Law and Public Policy

How long will it be unsafe?

Over a month ago I contacted one of the folks at UNLV who deals with fire extinguishers. My intent was to bring to their attention that for at least two months many of the boxes labeled for fire extinguishers in the parking structure have been empty. I listened patiently as I was told that they are frequently stolen and it takes a while to replace them. I said that I understood completely but couldn't we cover the signs up so that while we are waiting for them to be replaced some unfortunate person does not run to several boxes while a fire burns and find each empty. The reply was a solid no. You see it's mandated by fire authorities that we have these boxes so we can't cover up the labels.

So it's better that someone burn while looking for a fire extinguisher than know ahead of time where to find one that is actually there.

Court refuses to hear case again

The 9th circuit court is refusing to reconsider its May decision upholding Oregon's assisted suicide law. The refusal follows a ruling in May by a three-judge panel of the court that upheld the law in Oregon v. Ashcroft. Stemming from Oregon voters' passage of the Death with Dignity Act the case pits state's rights to make their own laws against the Bush Administration's attempt to further regulate every aspect of a person's life from pre-conception to post-mortem.

Anohter attack on states rights

As the people of the country wait for the Senate to once again take up the business of running the country (whilst they are currently debating removing civil rights from the constinution) comes word of another attack on states rights. The Bush Administration, after being elected on a platform of states rights, is now trying to strike down state law in Oregon.

In an unusual move Ashcroft asked the 9th circuit to rehear the case instead of taking the case before the Supreme Court. Could it be that the administration woul

Homeland security threat level

When you can't win at the ballot box then move the ballot box. We learned earlier this year that the methods of extracting information from prisioners, borrowed from sadistic dictators, had been added to the adminstration's bag of tricks. Now comes the news that the Department of Homeland Security is looing at ways of postponing elections. Does it scare anyone that a president who was not elected by a majority of the people, who leads his country to destroy a weaker country on the basis of l

Search engines and judges

Jeff Beard has a good article about issues related to judicial use of search engines. The Cnet article which Beard cites has several examples of how Google has appeared in many cases where judges have done outside research on issues and citations of Google in opinions and the courtroom.

This is just one area where the increasing use of search engines will intersect with the law. When I was going through the interview process for my current job someone from my new employer did a google search on my name and visited this site. Similarly when I was on the other side of the table interviewing a candidate recently they had conducted a similar search and also arrived at this site. What many non-system administrator types may not know is that when they do this I get a record of the exact terms they used to search for the information. It does not take a great deal of imagination to reach a hypothetical situation where someone does a search on my name and combines it with a term I deem to be discriminatory leading to my deciding the reason I didn't get a job had to do with some such search.

Ignoring State Charity Laws? has a good article about "countless charities" ignoring state solicitation laws. Quick test for webmasters - do you know what your state's laws say about soliciting charitable donations online? Many charitable organizations fail to follow the rules offline as well as online. I can't count the number of charities with collection jars at various small convenience stores. Only occasionally when I see them do they have the statements that are required by Colorado law. I would hazard a guess that many well-meaning boards of directors and corporate executives for charitable organizations don't know the laws exist.


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