 19 such task forces in the state, brought in about $200,000 from forfeitures in marijuana cases in 2012—15% of its funding that year; the haul has exceeded $1 million in years past.

With marijuana legalized for those at least 21 in Washington this summer and in Colorado now, law enforcement agencies expect to lose millions in revenue gained from assets seized and sold from growers and dealers.

Alison Holcomb, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer who was lead author of the Washington marijuana legalization ballot measure, said no taxes were earmarked for law enforcement “in part because we’re making this substance legal. It doesn’t make sense there would be an increased need for law enforcement.”

Nationally, assets forfeited in marijuana cases from 2002 through 2012 accounted for $1 billion of the $6.5 billion from all drug busts, according to data from the U.S. Department of Justice.  Narcotics investigators in both Washington and Colorado say they are focusing more on the heroin trade.  The U.S. Department of Justice has pledged a hands-off approach even though marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this blog is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. No recipients of content from the site, the clients or otherwise, should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content included in the site without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from an attorney licensed in the recipient’s state. The content of this blog contains general information and may not reflect current legal developments, verdicts, or settlements. The Tucker Law Firm expressly disclaims all liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all of the contents of this blog.

 

 

Revenge Porn: What is it?

You may have seen sporadic arrests and allegations of wrongdoing by those accused of “revenge porn” and are wondering about this trend.

Simply put, revenge porn, which shouldn’t be confused with regular adult content from websites similar to www.tubev.sex, is a murky form of extortion where photos or videos are posted on a website and then a party attempts to collect money from those who are depicted in the photos or videos to remove the material from the website. It is “murky” because many times the posted material is legally acquired through ex-lovers or former mates after being taken with the victim’s consent. California’s attorney general, Kamala Harris, has come out strongly against the practice stating recently, “Online predators that profit from the extortion of private photos will be investigated and prosecuted for this reprehensible and illegal internet activity.”

The sites are difficult to take down and prosecute because there is no comprehensive federal invasion of privacy law. To make matters more complicated, site operators may claim they are not responsible for user-submitted content due to the Communications Decency Act, which prevents sites from being held liable for user-posted content.

In October, 2013, California enacted a law that makes posting explicit images of someone without permission punishable with six months in prison. Senate Bill 255, which took effect immediately, makes it a misdemeanor to post identifiable nude pictures of someone else online without permission with the intent to cause emotional distress or humiliation. The penalty is up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this blog is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. No recipients of content from the site, the clients or otherwise, should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content included in the site without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from an attorney licensed in the recipient’s state. The content of this blog contains general information and may not reflect current legal developments, verdicts, or settlements. The Tucker Law Firm expressly disclaims all liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all of the contents of this blog.

New Laws in 2014

Here is a round-up of some of the most interesting new laws taking effect on New Year’s Day, 2014:

Arkansas voters must now show a photo ID at polling places, while Virginia voters for the first time will be able to register online.

California students must be allowed to play school sports and use school bathrooms “consistent with their gender identity,” regardless of their birth identity.

• Colorado 16-year-olds will be able to pre-register to vote, but must still wait until they’re 18 to vote.  More significantly, adults age 21 or older will be able to buy up to an ounce of marijuana for recreational use from a state-licensed retail store.  Out of state residents can purchase smaller amounts.

Connecticut new gun-control laws in the aftermath of the school shooting in Newtown include mandatory registration of all assault weapons and large-capacity ammunition magazines bought before April 2013, and creation of a statewide registry that will track parolees whose crimes involved weapons.

Delaware sale, possession or distribution of shark fins prohibited.

 Illinois anyone who flicks a cigarette butt on a street or sidewalk could be fined at least $50 for littering; police must receive training on the psychological and physiological effects of stun guns, and penalties are now tougher for inciting a violent flash mob or riot via social media.

Maine becomes the 48th state to require a check-off for organ donation on driver’s licenses to promote organ donation.

Oregon new mothers will now be able to take their placentas home from the hospital which may have positive health benefits. Smoking is banned in motor vehicles when children are present. Also, privately run websites that feature police mug shots must take down photos for free if subjects can show they were not guilty or that charges were dropped.

• Rhode Island Becomes the eighth state to prohibit prospective employers from inquiring into an applicant’s criminal history on written job applications.

Washington state, voters approved recreational use of marijuana in 2012, and stores are expected to open later this year.

Minimum-wage increases take effect in four northeastern states: Connecticut’s rises to $8.70 an hour; New Jersey’s to $8.25; and New York’s and Rhode Island’s to $8. In California, the minimum wage rises to $9.00 an hour in July and then to $10.00 in 2016.  Nine other states have automatic increases because it’s indexed to inflation.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this blog is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. No recipients of content from the site, the clients or otherwise, should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content included in the site without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from an attorney licensed in the recipient’s state. The content of this blog contains general information and may not reflect current legal developments, verdicts, or settlements. The Tucker Law Firm expressly disclaims all liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all of the contents of this blog.

 

New CA Restrictions on More Than 10 Round Magazine Firearms

The signing into law of AB 48 in California adds “buying” and “receiving” to the list of activities prohibited under Penal Code Section 32310(a), which already prohibits the manufacture, importation, sale, offering for sale, giving, or lending of any standard-capacity magazine greater than ten rounds (“large-capacity magazine”).  The provisions of this new law take effect on January 1, 2014.

AB 48 also defines manufacturing as “both fabricating a magazine and assembling a magazine from a combination of parts, including but not limited to, the body, spring, follower, and floor plate or end plate, to be a fully-functioning “large-capacity magazine.”

Moreover, AB 48 bans the purchase, sale, offering for sale, giving, receiving and lending of any “large-capacity magazine” “conversion kit.”  It defines a “conversion kit” as “a device or combination of parts of a fully functioning “large-capacity magazine,” including, but not limited to, the body, spring, follower, and floor plate or end plate, capable of converting an ammunition feeding device into a ‘large-capacity magazine’.”  The new law also prohibits magazine extenders.

Finally, it appears that so-called “rebuild kits” are prohibited under AB 48 because the parts contained in a magazine rebuild kit are capable of being used with one or more parts of an ammunition feeding device to assemble a large-capacity magazine and thus fall under AB 48.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this blog is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. No recipients of content from the site, the clients or otherwise, should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content included in the site without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from an attorney licensed in the recipient’s state. The content of this blog contains general information and may not reflect current legal developments, verdicts, or settlements. The Tucker Law Firm expressly disclaims all liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all of the contents of this blog.