Internet Sales Tax Bill Faces Opposition

The Marketplace Fairness Act that will allow states to collect sales taxes for online purchases is facing opposition from a select group of senators whose states don’t tax sales.

Current laws allow states to charge sales tax on online purchases only if the vendor has a physical presence within the state’s borders. This results in a huge amount of internet sales going completely untaxed. A result of this is that it is difficult for brick and mortar stores to compete with online vendors, since most consumers would rather wait a few days for their purchase to arrive than pay the sales tax. The inability for states to charge their sales taxes on the internet cuts into their revenue significantly. In fact, the National Conference of State Legislatures estimates that states missed out on $23 billion, from $226 billion of online sales that would have been otherwise taxable. That’s $23 billion that could have gone back to the public to improve infrastructure or education, an average of $500 million for each of the 46 states that charge sales taxes.

Opponents of the bill argue that it forces the states where these online retailers are based to collect the taxes of other states and that the regulations it would create would be too complicated. They also argue that it doesn’t offer enough protections for small businesses, despite the fact that businesses whose online annual sales total less than $1 million dollars would be exempt.

Senate opposition to this bill is small, but its few opponents are trying to do everything they can to delay the vote. However, opposition in the house may be much stronger. Senate majority leader Harry Reid vows that this bill will receive a vote before the senate is dismissed for vacation next week, which is great because this is really a no-brainer. If people get upset about others using overseas bank accounts to avoid taxation, they should be similarly upset about those who specifically make purchases on the internet to avoid taxation.

House Blocks CISPA Social Media Privacy Amendment

An amendment to the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) that would have prohibited employers from being able to demand social media passwords from their employees failed to pass in the United States House of Representatives.

The failed amendment was tacked onto the larger CISPA bill, which aims to increase the nation’s cyber security by allowing corporations to share private information with the government, superseding any privacy agreements they may have had with their customers. This removes the corporation from any civil liability for breaching their privacy agreements and will allow them to share customers’ personal emails with Big Brother in the name of “national security.” CISPA passed in the house by a margin of 288 to 127.

CISPA has yet to pass in the Senate, and President Obama’s advisors have publicly stated that they will recommend he veto it.

Many representatives are of the opinion that prohibiting employers from demanding employee social media login information should be addressed in its own legislation rather than tacked onto a broad cybersecurity bill, and I’m inclined to agree with them. The representative who proposed the amendment, Ed Perlmutter (D-Co.), has been accused of attempting to derail the passage of CISPA, which tarnishes his worthy proposal. If I were him, I’d keep my brainchild as far away from this trainwreck of a law as possible.

Circuit Courts Make Conflicting Rulings on Concealed Carry Laws

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals and the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals have reached conflicting decisions on individuals’ ability to carry concealed weapons.

The 10th Circuit Court decided that prohibiting an individual from carrying a concealed handgun is not an infringement on his or her Second Amendment rights, while the 7th Circuit Court decided that concealed carry bans are unconstitutional.

The 10th Circuit Court’s decision came from a case in which a Washington state resident wanted to carry his weapon around with him on his frequent visits to Colorado. Colorado does not recognize Washington’s concealed carry permits and only grants such licensing to its residents, meaning it was impossible for this man to legally hide a firearm on his person in Colorado. In its decision, the court focused on precedents that actually expanded individuals’ gun rights and explained why those decisions do not apply to concealed carry.

The 7th Circuit Court’s decision will actually force the state of Illinois to create a concealed carry licensing policy, which the state previously had banned. The argument there was that the Second Amendment’s language gives people the “right to bear arms” meaning individuals should be allowed to carry weapons outside of their homes. This is in opposition with the way the state’s laws were previously set up, which was people had the right to “keep” arms in their homes. The Second Amendment Foundation took the ruling as a major victory for interstate gun rights equality.

It’s tricky to say whether or not this will help reduce or will increase Chicago’s murder rate, which topped 500 last year. Some argue that people who are allowed to carry weapons will be better able to defend themselves from criminals. Because law-abiding citizens are currently prohibited from carrying concealed weapons outside of the home, they can’t fight back against criminals who don’t care about breaking a few gun laws here and there. The more obvious argument is the one against concealed carry: more guns in the city streets will likely lead to more violence. But, as I said, it’s tricky to tell how this will play out in the Windy City. Houston, a city that allows concealed carry and is similar in size and other factors to Chicago, has one third its murder rate.

