Archive for July, 2009

July 31, 2009

Immunity from Prosecution

This is the current approach when the consideration of legalizing marijuana is expressed as the state of California submitts it’s reasoning as to why a taxation on marijuana is being considered.

At the general election held on November 5, 1996, the electors approved an initiative statute designated on the ballot as Proposition 215 and entitled “Medical Use of Marijuana.” In pertinent part, the measure added section 11362.5, the Compassionate Use Act of 1996. (Prop. 215, § 1, as approved by electors, Gen. Elec. (Nov. 5, 1996) adding § 11362.5, subd. (a).) Subdivision (d) of section 11362.5 (hereafter section 11362.5(d)) provides that “Section 11357, relating to the possession of marijuana, and Section 11358, relating to the cultivation of marijuana, shall not apply to a patient, or to a patient’s primary caregiver, who possesses or cultivates marijuana for the personal medical purposes of the patient upon the written or oral recommendation or approval of a physician.” This had been the scope considered as the case of the people v.s MYRON CARLYLE MOWER had been presented to consider the simple usage of marijuana as a medical assumption for personal usage by those with severe health issues.

Violations of Health and Safety Code section 11357 have brought the further attention of the state of California to address the case of the people vs. LUCAS A. THAYER. A case in which the specifics had been drawn to consider the expectations expressed in the Health and Safety Code section 11357. Sections 11357 and 11358 of the Health and Safety Code make it a crime to possess and cultivate marijuana. Which brings use to consider the current times as the expectations of allowing marijuana to having a medicinal qualities and possessing the pain releiving properties.

Marijuana is still very much an illegal substance and still has not been cleared by the federal government as a controlled substance that could be used as a medical function for the suggested properties that have been suggested by activist and policy makers alike. As of now marijuana is still being brought forth as a seemingly wonder drug that has been allowed by 13 states so far to be used a a medicinal function when the consideration of pain reduction and appetite stimulation have been suggested by the case presnted so far that have had the approach of marijuana and any medicinal qualities as an issue.

As it stands the state of California has the attention of two inititatives at hand that would bring forth a profitable approach to allow a taxation of marijuana to be considered due to the push to first legalize the uncontrolled substance and then to represent it as having a monetary asumption as a prescibed dug of choice by users.

The Omar Figueroa initiative is broader and would bring complete legalization under state law, while the Richard Lee initiative would create semi-legalization, allowing adults to possess up to one ounce and grow their own in a 5′ x 5′ garden space. The Figueroa initiative would allow the state of California to tax marijuana sales, while the Lee initiative would allow cities and counties to tax marijuana sales. The Figueroa initiative would end marijuana prohibition statewide, while the Lee initiative would give cities and counties the local option to tax and regulate or not, but would also provide that people could still possess and grow the specified amounts even in locales that opt out of regulating.

As the assumption of marijuana having the properties of creating revenue for a state that is faceing one of the most troubling economic assumptions thus far the approach taken has the rest of the nation wondering if medical marijuana could help the burdened health care refom that is of now.

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July 31, 2009

Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division Minimum Wage rise update

ESA News Release: [07/16/2009]
Contact Name: Dolline Hatchett
Phone Number: (202) 693-4651
Release Number: 09-0821-NAT

Federal minimum wage will increase to $7.25 on July 24
Millions of workers across 30 states will see more money in their paychecks

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor reminds employers and employees that the federal minimum wage will increase to $7.25 on Friday, July 24. With this change, employees who are covered by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) will be entitled to pay no less than $7.25 per hour.

“This administration is committed to improving the lives of working families across the nation, and the increase in the minimum wage is another important step in the right direction,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “This well-deserved increase will help workers better provide for their families in the face of today’s economic challenges. I am especially pleased that the change will benefit working women, who make up two-thirds of minimum wage earners.”

This increase is the last of three provided by the enactment of the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007, which amended the FLSA to increase the federal minimum wage in three steps: to $5.85 per hour effective July 24, 2007; to $6.55 per hour effective July 24, 2008; and now to $7.25 per hour effective July 24, 2009. The latest change will directly benefit workers in 30 states (Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming) where the state minimum wage is currently at or below the federal minimum wage, or there is no state minimum wage. It will also benefit workers in the District of Columbia, where the minimum wage is required to be $1 more than the federal minimum wage.

