Tennessee Bans Posting Of Pics That Cause Emotional Distress

Tennessee Bans Posting Of Pics That Cause Emotional Distress

It’s a good thing for the internet that Tennessee lawmakers are around to learn it how to behave. After lawmakers threw down a regulation barring people from sharing passwords for services such as Netflix, the state made famous by Arrested Development (the band, not the show) has created a law that bans the posting of images that cause emotional distress. [More]

Florida Will Screen Welfare Recipients For Drug Use

Florida Will Screen Welfare Recipients For Drug Use

Florida has passed legislation that would force welfare recipients to undergo drug tests before they’re able to receive aid. The law, set to go into effect July 1, would make applicants to the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program pay for the tests upfront, but ensures they will be reimbursed if they pass. [More]

Oregon Lawmakers Want To Cash Out Small-Balance Gift Cards

Oregon Lawmakers Want To Cash Out Small-Balance Gift Cards

Gift cards with just a few bucks left on them are nagging annoyances. Oregon’s state house is fed up with the glorified plastic coupons and passed a bill that would require businesses to let customers exchange them for cash. [More]

California Law Would Allow Raids Of Suspected Piracy Facilities Without Warrants

California Law Would Allow Raids Of Suspected Piracy Facilities Without Warrants

If anti-piracy California legislation becomes law, authorities will be able to enter facilities suspected of pirating movie and music discs and seize equipment without first receiving warrants. [More]

Toy Manufacturers Try To Block Online Injury Report Database

Toy Manufacturers Try To Block Online Injury Report Database

The Consumer Product Safety Commission is set to launch a database in the next few weeks that tracks reports of injuries resulting from strollers and cribs. A group of children’s product manufacturers are trying to coax lawmakers to stifle the database and roll back other health regulations. [More]

Florida Aims To Fine Pesky Robocallers

Florida Aims To Fine Pesky Robocallers

Fed up with untimely calls from the Terminator, Robocop and other telemarketrons, Florida’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is going after four telemarketing firms in the state, aiming to stick them with fines and injunctions that will stop them from making more cold calls. [More]

Self-Insured Premiums Jump By 20%, Triggering Warning From White House

Self-Insured Premiums Jump By 20%, Triggering Warning From White House

About 10% of respondents in our informal poll yesterday about health insurance said they pay their own premiums, and according to a new poll from Kaiser Survey, three quarters of those people just faced a premium increase of 20% on average. The recent hikes have prompted the White House to say it will “sternly warn industry executives” today that insurers shouldn’t try to use the new health care law as an excuse to gouge customers, according to the New York Times. [More]

15 Ways To Kick Ass When Testifying

15 Ways To Kick Ass When Testifying

If you are victimized by corporate behavior and asked to testify before a legislative body in order to tell your story and help get a pro-consumer bill passed, it can be really scary. You only have a few minutes to make your case. Are you gonna choke it, or clinch it? Just follow these 15 tips I just learned in a Consumers Union Activist Summit workshop: [More]

Congress May Consider Banning Drop-Side Cribs

Congress May Consider Banning Drop-Side Cribs

Kirsten Gillibrand, a senator from New York, is apparently unsatisfied with the CPSC’s pledge to implement a voluntary ban of drop-side cribs. Gillibrand plans to introduce legislation this week that would outlaw the sale of drop-side cribs and ban them from daycare centers and hotels. Earlier this month, the CPSC said that this crib design has killed at least 32 infants and toddlers since 2000, that over 7 million drop-side cribs have been recalled since 2005. [More]

Wireless Industry Lobbyists Explain Why The FCC Should Back Off

Wireless Industry Lobbyists Explain Why The FCC Should Back Off

The president and a vice-president for CTIA, a lobbying organization for the wireless industry, spoke recently with CNET about why they think the FCC should leave their members alone. The vice-president, Chris Guttman-McCabe, is a lawyer and as such his answers are useless. President Steve Largent, however, actually has a couple of candid moments during the interview. [More]

New Jersey Wants To End Mail In Rebates

New Jersey Wants To End Mail In Rebates

Mail in rebates are a sneaky way to make things look cheaper than they actually are at the point of sale, since many consumers never actually get any cash back. Now New Jersey’s state Assembly is considering legislation that would require retailers to charge shoppers the after-rebate price on goods, instead of forcing them to mail in or submit online requests. If the retailer still wants to take advantage of the rebate, that’s no problem; he’ll just have to mail it in himself. [More]

Finish Up Your Weekend With Some Light Reading On Health Care Reform

Finish Up Your Weekend With Some Light Reading On Health Care Reform

You know what’s even less exciting than health insurance regulations? Homework! But as Congress prepares to vote on the huge and hugely controversial health care reform bill tonight, it’s a good time to familiarize yourself with what the proposed bill does–no matter what your opinion of it might be. [More]

Get Up To Speed On What The CARD Act Will Do To Credit Cards

Get Up To Speed On What The CARD Act Will Do To Credit Cards

In just a little over a week, the CARD Act will go into effect, and a new set of rules will apply to credit card issuers. Here’s a great summary of what will change and what won’t, so you’ll know what to expect. For instance, did you know that cards issued to business entities rather than individuals are exempt? [More]

Watch Out For These Tricks After The CARD Act Kicks In Next Month

Watch Out For These Tricks After The CARD Act Kicks In Next Month

The credit card reform bill will go into effect at the end of February, but that doesn’t mean you should stop paying attention to what your credit card company does with your account. There are lots and lots of loopholes, notes WalletPop. For example, your card issuer can still raise rates on future purchases any time and for any reason. In addition, there’s no limit to the number of fees that can be invented and applied to your account. The only way to make sure you don’t get screwed by a profit-hungry card issuer is to read every single thing that’s mailed to you, and closely review your statement for evidence of any changes that you may have missed. [More]

Consumer Financial Protection Agency On The Chopping Block

Consumer Financial Protection Agency On The Chopping Block

According to the Wall Street Journal, Senator Chris Dodd, a Democrat from Connecticut, has offered to abandon the Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) proposal in exchange for Republican support on other legislation. Nobody is saying anything official right now, but the WSJ reports that “the offer is conditional on the creation of a stronger consumer protection division within another federal agency.” [More]

Senate Passes Health Care Reform Bill

Senate Passes Health Care Reform Bill

In case you missed it, Senate Democrats managed to succeed at their goal of pushing through some sort of health care reform bill before Christmas Day–the chamber voted this morning 60-39 along party lines and passed the bill. Up next: the Senate and House have to get together and negotiate some final version. If you want to compare what’s in the House and Senate versions, the New York Times has put together an excellent side-by-side comparison tool.

If Wall Street Ran The Airlines

If Wall Street Ran The Airlines

The Baseline Scenario has written a pitch-perfect article that pretends financial industry types are now speaking for the airline industry. It’s filled with appeals to the free market, and lots of threats about how the American Way of Life will collapse if we can’t let passengers sit for more than three hours on tarmacs. [More]

"Public Option" Removed From Senate Health Care Reform Proposal

"Public Option" Removed From Senate Health Care Reform Proposal

Senate Democrats have just hammered out a new version of their proposed health care reform proposal, and as a compromise they’ve removed the part about requiring a government-run insurance program. The public option is still part of the proposal, but now it will only be triggered if the private sector doesn’t create some new national nonprofit policies as spelled out by the government. [More]