Because of these wild discrepancies in circuit court rulings, the issue of concealed weapons may be one of the next major constitutional cases taken by the Supreme Court in the future.

Super Bowl Sunday and DUI Arrests Blog

Super Bowl Sunday is one of the most beloved days for sports fans around the nation. Consequently, it is also one of the most popular nights for driving under the influence of alcohol. Like many national holidays or major sporting events, police agencies across the country know that fans will be consuming alcohol at Super Bowl parties and are taking action to crack down on those who choose to operate motor vehicles while intoxicated.

Statistics for drunk driving arrests on Super Bowl Sunday speak for themselves. Police officers across the state of Delaware arrested 21 drivers for driving under the influence of alcohol on Super Bowl Sunday last year. In 2006, the California Highway Patrol reported 481 DUI arrests, 242 wrecks involving alcohol and seven deaths relate to DUI accidents. And in the same year, the Southern Arizona DUI Task Force stopped over 540 cars on Super Bowl Sunday alone in efforts to crack down on drunk driving.

Officers everywhere urge people to “choose a sober designated driver,” before consuming alcohol at a Super Bowl party to ensure everyone’s safety. These actions can help you avoid spending money on a criminal lawyer and costly court expenses.

Getting Ruthless On Surgical Errors

In the practice of medicine, there are many errors that can happen. One very serious error, that has many forms, is a surgical error. Surgery is extremely complex, Surgical Scalpaland it is no wonder that some errors occur. However, they should not, if surgeons are careful and diligently attend to their duties. But surgical errors do happen, and they often result in serious injuries or illnesses. Many victims of surgical error are left with injuries so serious that they have to seek medical attention, sometimes extensive attention, in order to fully recover.

This medical attention that’s made necessary from surgical errors can be extremely expensive. Many people have a hard time paying for their initial surgery costs, so extra costs caused by surgical error are unexpected and sometimes cannot be met financially. However, victims of surgical error are often not expected to pay for all of their costs, at least ultimately, because the medical practitioner who injured them might be responsible for the injuries.

6 Errors

While many surgical errors can occur, some are more common than others (and all are dangerous). Six common surgical errors include those involving:

1. Wrong Site Surgery
2. Anesthesia Errors
3. Surgery on Incorrect Patient
4. Improper Suturing
5. Performing the Wrong Procedure
6. Post-Surgery Complications

Each of these errors, by themselves, are dangerous, but if more than one occur that could easily maximize the danger a patient might be in. Whatever the result of a surgical error, a victim may have the legal right to pursue financial compensation.

If you or someone you know has suffered injury or illness, or any negative consequence of a surgical error, it might be a good idea to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer ASAP. You may be able to get compensation that amounts to the financial expenses you incur as a result of your injuries or illness.

Common Questions About Brain Injuries And Tort Law

Brain Injury | Tree AbstractA person’s brain is one of his or her most vital organs. The brain controls all mental and physical functions of the body, so any injury to the brain could result in significant physical or mental debilitation. Unfortunately, brain injuries are relatively common in the U.S., and are most often caused through serious accidents that could have been prevented. In many cases, people behave recklessly, such as when they are driving, and cause accidents that result in brain injuries. Sadly, those victims of brain injuries are able to do little in their defense, and are often left with the costs and other consequences of their injury.

There are many different things that can cause a brain injury to occur. Some of the common causes of serious brain injuries involve:

* Concussions
* Memory Loss
* Seizures
* Brain Hemorrhage
* Brain Damage
* Cerebral Palsy
* Hematomas
* Contusions

Each one of these causes could result in the serious deterioration of a person’s brain functioning, making him or her lose the ability to think for himself or herself, and therefore, have to depend on others for physical care. While such situations often seem hopeless to many people, there are actions that a brain injury victim can take. If an irresponsible or dangerous person is the reason that a brain injury occurred in the first place, then a victim or his or her family might be able to take legal action against that dangerous person. In many cases, this action leads to financial compensation, which can help pay for the financial obligations that you now face in light of your loved one’s injury.

