A federal judge in the Western District of Missouri has ruled for GEICO in a lawsuit seeking a declaratory judgment that its auto policy doesn’t cover damages for a sexually transmitted disease contracted during car sex. http://ow.ly/K5eV50NhQ3p #insurancelaw
Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) During Car Sex Is Not Covered by Car Insurance
Bill to ban cat declawing introduced in Illinois State Capitol
A bill that would ban cat declawing and similar procedures has been introduced in the State Capitol. If the bill passes, anyone who violates it could pay $500 for the first violation, $1,000 for the second and $2,500 for the third.
“I bet a pound of catnip many owners that know how painful and inhumane this action is to cats,” Rep. Barbara Hernandez (D-Aurora), the bill’s sponsor, said on Twitter. “Declawing a cat just because someone doesn’t want them to scratch the furniture is unacceptable.”
The decision of whether to declaw a cat is one many cat owners including Becca Bebar, the hospital manager of Northgate Pet Clinic, have faced.
Compared to her other two cats, Bebar said the one with no claws behaves differently.
“If anybody moves or kind of touches her, she gets really freaked out and then runs away, she really will only come to me and not anybody else in my family, versus my other two [and they] could absolutely care less and we’ll go up to anybody who even comes into the house” Bebar said.
Dr. Larry Baker, a veterinarian and dental specialist at Northgate Pet Clinic, said he wouldn’t encourage people to declaw their cats.
“The best reason to declaw a cat is an owner that has their cat likes their cat, gets along with their family well, and they’re ruining their furniture, and the owner says, ‘I am going to have to get rid of this cat or have them declawed,’ then to me, there’s no question about it. I would declaw rather than have them get rid of the cat,” Baker said.U of I researchers discovering new uses for biowaste, from elephant DNA to fuel production
But for cat owners who are tired of the scratching but don’t want to declaw their cats, Baker said there are some alternatives.
“One is they can trim the nails themselves,” Baker said. “Secondly, there are little claw tips that are made of plastic they could put on the claws and glue on the nails so the cat can’t scratch.”
Zero Bail Policies Result in More Crime Victims According to a California Study
Jeff Reisig’s office, California District Attorney just completed a study on the comparative impacts of court-ordered Zero Bail ($0 Bail) over a 13 month period in my county.
The results were staggering. Zero bail releases resulted in 163% more crime and 200% more violent crime when compared to arrestees who were released after posting bail for similar crimes. As a result of Zero Bail policies, more victims were murdered, shot, robbed, assaulted, and beaten. This study is the first of its kind in California. https://lnkd.in/gKkWB9K2
The Chinese Balloon is Gone-But What Does This Revelation Mean for the Future ?
The Chinese balloon that floated across the United States this month, apparently on a mission to collect intelligence, began its journey as a curiosity. Then it became a political metaphor: a symbol of U.S. weakness to Republicans, a sign of President Biden’s prudence to Democrats.
Now, a week after the U.S. Air Force shot it down, the errant balloon is gone, but its impact is still reverberating.
The incident, and the larger Chinese program it revealed, is a serious obstacle to one of Biden’s top foreign policy goals: stabilizing the prickly U.S. relationship with Beijing.
The balloon may not have collected much useful intelligence. Pentagon officials say they took steps to cripple it, presumably including electronic jamming.
But as it ambled from Montana to South Carolina, the device became an all-too-visible reminder of the never-ending presence of Chinese espionage.
Biden administration officials denounced the overflight as a violation of U.S. airspace, and blacklisted the Chinese companies involved. Republicans charged that the balloon had posed an imminent danger to the nation’s security. A few claimed without evidence that it might have been carrying bioweapons or a nuclear bomb.
China insisted the vehicle was a civilian weather balloon and demanded its return, accusing the United States of “political manipulation.”
If the objects shot down off Alaska on Friday and over the Canadian Yukon on Saturday turn out to be more Chinese balloons, or if the U.S. Navy fishes surveillance equipment from the ocean off South Carolina, Beijing will only look guiltier.
The State Department has revealed that Chinese balloons have flown over more than 40 countries. U.S. officials are sharing intelligence about those flights with other governments, bolstering the international backlash against Beijing’s ambitions.
In sum, it appears China has scored the espionage equivalent of an own goal. Its balloon program could collapse if the United States decides to notify other countries when lighter-than-air vehicles are heading their way.
But the stakes are far greater than spy-versus-spy drama. The balloon episode is a reminder that, just as in the Cold War, detente between nuclear powers is harder to manage than it looks.
“All the worst instincts, the goblins just below the surface, have been unleashed on both sides,” said Bates Gill, a China scholar at the Asia Society in New York.
The United States and China compete head-to-head for influence not only in Asia, but around the world. Their armed forces face each other in the Western Pacific and the South China Sea.
