The U.S. House of Representatives approved “passenger rights” legislation today when it approved a bill to fund the Federal Aviation Administration. The passenger rights amendment gives the government the ability to force airlines to change their schedules if they “aggravated delays by operating too many flights at peak periods at the busiest airports.” Also included in the bill: a hike on the passenger facility charge on a ticket, from $4.50 to $7. [Reuters]
Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) recently announced plans to introduce our wet dream of a cellphone bill. The bill realizes our wildest legislative fantasies: a world where cellphone companies stop inventing official-sounding fees and levying harsh ETFs, and instead allow their customers to take unlocked phones to the company with the best reception according to precise coverage maps provided free of charge.
States are beginning to enact protections for subprime borrowers, reacting to the absence of a national solution from Washington. North Carolina last week became one of one of several states to clamp down on the adjustable-rate mortgages that have fueled the subprime meltdown.
Earlier this month the governor of New Jersey signed into law a regulation that requires all hospitals in the state to report MRSA infection rates (that’s the drug-resistant staph infection you always hear about). And last week, a sate-appointed panel in Massachusetts recommended that laws be passed requiring all hospitals to publicly report infection rates. Should the government regulate hospitals in this manner? And if your state doesn’t require it, is there any way you can find out on your own?
Maine Gov. John Baldacci last week signed into law a measure requiring developers of retail stores exceeding 75,000 square feet to conduct studies gauging the project’s impact on municipal services, the environment and local businesses. The proposed store can’t be approved if the studies find it is likely to cause a quantifiable, “undue adverse impact” on more than one of those fronts and is expected to have a harmful effect on the community overall.
The House has passed not one, but two cleverly-named measures targeting the miscreants who make and promote spyware. Though the FTC, Justice Department, and several state attorneys general are already empowered to prosecute spyware manufacturers, the two measures would extend existing laws by subjecting spyware makers to jail terms and multimillion-dollar fines.
…you’ll certainly feel like a criminal once the local record shop makes copies of all of your identifying information and even collects your fingerprints. Such is the state of affairs in Florida, which now has the dubious distinction of being so anal about the sale of used music CDs that record shops there are starting to get out of the business of dealing with used content because they don’t want to pay a $10,000 bond for the “right” to treat their customers like criminals. …
As you may well know, U.S. Reps. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) and Don Manzullo (R-Ill.) filed legislation that would reverse a recent decision of the federal Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) to drastically increase the amount internet radio stations have to pay to air their songs. For those of you interested you can read the proposed legislation, here. This is yet another one of those situations where you may want to write a letter expressing your opinion.
The RIAA and MPAA are telling California legislators that lies and deceit are an integral part of their anti-piracy strategy. The importance of lying, masterfully demonstrated by Jim Carrey in his 1997 hit “Liar Liar,” is at issue as California legislators mull a measure that would ban pretexting. Otherwise known as lying, pretexting involves the use of “false statements and other misleading practices to get personal information.”
New Jersey has had enough. The New Jersey Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee has proposed several bills directed at cell phone companies, once of which is called the “Wireless Telephone Consumer Protection Act.” It would require “full disclosure of service levels and fees and set standards for cell phone advertisements, contracts and billing,” according to the Star-Ledger.
The fiasco managed to unite liberal California Sen. Barbara Boxer with … Bill O’Reilly.
Payday lenders receive buckets of bane for preying upon low-income, under informed borrowers, as ruminated upon in a recent NYT piece:
A proposed cap on payday loan percentages charged to members of the military is nearing final approval. The bill aims to limit the vigorish to 36%, down from the usual 350%. Great, how about the rest of us?
The US House passed allowing the FDA to invalidate state’s food and labeling laws if they’re stricter than federal standards.
Did you know that Illinois doesn’t make car accident reports public? So if you Carfax a used car from there, you won’t know it’s already been around the block. Efforts to introduce legislation to change this have failed.