If you or someone you know has financial obligations to take care of a loved one because of a brain injury, and that brain injury was caused by another person, you could be due financial compensation. Contact an experienced brain injury lawyer today to discuss your options.

High Court Ruling

An appeals court decision in California has given the owners of the state’s largest dispensary an important legal victory in their battle against the federal government. Jovan Jackson of Answerdam had been convicted of selling marijuana, on the grounds that he could not use state law as a defense. However, an appeals court in San Diego decided that this refusal to consider state law had denied Jackson his right to due process, and the case is now returning to a lower court to be retried.


While this is no guarantee that Jackson and Answerdam will win their case, it is an important acknowledgment of the role that governing state statutes should have in deciding these issues. The federal government’s position, at present, seems to reject any and all attempts by criminal defense lawyers to use state laws which provide for the legal use and distribution of medicinal marijuana as a defense. This is, at least in part, because marijuana is classified under the Controlled Substances Act as being without medical value. However, as I think should be clear to anyone at this point, the scientific understanding of marijuana’s effects was, at that time, relatively limited, and the classification was based on biases of perception more than objective data.

As a strong supporter of the federalist principle, I applaud California for its bold experiment, and I hope Jackson gets a fair hearing this time around.

That’s Why They’re Bachelors…..

A federal judge recently denied a lawsuit brought forward by two men claiming that ABC’s popular reality series “The Bachelor” discriminated against minority contestants. Through the show’s first 16 seasons, every “Bachelor” chosen for the show was white. However, the judge in the case ruled that the show had a First Amendment right to present whatever type of content it chose, and that therefore the plaintiff’s case was without merit, though she described their efforts as “laudable.”

In this case, I couldn’t be more happy with the outcome. While I do think it’s shameful that ABC failed to bring any kind of diversity to their show, no law requires shows to meet diversity requirements in network broadcasting. These two men seemed to be more upset at the fact that they didn’t get onto the show than any legitimate complaint about racist hiring procedures. That complaint certainly can be made, but a discrimination lawsuit isn’t the way to do it.

And like I said, that is why they are bachelors.


Texas Mom Faces Life in Prison for Child Abuse

Legal Troubles In Texas

A Texas mom, Elizabeth Escalona, is facing life in prison for child abuse charges after she kicked, beat, and glued her child’s hands to a wall. The mother is accused of assaulting her child after becoming frustrated over her lack of progress in potty training, ultimately leaving the child’s body covered with bruises and rendering her comatose. The child required hospitalization for a full week as a result of these horrendous actions on her mother’s part.

As disgusting as this case is, the sad reality, as many lawyers in Texas have come to know, is that these types of cases are not as rare as they should be. Frustrated parents can often go to extreme measures in punishing their children. This woman is facing an extremely wide range of potential penalties, from life in prison to deferred adjudication, in which case she would not even be convicted of a criminal action. As anyone who reads this blog should know, I lean more towards giving her life than letting these types of despicable things go unpunished.

Pennsylvania Voter ID Law Put on Hold

the flag
Americans and Voting

As November gets closer, many Americans are preparing to turn in their vote for the office of President of the United States.  Some states though, have been considering a change to their voter requirements by asking voters to bring a government issued picture ID with them.  This has caused considerable controversy across the country as Americans debate whether or not this type of rule is fair.

Pennsylvania legislators have been pushing for this change in their state, but on October 2, a judge ordered that it is too close to election time to change such an important aspect of voting.  Judge Robert Simpson of the Commonwealth Court said that this close to election time, it would be impossible to ensure that all voters who are planning on casting a ballot have an ID that would qualify them to vote.

Many people challenging the new law are arguing that it will infringe on the rights of American citizens.  Not everyone may be able to get a photo ID because of proximity to ID centers, funding, and necessary transportation.  Many members of the Republican Party support this law and pushed for its approval on a state-wide scale, while many Democrats hold that it may discourage or disqualify low-income voters (who are statistically more likely to vote for a Democratic candidate).

Personally, I believe that it is absurd for states to require a government issued ID for something such as voting. Those that do not need drivers’ licenses may not have a reason to have a government issued photo ID handy, and this close to an important election, no one should have to scramble to make changes to their long-standing voting plans.