Justices Give Gig Worker Plan a Cool Reception … and Other Legal News You May Have Missed

Massachusetts Supreme Court seems to have negative views of the efforts of app-based businesses such as Lyft or Uber to keep identifying their drivers as freelance job-seekers.

A group of these businesses are seeking to approve an initiative on the ballot that will require voters to permit the companies to compensate drivers as independent contractors, with advantages, such as health insurance or sick days. The State’s Supreme Judicial Court heard arguments on May 4, and voiced worry that the plan oversteps the mark by restricting their liability in injuries caused by their drivers.

The issue is attracting nationwide attention since if this issue does end up on the voters in Massachusetts in November, it may transform Massachusetts Bay State the epicenter of an ongoing national debate regarding rights for gig workers.

The Massachusetts Coalition for Independent Work which includes Lyft and Uber, gathered enough signatures for it to be placed on the ballot.

In September, the state Attorney General Maura Healey affirmed that the measure was in compliance with requirements of the constitution. But in March the group of activist groups backed by the labor union protested against the office of her, saying that the proposed measure was too expansive and in violation of an ordinance of the state that mandates that should limit ballot questions in some way.

The media accounts from that May 4 SJC hearing show that the justices were in accord to that view. Justice Dalila Argaez said she was concerned that the bill’s supporters were “dumping into all kinds of stuff and labeling it as being related.”

Justices were also open to a claim by plaintiffs who claim that they are attempting to minimize liability risk. “The general public might feel differently about gig workers as well as the compensation they receive and paid, but they’re concerned plenty about the possibility of accidents that happen to people, and whether they have to sue the big corporation or the person who owns the vehicle to pay for their damage,” Chief Justice Scott Kafker declared. “Those are two different policy questions.”

The Massachusetts plan comes on following of similar legislation which was approved in California in which voters overwhelmingly approved an initiative by the food and drink delivery companies and ride-hail operators to classify their employees as independent contractors , with certain advantages. In August of last year, the state court decided that the proposal was in violation of constitutional law as it was in violation of legislature’s power to create work standards. Proponents of the measure on the ballot challenged the decision.

FDA Take Care With Delta-8 THC claims

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning to five businesses who sell products that contain delta-8 THC to ensure that their sales strategies violate federal laws.

Delta-8 is the name of a chemical that is psychoactive and is that is found in marijuana plants. It’s not present in large quantities within the plant, but it can be extracted via a chemical transformation of CBD which is a different active ingredient found in cannabis. CBD products are increasingly sought-after due to their claimed health benefits and delta-8 THC-based products claim to provide a moderate feeling of high.

The companies boast of the presence of delta-8 THC found in snacks or candy items, however the FDA hasn’t approved the use of any drug with delta-8 THC. In its warning, it states that any Delta-8 THC-containing product that claims to have health benefits can be considered an unapproved , new product.

The FDA stated that it was particularly concerned about some food items are designed and packaged in ways that could attract young children. In a press release, FDA Chief Deputy Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock promised that FDA will pursue legal actions “when firms illegally offer items that are harmful to the health of people.”

Criminals who steal guns target cars

The number of gun thefts in cars is rising in a report of the gun control advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety.

The FBI analyzed data supplied city officials to FBI and concluded that thefts of guns from vehicles represent the main reason for illegal gun thefts. In 2010, around 14% of guns stolen came from vehicles; by 2020 over half of them did.

The group was not able to determine the causes behind the growth. One possible reason could be that gun sales increased in the year 2019, resulting in the possibility that gun owners keep guns in their vehicles.

In many cities, the number of car burglaries involving guns rose as home burglaries decreased. It is possible that burglars switched their sights on cars since houses were more likely be vacant because of the epidemic.

Tennessee and Black-Majority Towns settle the Dispute

The city of Mason, Tennessee, and the NAACP agreed to a deal with the state comptroller’s department following a state attempt to take control of the majority-black municipality.

In March, the conflict between the town and state caught the attention of the nation. The state informed Mason that if it didn’t solve its financial issues, it will be forced to allow the comptroller’s office assume control or surrender its charter and transfer the control of the town in the hands of Tipton County.

Town officials claimed that this was discriminatory based on race and the NAACP came forward to file an action. In the settlement which was signed on May 4, Mason officials will get an accredited public accountant or law firm aid with audits, making budget adjustments as well as providing education.

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Massachusetts the highest court in America has heard arguments in favor and for a measure on the ballot which would render ride-hailing companies and food delivery workers employees who receive no benefits. The court heard arguments on this issue as well as look at more legal issues that are in the news.

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