A family with a full-time minimum wage earner would see its monthly income increase by about $120. That is more than a week’s worth of groceries for an average family of four or more than one week’s utility bills. The $120 buys three tanks of gas for a small car. The $120 would easily cover the cost of replacing all the light bulbs in a typical home with compact fluorescent light bulbs — which would save the family money in the long term and be an important step toward a greener country. The benefits are not just for full-time workers. About half of minimum wage workers are part-timers, and they, too, are going to see a very welcome boost to their incomes.

Every employer of workers subject to the FLSA’s minimum wage provisions must post, and keep posted in each of its establishments, a notice explaining this act. The notice must be posted in conspicuous places to permit employees to readily read them. Posters and other compliance assistance materials concerning the minimum wage increase are available free of charge from the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division and may also be obtained from the agency’s Web site at http://www.wagehour.dol.gov.

Many states have minimum wage laws with provisions that differ from the federal law. When an employer is subject to both, the employer must pay the higher of the two rates.

Employers and employees seeking more compliance information on the increased minimum wage may call the Wage and Hour Division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243).

July 30, 2009

Post-Prison Transitional Housing

For those that don’t understand, it seems that the prison system is in need of some major over-hauling. As the privitization of the prison system is a current issue the concern has spilled over to make mention of threats such as homelessness as a consideration.

Dear Mr. Shaw,

Thank you for contacting me with respect to your support for providing for more post-prison transitional housing as opposed to direct release. I appreciate your interest in this issue. Your views are important to me.

As a Member of Congress, it is essential that I know my constituents’ thoughts and concerns so I can best represent their interests in Congress. I will keep your concern in mind as efforts to address and reform the penal system come before the Congress for deliberation.

Once again, thank you for expressing your concern on this very important issue. I enjoyed hearing from you. For more information on my views on other issues, please feel free to visit my website at http://connolly.house.gov. I also encourage you to visit the website to sign up for my e-newsletter.

Sincerely,

Gerald E. Connolly
Member of Congress
11th District, Virginia

July 29, 2009

Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2009

As the economic situatuion that this nation is facing becomes more intense, measures are being drawn out to consider a balance towards the current defict that this nation as a whole has acumulated.

As if the credit crunch has not been bad enough up until the point of now, congress is considering an effort to stimulate growth with an effort named the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2009. This effort is stated to bring what has been inherited by us by the Bush administration to an understanding that will allow an impact of solid revenue and help to stimulate our troubled economy.

The following is the response that I received as this assumption is being considered.

Dear Aaron:

Thank you for contacting me regarding the Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 budget. I appreciate learning your views, and I apologize for the delay in my response.

On April 29th, 2009, the House passed the FY 2010 Budget Conference Report, S. Con. Res. 13, by a vote of 233-193, with my support. In broad terms, this budget establishes a framework for targeted efforts on energy independence, affordable health care, and education that I feel are long overdue. Instead of prioritizing the wealthiest, it lays the groundwork to cut taxes for middle-income families by more than $1.7 trillion over the next 10 years. Like any budget, it establishes broad allocations of funding levels for areas from foreign affairs to transportation infrastructure. I voted for S. Con. Res. 13, which closely paralleled President Obama’s priorities, because I see it as emphasizing investments for economic recovery and new jobs now—and sustainable economic growth and prosperity in years to come.

In more detail, this budget builds on tax incentives and funding in the stimulus with a 10% increase for renewable energy and technological development funding from last year’s budget, which will increase our global competitiveness. It lays out sound health and science funding, from Medicaid to the National Institutes of Health, and it strengthens public services in a time of need. This budget pushes back against steep increases in military spending and presses savings where waste has been identified in defense. To ensure that those who have put their lives on the line for our nation are not denied important care or placed on waiting list for benefits they deserve, it increases veterans’ funding by more than 11% for 2010.