The two countries are dangerously at loggerheads over Taiwan, which Beijing’s leaders have long vowed to reabsorb.
At the same time, they share a massive, tangled economic relationship. And they occasionally try to cooperate on shared interests such as narcotics enforcement, climate change and pandemic prevention.
So much is at stake that Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping formally agreed at a summit in November to put a floor under the relationship.
“I’m not looking for conflict; I’m looking to manage this competition responsibly,” Biden said.
One of the first steps they agreed on was a visit to Beijing by Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, scheduled for last weekend.
The balloon appeared, and Blinken called the trip off.
One of his goals, ironically, had been to improve communications to prevent minor incidents from turning into major crises.
But as the balloon soared across Montana, communications immediately broke down. When Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III tried to telephone China’s defense minister, nobody in Beijing took his call.
Now the two sides appear locked in a cycle of mutual recrimination that will probably continue at least as long as debris from the balloon is turning up.
Still, both governments seem willing to restart their dialogue. That’s a good sign.
The Biden administration has asked China for assurances that the recent balloon flight will be the last, apparently as a condition for rescheduling Blinken’s visit.
But experts on China think it’s unlikely Beijing will make a public statement on that count, which would look like an admission that it lied about the “weather balloon.”
Blinken may have to be satisfied with the U.S. announcing any assurances made by China. He should also ask for improved crisis communications, beginning with a promise that next time, someone will answer the phone.
Then he can head to Beijing and resume building that floor.
If he goes, some Republicans will inevitably accuse the administration of being soft on China. They’ll say that no matter what.
“A path toward improvement is going to be hard to find,” said Bonnie Glaser, a China expert at the German Marshall Fund. “It isn’t certain that the relationship can get back on track. There are so many ways it can deteriorate. … But it’s a good sign that both countries agree that they still want to try.”
Americans should remember a lesson learned during 40 years of Cold War diplomacy with the Soviet Union: Talking with adversaries isn’t a reward for good behavior. It’s a means of preventing small crises from becoming big ones.
Our interest in managing the high-stakes competition with China is much larger than a balloon — even one big enough to carry three busloads’ worth of spyware.
SCOTUS Considers When Students With Disabilities Can Sue for Damages
The Michigan case focuses on a deaf student who spent 12 years assigned to an aide who didn’t know sign language
The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday will hear the case of an immigrant family who holds a Michigan school district responsible for denying their deaf son’s right to an education.
A lower court ruled that Miguel Perez, now an adult, is not entitled to sue for monetary damages for emotional distress or lost income under the American with Disabilities Act because his family settled the case under special education law.
“The parents were really over a barrel here,” said Mark Weber, a law professor at DePaul University in Chicago who co-wrote a brief to the court on behalf of the plaintiff. “They needed to get services right away for this kid. The kid’s not getting any younger.”
While the case, Perez v. Sturgis Public Schools, delves into the complex procedural rules that govern special education, it speaks to the frustration many families whose children have disabilities feel in systems that often seem stacked against them. Navigating that legal landscape is even trickier for immigrant families, who are “likely unfamiliar with U.S. school systems” and are unused to the “idea of children with disabilities having a right to education,” said Cady Landa, a researcher at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign who has studied the obstacles immigrant families face when seeking special education services.
Immigrant parents, she said, are often unsure how to talk to school staff and may have “smaller social circles that are less likely to include other parents who have navigated special education for their children.”
The Perez lawsuit asks whether families can sue for damages under other federal laws that prohibit discrimination even if they haven’t exhausted their rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Act, or IDEA. Perez’s petition argues that there’s a conflict in the lower courts over this issue.
But lawyers for the Sturgis district disagree. They also note that the Supreme Court ruled last year that the Americans with Disabilities Act doesn’t allow compensation for emotional distress and that Perez changed his request to ask for lost income.
“Now he says in his reply that he wants to amend his complaint,” they wrote. “Too late.”
‘Academic and social outcast’
Perez, now 27, entered the Sturgis, Michigan, school district in 2004 as a 9-year-old deaf English learner from Mexico. The district assigned him a classroom aide who didn’t know sign language and even made up hand signals to try to communicate with Perez, according to court documents.
“There was one other deaf student, but we couldn’t communicate with each other,” he said in a statement provided through an interpreter.
As he got older, the assistant would often leave Perez alone for hours, “rendering him unable to learn or communicate with others and making him an academic and social outcast,” according to his lawyers.
Despite not being able to read or write, Perez received A’s and B’s and made the honor roll every semester. But just weeks before he was set to graduate in 2016, the district told his parents that he would only be eligible for a certificate of completion, not a diploma.
The case, Landa added, points to the need for more translation and interpretation services, specifically for newcomer families whose children have disabilities.
