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SARL Members and Alumni News

Washington state can sue Purdue Pharma over opioid marketing: judge

Reuters | Posted on April 12, 2018

A Washington state court judge has rejected OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma LP’s bid to dismiss a lawsuit by the state’s attorney general seeking to hold the pharmaceutical company accountable for its role the opioid epidemic. King County Superior Court Judge Catherine Moore on Friday denied Purdue’s motion to dismiss Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s case, becoming the third judge nationally to allow a state to pursue claims against the opioid manufacturer.

SARL Member, Cindy Hyde Smith, becomes Mississippi's First Female Senator

ABC News | Posted on April 12, 2018

Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith was sworn in as the first female senator from Mississippi on Monday, bringing a record number of 23 women serving in the U.S. Senate.

SARL Treasurer, Annette Sweeney, wins Iowa Senate seat

Des Moines Register | Posted on April 12, 2018

Annette Sweeney, a former state legislator with strong ties to agriculture, won a special election Tuesday to replace Republican state Sen. Bill Dix, who resigned in March after video surfaced of him kissing a female lobbyist in a Des Moines tavern. Sweeney, 60, a Republican who lives near Alden, defeated Democrat Tracy Freese, 35, of Dike, a marketing professional and chair of the Grundy County Democratic Party.The vote was 4,742 to 3,726, or 56 percent for Sweeney to 44 percent for Freese, according to the Iowa Secretary of State's office. Her election means Republicans will hold 29 seats in the Iowa Senate. Democrats hold 20 seats and there is one independent.

Trump signs executive order pushing work requirements for the poor

CNN | Posted on April 11, 2018

The president called for enforcing work requirements that are already in the law and reviewing all waivers and exemptions to such mandates. Also, the executive order asked agencies to consider adding work requirements to government aid programs that lack them. The agencies have 90 days to submit a list of recommended policy and regulatory changes.The move is the latest step in the administration's effort to require low-income Americans to work for their federal benefits. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services earlier this year began allowing states to mandate that certain Medicaid enrollees must work for the first time in the program's history, while the Department of Housing and Urban Development is looking into the issue for those in subsidized housing. Consumer advocates, however, argue that work requirements will lead to millions of people losing crucial assistance. Putting in place such mandates doesn't take into account barriers to employment, such as medical conditions, child care and transportation."So-called 'work requirements' are premised on a set of myths about poverty," said Rebecca Vallas, vice president of the Poverty to Prosperity Program at the left-leaning Center for American Progress."First, that 'the poor' are some stagnant group of people who 'just don't want to work.' Second, that anyone who wants a well-paying job can snap her fingers to make one appear. And third, that having a job is all it takes to not be poor," she said.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signs new limits on welfare programs into law

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | Posted on April 11, 2018

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker on Tuesday signed new limits on welfare programs into law, committing state and federal taxpayers to nearly $80 million in spending to draw more people into the labor force. "Our ... welfare reform bills ensure help to those who truly need it, while providing the training and assistance they need to re-enter the workforce and regain independence," Walker said in a statement.Supporters have said that, with the state's unemployment rate at an all-time low of 2.9%, it's the ideal time to shift more people from food stamps and other public benefits to jobs. Though these measures could cost state taxpayers in the short run, they could save money for the federal taxpayers who cover that program's benefits, they say. 

Iowa 'sanctuary' city ban signed into law

Des Moines Register | Posted on April 11, 2018

Iowa cities and counties that intentionally violate federal immigration law will have their state funding revoked under a bill signed into law by Gov. Kim Reynolds Tuesday.  Senate File 481 targets so-called sanctuary communities across the state and has drawn widespread debate in the Capitol and across the state. It takes effect July 1. Reynolds, a Republican, did not hold a public bill signing event. Supporters say the new law will maintain public safety and uphold the rule of law, but critics argue that Iowa has no sanctuary cities and that the bill will only stoke racial fears that could fuel discrimination.

Broadband funding is in the works for rural communities in Georgia

Times Free Press | Posted on April 10, 2018

A program is now in place to bring fast internet to hard-to-reach rural communities in Georgia. Now, lawmakers just have to fight about the money. Both chambers passed state Sen. Steve Gooch's Achieving Connectivity Everywhere Act last week, creating a grant program to fund broadband expansion. But the bill, which will go to Gov. Nathan Deal's desk, does not guarantee funding. Instead, it creates a source for added revenue — with a stated desire that lawmakers invest the money into rural counties.The bill allows private companies to build fiber optic lines along Georgia's 1,247 miles of interstate. The Georgia Department of Transportation will award contracts for this work. The winning companies, in turn, will make money leasing fiber access to internet providers.

Canada unveils $3 billion ag growth initiative

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on April 10, 2018

 The Canadian government recently announced the launch of the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a C$3 billion commitment that will help chart the course for government investments in the sector over the next five years. The partnership aims to help the sector grow trade, advance innovation and strengthen public confidence in the food system, the government said. In addition, business risk management programs will continue to help producers manage significant risks that threaten the viability of their farms and are beyond their capacity to manage.

Changes to West Virginia agriculture rules to take effect

The Register Herald | Posted on April 10, 2018

The West Virginia Legislature approved seven rule changes related to the West Virginia Department of Agriculture, most of which will go into effect April 29. House Bill 4079 adopted several rule changes involving animal disease control, state apiary law, fruit inspection, auctioneers, noxious weeds, inspection of meat and poultry, and inspection of nontraditional/domesticated animals.“Technology innovations and federal guidelines change on a yearly basis,” Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt said in a Monday news release. “This requires the West Virginia Department of Agriculture to update rules and regulations to modern standards. The department is here to help farmers and producers understand these changes."For animal disease control, the change allows people who own sheep and goats to submit certifications online or by mail. Certified flocks or herds can be approved for entry to fairs or festivals by the commissioner or through a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection.

'Scruffles Law' proposed in NJ to offer animal justice

My Central Jersey | Posted on April 10, 2018

When Danielle DiNapoli's English bulldog, Scruffles, died last year after being groomed at the PetSmart in Flemington, she found no real legal recourse in the event of possible gross negligence or recklessness when pets are in the care of others. Her attorney, Daryl Kipnis, a Somerset attorney and Republican 12th District congressional candidate, is looking to change that by proposing an animal justice revision to New Jersey Civil Code that would allow pet owners to sue for damages, including statutory damages of $10,000.On Friday, Kipnis introduced "Scuffles Law" to be considered by the New Jersey State Legislature. His Somerset law office worked on writing the proposal. According to Kipnis, the proposed legislation recognizes the relationship that owners of domestic companion animals have with their pets and gives them powerful legal remedies against individuals who cause the injury or death of their pets through negligence, recklessness or animal cruelty.