As you know, this final budget did not include President Obama’s early proposals regarding tax deductions for mortgage interest and charitable donations: to cap at 28% the rate at which the highest-income households can claim deductions. Households paying income taxes at the 33% and 35% rates will continue to be able to deduct mortgage interest and charitable donations at those rates, rather than with the same, lesser benefit as households in the 28% bracket.

With regards to the national debt, we had a exceptionally difficult hand to play: an economy in recession and a very large deficit, more than 60% of it inherited from the Bush Administration. In recognition of this situation, S. Con. Res. 13 cuts the national deficit by nearly two-thirds by 2013. You may also be interested to know that on July 22, 2009, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2920, the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2009, with my support. H.R. 2920 would require Congress to find savings to balance out new legislation that would expand entitlement spending or reduce revenue, so those initiatives would be fully offset over five and ten years. In short, it would put into law the same type of system that helped turn budget deficits to surpluses in the 1990’s.

One additional point about the FY 2010 budget is that it makes more realistic cost assumptions than past budgets. Most notably, it includes the projected costs of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan up front, rather than leaving them to be approved as supplemental appropriations funding later on.

Again, I voted for S. Con. Res. 13 because I see it as intelligently allocating funding to areas that will serve our long-term interests in addition to our shorter-term needs. Please know that I will bear your thoughts in mind as Congress moves through the appropriations process, to make good on the priorities and national investments laid out in the FY 2010 budget.

Again, thank you for contacting me with your thoughts on this issue. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future with any questions or concerns.

Sincerely,

John W. Olver
Member of Congress

July 17, 2009

Beware of tax hikes

Three tax increases proposed by President Obama and House Democrats on the richest Americans could produce the highest tax rates in a quarter-century. The current proposal by House Ways and Means Committee would be to impose a surtax of up to 5.4% on annual incomes of $350,000 or more to help pay for overhauling the health care system. About 500,000 taxpayers earning $1 million or more would pay the full surtax.(By Richard Wolf, USA TODAY)

As this nation comes to terms with how to balance what has happened to the economy as we know it, expect tax hike to take affect. For instance, lets look at the worst off state in that of the state of California with this statement by By Gene Maddaus Staff Writer of the DailyBreeze.com: The state of California has offered a bill to tax marijuana statewide, much like alcohol or cigarettes. As presented, the state tax officials believe a $50 per ounce tax would generate $1 billion a year in new revenues, which would help close the state’s budget gap.

Every possible measure is being sought by states to stay above what is considered an economic point of no return.

July 15, 2009

Bringing Compassion To Florida Patients!

Dear Aaron Shaw:

Thank you for your message. I appreciate receiving your suggestions and views. As Florida’s CFO, I will continue to encourage the careful management of taxpayer dollars, the elimination of wasteful government spending, and the protection of vital services for our citizens.

Florida laws relating “medical assumptions” are implemented by the Florida Legislature through the legislative process. I hope you will contact your local legislators with your concerns. You will find contact information at the following website: http://www.leg.state.fl.us/. It is important that the citizens of Florida, whom I am honored to serve, voice their ideas and offer suggestions. Thank you for writing to me.

Sincerely,

Alex Sink

July 15, 2009

Reflecting the trend of growing family homelessness

It seems that under the assumption of the Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) provided by the Department on Housing and Urban Development (HUD) there has not been much to add when the concerns of homelessness is presented. Meaning that accorind to the update the number of recorded homeless individuals has not changed much since the last report, in fact, the numbers have not cahnged much since the 2005 report was published.

How?

Why?

Aren’t we as a nation facing one of the most economicaly uncompromisable assumptions of a recession that this nation has witnessed, ever?

Yes, However, the Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) does not count individuals and families temporarily staying with others, or living at their own expense in motels. Individuals and families in these dire circumstances are erroneously viewed as housed, to be considered homeless only when they wind up on the streets or in emergency shelters. The newly passed HEARTH Act requires HUD to begin defining many of these individuals and families as homeless.

Bringing us to the assumption of the HOMELESSNESS PULSE PROJECT.

The Homelessness Pulse project is intended to help the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) gain a better understanding of the impact of the current economic crisis on homelessness. This understanding relies heavily on collecting up-to-date information on how counts of homeless persons may be changing as the crisis unfolds.

