Since my last blog on this subject, dated November 28, 2016, two more states have enacted Right to Work laws. This brings to twenty-eight the total number of states having such laws, which prohibit requirements that workers pay union dues as a condition of employment. Kentucky's Right to Work law was signed by Governor Matt Bevin on January 7, 2017; it took effect immediately. Missouri's was signed by Governor Eric Greitens on February 6, 2017. It will not go into effect until August 28, 2017. Moreover, if unions obtain a sufficient number of signatures on a petition for a referendum, it will not go into effect unless Missouri voters approve the new law in the 2018 general election. [Read More]
The Missouri House of Representatives has passed collateral source rule legislation; the bill had already been approved by the state's senate earlier in the year. The collateral source rule limits tort plaintiffs' recovery to the actual costs of medical payments rather than the listed value of the procedures. Read more at The Missouri Times.
Ride sharing company Uber has filed a lawsuit citing the Supreme Court's recent North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners v. FTC decision to challenge a local taxi regulator on antitrust grounds. The Dental Examiners opinion limited the scope of state-action antitrust immunity, specifically for regulatory bodies made up of market participants from the regulated line of work. Read more at Forbes.
Uber's legal fortunes continue to be mixed in Europe, however, as the French Constitutional Council upheld a law banning the company's service allowing non-professional drivers in that country, "Uberpop." Read more at the Wall Street Journal.
A panel of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the District Court's dismissal of a lawsuit alleging that New York State's prohibition on "gravity knives" has been enforced by New York City in a way that renders the law unconstitutionally vague. Read more at Reuters.
The Missouri Supreme Court ruled 6-1 that several red-light camera programs in the state were unconstitutional. The cities treated the fines like parking tickets, which are tied to the vehicle, but should have treated the fines like moving violations, which are tied to the driver. Since the cameras failed to capture a photo of the driver, shifting the burden of persuasion to the driver to prove he or she was not in the vehicle was unconstitutional. Read more at St. Louis Public Radio.
The Virginia House of Delegates is locked in a dispute with the Virginia Senate and Governor regarding whether a special session of the state General Assembly has been adjourned. At stake is a temporary appointment made by Governor Terry McAuliffe to the state supreme court. The Republicans in the legislature wish to replace this pick with their own selection, but senate Democrats joined by one Republican claim they adjourned the session before the matter was taken up. Read more at the Washington Post.
The Alaska Legislature has retained counsel to sue Governor Bill Walker over his unilateral decision to accept Medicare expansion funding under the Affordable Care Act. Legislative leaders claim the governor exceeded his power under the state constitution by acting unilaterally. Read more at Alaska Dispatch News.