In 2017, the family filed a complaint with the Michigan Department of Education, arguing that the district violated IDEA, the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act, as well as two state laws.
In 2018, they settled the IDEA claim. The district agreed to place Perez in the Michigan School for the Deaf, pay for additional services and provide the family with sign language instruction. The district also paid the family’s attorney’s fees.
But that left the remaining complaints under the other laws unresolved, leading the family to file a lawsuit in federal district court, asking for social work services and additional financial relief.
“I wish I could have gone to college,” Perez said. “I don’t have a job, but I want to have one. I want to make my own choices.”
The 6th Circuit ruled the family wasn’t eligible to sue because their IDEA complaint never went to a hearing.
Judge Rules in Favor of Former AG Candidate Tom DeVore and Over 860 Plaintiffs, Halts Pritzker’s Assault Weapons Ban
On Tuesday, Illinois Review broke exclusive newsthat former Republican Attorney General candidate Thomas DeVore had filed suit against Gov. JB Pritzker, State Senate President Don Harmon, D, House Speaker Christopher Welch, D, and Attorney General Kwame Raoul, D, to stop their recent Assault Weapons Ban. DeVore’s motion for a temporary restraining order was heard on Wednesday during a two-hour hearingbefore Judge Joshua Morrison in Effingham County.
This afternoon, Judge Morrison granted DeVore’s motion and has halted Pritzker’s Assault Weapons Ban effective immediately while the lawsuit proceeds.
Pritzker signed the Assault Weapons Ban into lawjust last week. After the ceremony, Pritzker spoke to the press, where he had a stern warning for conservatives across the state: there will be consequences for not following the law.
After more than 80 sheriffs across Illinois signaled that they would not enforce the ban, Pritzker followed up with another stern warning: “[the sheriff’s] will in fact do their job or they won’t be in their job.”
DeVore’s suit is brought on behalf of more than 860 plaintiffs throughout Illinois and is based on alleged violations of the Illinois Constitution. One alleged violation is of the Equal Protection Clause, because the Assault Weapons Ban provides exemptions for certain groups – for instance, active and retired law enforcement are exempted from the ban, as well as active military and private security guards.
Retired military, however, much like the general population, are not exempted from the ban. DeVore argues that these exemptions create unconstitutional classes of citizens where legislators have decided who is subject to the ban and who is not.
By ruling in favor of DeVore’s motion for temporary restraining order, Judge Morrison has signaled that DeVore is likely to prevail on his lawsuit. The case will proceed towards a final judgment on the merits.
But in the meantime, the ban does not apply against the more than 860 plaintiffs as a result of the judge’s ruling today.
DeVore’s Complaint for Declaratory Judgement can be accessed here.
A copy of the Temporary Restraining Order can be accessed here.
High Court Could Change The Rights Of Students With Disabilities To Sue For Damages
The U.S. Supreme Court this week considered whether students with disabilities can seek financial relief under a federal law prohibiting discrimination even if they’ve already settled a case under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
Comments and questions from the justices seemed to lean toward yes.
“All she wants is to be compensated for what she says occurred to her during the period of her education,” Associate Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson said, offering a hypothetical example of a senior who wants to drop out. “Does she have to sit in front of a hearing officer and talk about ways in which her education could be changed?”
While the arguments in the case are complex, they come down to whether Congress meant for students to give up their rights under IDEA — which does not provide monetary damages — in order to bring a lawsuit seeking a financial award under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Advocates for students with disabilities argue that was never the intention of the law, while those representing school districts are concerned about the potential for “dual-track litigation” under both IDEA and ADA.
“That could be extremely expensive for districts,” said Sasha Pudelski, advocacy director for AASA, the School Superintendents Association. A ruling in favor of the plaintiff, she added, “has the potential to shift parents’ and districts’ focus to money rather than educational needs.”
The case, Perez v. Sturgis Public Schools, focuses on a deaf immigrant from Mexico, now 27, who entered the Michigan district in 2004, when he was 9. The district assigned Miguel Perez to an aide who didn’t know American Sign Language and invented hand signals to communicate with him.
“This shameful conduct permanently stunted Miguel’s ability to communicate with the outside world,” said his attorney Roman Martinez.
The family sued and agreed to a settlement under IDEA that allowed Perez to attend Michigan School for the Deaf. But his parents also sought monetary damages for emotional distress and lost income under ADA.
Shay Dvoretzky, representing the school district, said Congress didn’t want families to do an end run around the administrative process outlined in special education law — such as attending a resolution conference and filing a formal complaint — in order to seek damages.
“Congress carefully crafted those procedures, and it wanted parents and school districts to go through them” in order to ensure the student receives appropriate services, he said.
But Justice Elena Kagan, one of the liberals on the court, said it’s unlikely families would pass up services for a child under IDEA in order to reserve their right to sue.