July 10, 2009

Trouble with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

The National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF), as established in H.R. 3221, was to receive funding from the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs), Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

The FHFA regulator has the authority to suspend contributions to the NHTF/CMF under certain circumstances related to the fiscal distress of the GSEs. If allocating money to the NHTF/CMF contributes to the instability or undercapitalization of the GSEs, or would prevent them from completing a capital restoration plan, then the regulator can suspend the GSEs contributions.

Reason why the current call has changed to the SEVRA assumption.
“Yesterday the House Financial Services Committee kept the 150,000 new vouchers provision proposed in HR 3045 (the SEVRA bill) by defeating the Shelly Moore Capito (R-WV) amendment to limit the number of new vouchers to 20,000. (NLIHC and other organizations are working to secure at least 200,000 new vouchers a year for each of the next 10 years.)” National Low-Income Housing Coalition

The current troubles that the lending firms Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have caused an adbrupt stand still to the will and drive that the National Housing Trust Fund Bill has drawn to consider.

The purposes of the NHTF are to increase and preserve the supply of rental housing for extremely low and very low income households, including homeless households, and increase homeownership for extremely low and very low income households.

As this current economic crisis is related to that of the il-workings of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the rising number of low-income house-holds are rising above the considered projections that make up the current trust fund budgeting practice.

Currently, administering agencies are to develop, make public, and seek public comment on the state allocation plan. The allocation plan must reflect priority housing needs in the state based on these factors geographic diversity,the applicant’s ability to obligate amounts and undertake funded activities in a timely manner, the extent to which rents are affordable in the proposed project, the duration of the affordable rents in the proposed project, the use of other funding sources in the proposed project, and the merits of an applicant’s proposed eligible activity.

Get in contact with your state adminstrators and see how they stand in regards to the factors of eligibilty to continue federal funding.

July 10, 2009

It’s here, the expected change in the minimum wage.

Federal wage floor will rise to $7.25 an hour on July 24. Hike will be felt in 29 states. Can the job market handle it?

The federal minimum wage is set to increase later this month as the job market shows signs of further decay.

The federal minimum wage will go to $7.25 an hour on July 24 from its current level of $6.55, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

The impact will be felt in 29 states, and many of them plan to match the federal minimum when it goes through.

Seven states already have laws mandating $7.25 minimum pay, while 14 states and Washington, D.C., exceed the new minimum. Employers are required to pay whichever is the highest: Federal or state. (Higher Minimum Wage Coming Soon by Aaron Smith
Wednesday, July 8, 2009; CNNMoney.com)

As the approach of the federal change in the current minimum wage draws closer, what does this say about the current economic crisis that we are feeling as of now?

Unemployemnt is still rising and expected to turn out an unanticipated larger amount of unemployed than ever. As of now the federal assumption of the unemployment rate is currently standing at 9.5%.

Foreclosures are still affecting americans across the nation as the July 24th due date of wage changes approaches. The number of homeless families in suburban areas increased by 56% in 2008, while the number of homeless families in rural areas increased by 34%. This is according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s “2008 Annual Homeless Assessment Report” released to Congress today.

So, will the current change in the minimum wage have any effect on what is going on in this nation as a financial assumption? My opinion is a strong “NO”, however there is still hope.

July 10, 2009

How the Reps. voted on the Mattew Shepard Hate Crime Prevention Act of 2009

In anticipation of the up coming July 15th senate vote in the regards to the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act, I did some calling around to get a heads up on how the Reps. voted on this act.

Representitive John Mica opposed the current Hate Crimes Prevention Act, as well as did Representitive Adam Putnam. Lets take a glance at what they opposed as the Representitves voted on this bill prior to the up-coming July 15th senate vote.

Titled the Matthew Shepard Act (formerly know as the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007), this bill is an appropriate and measured response to the unrelenting and under-addressed problem of violent hate crimes committed against individuals based on actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender, gender identity and disability.

How would you vote?

The bill comes at a time in which violent Hate Crimes have been conducted and taken notice on a federal level in the regards to those that are homeless and gender compatable. Hate crimes have taken a new level of criminal activity as the motives are becoming more and more apparent of how some americans actually view certain aspects of what is to be normal american lifestyles.