The small and dwindling contingent in favor of the terrible, patent-smashing bills being considered in Congress suffer from an obsessive fetish — “patent trolls.” It’s at once a mantra — and a Pavlovian fervor-inducer. Just say “patent troll” in front of any member of this tiny cohort — and watch them freak out.
Chicago’s Netflix tax took effect on September 1st and already Chicagoans are seeing the ill effects. Nine plaintiffs have filed a lawsuit challenging Chicago’s authority to tax a streaming Internet service with the 9% surcharge it typically reserves to other forms of entertainment.
Twenty-nine states, more than half the stars on the American flag, have filed lawsuits against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for redefining the “Waters of the United States,” or WOTUS, erasing “navigable” and usurping states’ rights by including local seasonal streams, farm irrigation ponds, roadside ditches, and even “connective” dry lands placed under authority of the Clean Water Act.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has in recent years imposed numerous new regulatory rules strangling the freedoms of businesses and property owners. Latching on to every possible excuse for regulating economic activities by citing microscopic effects on air and water, EPA has shown no respect for any boundaries in imposing its draconian mandates. State governments are experiencing the effects and are increasingly taking action to reduce the amount of economic carnage the Obama administration’s EPA inflicts.
In a welcome show of bipartisanship, the U.S. Senate took a significant step in the direction of freer global trade in April. The Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 (TPA), cosponsored by Sens. Orrin G. Hatch (R-UT) and Ron Wyden (D-OR), is designed to fast-track approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a landmark trade agreement currently under negotiation by the United States and 10 other Pacific Rim countries.
The GOP wants the Silicon Valley’s love. And by love we mean the millions of donation dollars that currently go mostly to Democrats. And sadly, it appears some Republicans will go to nearly any length to curry some of that coin.
Joy Pullmann, managing editor at The Federalist and education research fellow at the Heartland Institute discusses some of the top education policy stories of 2014 with Heather Kays, managing editor of School Reform News. Pullmann and Kays also discuss what’s to come in 2015.
Ignoring the language of the law, the Obama administration decided to give tax credits through the federally established exchange. This triggered several lawsuits, with two courts ruling to uphold the law as written, thereby preventing tax credits from being applied to individuals who signed up through the federal exchange, while a third court sided with the administration’s argument Congress simply forgot to write into the law that tax credits could be given through federal exchanges.
Throw enough mud at the wall, and some of it will stick. That seems to be the hope behind the several legal challenges brought against education tax credit scholarship programs. In some cases, choice opponents use the Blaine Amendment as an excuse to extinguish any hint of education freedom. In other cases, they use technicalities, such as a suit saying the statute violates a law requiring each piece of legislation concern only a single subject.
Over a three-year period, 2009-2012, Department of Justice data shows American taxpayers footed the bill for more than $53 million in so-called environmental groups’ legal fees—and the actual number could be much higher. The real motivation behind the Endangered Species Act (ESA) litigation, perhaps, could have more to do with vengeance and penance than with a real desire to protect flora and fauna.