Posts Tagged ‘New Jersey’

What it took to introduce competition in alcohol retailing

Bethesda Magazine profiles David Trone, whose Total Wine and More chain has helped introduce or reintroduce price-cutting, the negotiating of quantity discounts from vendors, and other advances in the business model for alcohol sales. Along the way, after infuriating competitors who were protected by existing state regulatory arrangements, Trone has been arrested three times, targeted by a Pennsylvania attorney general who was himself later sentenced to prison, subjected to grand jury proceedings at which allied merchants were urged to sever ties with him, and much more, which culminated in getting most of the charges thrown out and paying money to settle others. He spent millions on legal fees. After bad regulatory and legal experiences in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Trone shifted to a new strategy, part of which has involved generous campaign contributions: “So generally what we do now when we enter a new state is hire a lobbyist, hire a great legal team, and go meet the regulators. It’s preemptive, 100 percent.” Now he’s running for Congress.

“N.J. lawmaker wants fines for ‘distracted walking’”

A bad idea, seen previously in proposals in New York and elsewhere, won’t go away: “The measure recently introduced by General Assembly member Pamela Lampitt (D) would ban walking while texting and bar pedestrians on public roads from using electronic communication devices that are not hands-free. Violators would face fines of up to $50, 15 days imprisonment or both, which is the same penalty as jaywalking.” While no states appear to have passed such enactments yet, New Jersey isn’t the only state where they’re being floated: “For instance, a bill pending in Hawaii would fine someone $250 for crossing the street with an electronic device.” [Bruce Shipkowski, AP/Washington Post]

March 30 roundup

Schools roundup

  • Fear of regulators drives many campuses to restrict speech [Greg Lukianoff of FIRE interviewed by Caleb Brown, Cato podcast] New UCLA Title IX policy requires faculty to inform on “possible” sex harassment, and Prof. Bainbridge objects;
  • Tributes to my much admired colleague, the late Cato Institute education scholar Andrew Coulson [Neal McCluskey and Jason Bedrick, Adam Schaeffer, Nick Gillespie/Reason]
  • “Total Law School Enrollment at Lowest Point Since 1977; 1L Class Size Lowest Since 1973” [Derek Muller]
  • New Jersey: “Elizabeth Public Schools Spend More on Attorneys than Textbooks, Heat or Electricity” [WPIX (autoplays)]
  • “I began to see the social sciences as tribal moral communities, becoming ever more committed to social justice, and ever less hospitable to dissenting views.” Jonathan Haidt interviewed by John Leo [Minding the Campus]
  • Furor continues over U.S. Department of Education funding of “facilitated communication” with profoundly disabled persons [David Auerbach, Slate]
  • “Rhode Island: Children Under 10 Shall Not Be Left Home Alone, Even Briefly” [Lenore Skenazy]

Squirrel nurse bust in Jersey shocker

In Howell, N.J., Maria Vaccarella has been fined $500 by the state for “keeping captive game animals” after nursing a squirrel and her young that had fallen out of a tree. A spokesman for the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife said pictures of the animals had circulated on social media and that the state was “obligated to follow up” when “contacted about the social media posts by a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.” [NJ.com]

Schools roundup

  • Libertarians warned about this: New Jersey’s broad “anti-bullying” law used to silence 15 year old student’s political tweets [Robby Soave, Reason]
  • “New proposal would put armed, retired cops in New Jersey schools” [NJ.com]
  • Chapters ostensibly agreed, though their leeway to refuse not clear: “University of Alabama quietly testing fraternity brothers for drugs” [Al.com]
  • About time Congress noticed: Sen. James Lankford asking questions about Department of Education’s Dear Colleague letter [FIRE]
  • Schools vigilant against danger of grandparents reading aloud to class without background checks [Lenore Skenazy]
  • No helicopters in sight: German preschool/kindergartens send kids as young as three to camp in woods [WSJ]
  • Los Angeles and New York City school officials got same anonymous threat, but only L.A. closed schools [Ann Althouse]

Public corruption prosecutions: a panel

Nearly everyone agrees with prosecuting public officials (as well as, on occasion, lobbyists and other private actors) for bribery and some other instances in which officials trade, or are asked to trade, a quid pro quo of official action for money or gifts. Defendants in such cases, on the other hand, such as former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, often object that they are being menaced with criminal sanctions for politics-as-usual doing of favors and constituent service, with the frequent additional suggestion that prosecution is selective and ginned up by opponents for purposes of criminalizing politics and destroying reputations in the media.

A panel discussion at the recent Federalist Society national lawyers’ convention discussed this issue including the episodes of the Wisconsin John Doe proceedings, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, Tom DeLay, lobbyist Kevin Ring, and many others. Panelists included private attorneys Todd Graves (Graves Garrett), Edward Kang (Alston & Bird) and Peter Zeidenberg (Arent Fox), Prof. Eugene Volokh, and as moderator the Hon. Raymond Gruender of the Eighth Circuit. David Lat has a good write-up of the panel at Above the Law.

Related: Ilya Shapiro and Randal John Meyer have some questions about recent prosecutions in New Jersey under its official misconduct statute [Cato].

Labor and employment roundup

  • The Bernie-Sanders-ized Democratic Party: $15/hour minimum for tipped workers now a platform plank [Evan McMorris-Santoro, BuzzFeed]
  • Austin’s new ban on unlicensed household hauling will hurt informal laborers without helping homeowners [Chuck DeVore]
  • Ellen Pao drops suit against Kleiner Perkins, complaining that California job-bias law, often considered among the nation’s most pro-plaintiff, is against her [ArsTechnica, earlier]
  • “Court of Appeals Reverses Board Decision Allowing Employees to Wear ‘Inmate,’ ‘Prisoner’ Shirts in Customer Homes” [Seth Borden, McGuireWoods]
  • “New Jersey’s Supreme Court has dramatically expanded the state’s whistleblower law… the Court’s decision confirms that CEPA likely is the most far-reaching whistleblowing statute in the U.S.” [New Jersey Civil Justice Association, more, Ford Harrison]
  • In NLRB-land, an employee can act all by himself and it will still be “concerted” action protected as such under the NLRA [Jon Hyman]
  • New York City government to invest in hiring halls for day laborers [New York Daily News]

Schools roundup