News & Commentary

June 26, 2014

The Los Angeles Times reports that L.A. City Council members are pushing for new regulations to combat wage theft.  The Times explains, “[a] UCLA study four years ago found that the vast majority of low-wage workers surveyed in Los Angeles County had suffered some kind of wage theft, steeper rates than in New York or Chicago.”  While the details haven’t been determined, City Council Member Gil Cedillo explained, “‘we’re trying to empower the city attorney to be more aggressive.’”

In D.C., taxi drivers staged a protest against the ridesharing services of Uber, Lyft and Sidecar that blocked several blocks of Pennsylvania Avenue, according to the Washington Post.  UberX, Lyft, and Sidecar, all allow any driver to sign up to provide rides to others via the app. (Uber’s smartphone app also lets a user request a taxi or town car instead; UberX refers to the ridesharing service).  The drivers are members of the Taxi Operators Association, which is affiliated with the Teamsters.  The taxi drives object to the ridesharing services because the drivers “have an unfair advantage over regular cabs since they don’t have to follow the same rules and pay the same fees.”

In immigration news, the New York Times reports that a federal judge has struck down a Montana law that requires state government officials to confirm the immigration status of anyone seeking government services, “from unemployment benefits to crime-victim assistance.”  The court held that Montana’s law was preempted by federal immigration law.  USA Today explains that this ruling is one many across the country grappling with the limits of States’ powers to regulate immigration—recently, a federal judge in Utah upheld parts of a similar, but narrower, Utah law.  The full decision is here.

On Wednesday, the New York Times published the next in its continuing series on how homecare providers are adjusting to new state and federal regulations that require higher wages and overtime pay.  An owner of company profiled by the Times, Select Home Care, explained the regulations have caused “good and bad” changes: “The good is that some of our staff will get paid more,” the bad is “[s]ome clients simply cannot afford the time-and-a-half overtime rate.”  We’ve covered some of the relevant legal changes here.

Later this morning or on Monday, the Supreme Court will likely issue its ruling in Harris v. Quinn (see our previous coverage herehereherehere, and here).  Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe has an op-ed in Tuesday’s Los Angeles Times about the clash of competing constitutional values in several of the Supreme Court cases this term, including Harris v. Quinn.

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