“It’s the parents that have the greater incentive to get the education fixed for their child,” she said.
‘Cannot remedy the harm’
Rebecca Spar, an attorney with the New Jersey-based Education Law Center, who has argued special education cases, said a key issue is Perez’s age. His parents brought the case after the district told him he would be eligible only for a certificate of completion, not a diploma.
If a child is denied services at a young age, the educational relief provided through IDEA can make a real difference in the child’s future, she said. But the options for older students are far more limited.
“When you get older, there are all kinds of complications,” she said. “Then you cannot remedy the harm.”
Kagan and Dvoretzky also exchanged words over the meaning of relief. Dvoretzky suggested it doesn’t necessarily mean money and that it was sufficient for the district to address Perez’s loss of an appropriate education by getting him into the school for the deaf.
“It’s … a situation where you may not get what you ask for, but you get what you need,” he said.
But Kagan said it’s clear what the family is seeking.
“It’s relief in the normal sense: What did you get? How much money was put on the table?” she said.
If the court rules for Perez, it’s possible districts would include language in any IDEA settlement that parents are giving up their rights to sue under other laws.
“That would close the door for ADA relief,” Pudelski said.
Martinez said he can’t predict whether the court will allow Perez’s ADA lawsuit to move forward, but the decision has “important implications not only for Miguel, but for parents and students across the country.”
Legislation giving mandatory paid leave to all Illinois employees is ready for the governor’s signature
A bill headed to the governor’s desk that gives paid leave to all Illinois workers is being criticized for hurting small businesses around the state.
The “Paid Leave for All Workers Act” guarantees up to 40 hours of paid leave per year for all employees. Under terms of the legislation, full- and part-time workers can earn up to one week’s worth of paid time off per year.
During debate on the House floor, State Rep. C.D. Davidsmeyer, R-Jacksonville, said the state spends millions to lure big businesses to Illinois, but constantly places mandates on small businesses.
“My major concern are the little guys,” Davidsmeyer said. “It’s the mom-and-pops that have 5, 10, maybe 13 employees. This has a significant impact on their budgets.”
Under terms of the bill, leave can be used for any reason. Employers can still require employees to give notice before taking time off.
Deputy Majority Leader Jehan Gordon-Booth, D-Peoria, sponsored the bill in the House of the 102nd General Assembly. She said many labor groups are on board with the measure, including the Illinois Retail Merchants Association and the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association.
“Small businesses are the backbones of all of our communities regardless of where we live at, but those employees are the backbones of those small businesses,” Gordon-Booth said.
State Rep. Deanne Mazzochi, R-Elmhurst, agreed that the legislation will be detrimental to the bottom line for small businesses.
“What it’s going to mean is that more businesses close, more businesses can’t survive, and the very people you are trying to protect won’t have jobs at all,” Mazzochi said.
The governor is expected to sign the bill into law, which would make Illinois the 15th state to have laws regarding mandatory paid leave.
“Working families face enough challenges without the concern of losing a day’s pay when life gets in the way,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said is a statement
McDonough County Sheriff Refuses to Enforce New Illinois Law Banning Assault Weapons
McDonough County Sheriff’s Office
Sheriff Nick Petitgout
110 S. McArthur St.
Macomb, IL 61455
January 11, 2023
~House Bill 5471~
As your Sheriff, I wanted to give citizens of McDonough County an update on the recent passage of HB 5471, also known as the Protect Illinois Communities Act.
As your duly elected Sheriff my job and my office are sworn, in fact, to protect the citizens of McDonough County. This is a job and responsibility that I take with the utmost seriousness.
Part of my duties that I accepted upon being sworn into office was to protect the rights provided to all of us, in the Constitution. One of those enumerated rights is the right of the people to keep and bear arms provided under the 2nd amendment.
The right to keep and bear arms for defense of life, liberty and property is regarded as an inalienable right by the people.
I, among many others, believe that HB 5471 is a clear violation of the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution.
Therefore, as the custodian of the jail and chief law enforcement official for McDonough County, that neither myself nor my office will be checking to ensure that lawful gun owners register their weapons with the State, nor will we be arresting or housing law abiding individuals that have been charged solely with non-compliance of this Act.
Sheriff Nicholas M. Petitgout
“Roy F. McCampbell Blog” for the Third Year in a Row is Recognized as the Number 8 in the 30 Best Political Satire Blogs and Websites
30 Best Political Satire Blogs and Websites
Jan 21, 2023⋅Contents
The best Political Satire blogs from thousands of blogs on the web and ranked by traffic, social media followers, domain authority & freshness
30 Best Political Satire Blogs and Websites
Jan 21, 2023⋅Contents
The best Political Satire blogs from thousands of blogs on the web and ranked by traffic, social media followers, domain authority & freshness