New York attorney general orders daily fantasy sports firms to shut down – Daily fantasy sports Daily fantasy sports has grown into a multibillion-dollar industry. Bryan Armen Graham in New York


New York’s attorney general declares daily fantasy sports games illegal

DraftKings, FanDuel contend their games are based on skill and not luck

Daily fantasy sports

Photograph: Stephan Savoia/AP

New York’s attorney general has ordered daily fantasy sports firms DraftKings and FanDuel to cease operations with consumers in the state, claiming their games constitute illegal gambling under New York law – the most significant blow yet in the mounting legal challenge facing what’s become a multibillion-dollar industry.

The cease-and-desist order from the state’s top attorney was first reported on Tuesday by the New York Times, citing sources with knowledge of the investigation.

The order from attorney general Eric Schneiderman comes less than one month after it was revealed that federal prosecutor Preet Bharara – the US attorney for the southern district of New York widely credited with shutting down the online poker industry in 2011 – was investigating whether the business model behind daily fantasy sports is in violation of federal law.

“Our investigation has found that, unlike traditional fantasy sports, daily fantasy sports companies are engaged in illegal gambling under New York law, causing the same kinds of social and economic harms as other forms of illegal gambling and misleading New York consumers,” Schneiderman said in a statement. “Daily fantasy sports is neither victimless nor harmless, and it is clear that DraftKings and FanDuel are the leaders of a massive, multibillion-dollar scheme intended to evade the law and fleece sports fans across the country.

“Today we have sent a clear message: not in New York and not on my watch.”

Daily fantasy sports players handpick virtual teams corresponding with real-life athletes and compete for points based on the players’ statistics. Paid competitions varying in format and waged each day cost as little as $1 to enter, but advertise prizes that can reach $2m.

Industry-leading firms DraftKings and FanDuel, each privately owned and valued at over $1bn, have long operated beyond government sanctions on sports gambling under the precept that their games involve more skill than luck, not unlike day trading.

 

Article continues:

http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2015/nov/10/new-york-attorney-general-orders-daily-fantasy-sports-firms-to-cease-and-desist

California Enacts New Rules on Medical Marijuana, Growers Pretty Cool With It – By Beth Ethier OCT. 10 2015 4:18 PM


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Tim Blakeley, manager of Sunset Junction medical marijuana dispensary, fills a marijuana prescription on May 11, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

California has implemented a series of regulations aimed at one of the state’s booming agricultural products—medical marijuana—and far from balking at government interference, producers seem pleased that lawmakers are ready to treat them as a real industry.

The Los Angeles Times reports that three bills, creating a system of oversight for the production of marijuana for medical purposes, were signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday:

The new laws create a state Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation to issue and revoke licenses for the cultivation, storage and sale of cannabis and collect fees to pay for the agency’s work.

Cities and counties will also have the power to issue and revoke local permits, adopt tougher restrictions on dispensary operations and ask voters to approve taxes on marijuana growers and dispensaries to pay for local public safety expenses.

Currently, some cities and counties have ordinances allowing them to license and limit the number of dispensaries. The new laws preserve the ability of Los Angeles to prosecute businesses that violate rules set by voters in 2013.

The Sacramento Bee notes that while the governor’s approval was expected, since his office was heavily involved in drafting the bills, an unlikely coalition of support had sprung up among some of the state’s most powerful interests, from labor unions seeking worker protections to the head of the state association of police chiefs.

And the target of this regulatory intrusion, proprietors of marijuana businesses, have made it known that they don’t mind the new rules. One grower told the Los Angeles Times that, even though he’ll have to modify his plans for a new indoor cultivation facility in order to comply, he welcomed “this well-thought-out set of guidelines.”

Article continues:

http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2015/10/10/california_medical_marijuana_regulation_industry_welcomes_new_rules_enacted.html

Carving Dicks in Dixie (Extra Scene from ‘Heritage and Hate’) – Vice News Published on Oct 7, 2015


Mississippi’s state flag is the last in the US containing the Confederate battle flag. VICE News and Kal Penn travel to the Magnolia State for a lesson on race relations, barbecue, and the meaning of southern heritage for black and white residents of Mississippi.

In this extra scene, Kal Penn takes a tour of the former home of Jefferson Davis, the first and only president of the Confederate States of America.

In Photos: At the KKK’s South Carolina Confederate Flag Rally – http://bit.ly/1YwoAH6

California Now Has the Nation’s Best Digital Privacy Law – KIM ZETTER 10.08.15. 9:58 PM


California continued its long-standing tradition for forward-thinking privacy laws today when Governor Jerry Brown signed a sweeping law protecting digital privacy rights.

The landmark Electronic Communications Privacy Act bars any state law enforcement agency or other investigative entity from compelling a business to turn over any metadata or digital communications—including emails, texts, documents stored in the cloud—without a warrant. It also requires a warrant to track the location of electronic devices like mobile phones, or to search them.

The legislation, which easily passed the Legislature last month, is the most comprehensive in the country, says the ACLU.

“This is a landmark win for digital privacy and all Californians,” Nicole Ozer, technology and civil liberties policy director at the ACLU of California, said in a statment. “We hope this is a model for the rest of the nation in protecting our digital privacy rights.”

Five other states have warrant protection for content, and nine others have warrant protection for GPS location tracking. But California is the first to enact a comprehensive law protecting location data, content, metadata and device searches, Ozer told WIRED.

“This is really a comprehensive update for the modern digital age,” she said.

State senators Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) and Joel Anderson (R-Alpine) wrote the legislation earlier this year to give digital data the same kinds of protection that non-digital communications have.

“For what logical reason should a handwritten letter stored in a desk drawer enjoy more protection from warrantless government surveillance than an email sent to a colleague or a text message to a loved one?” Leno said earlier this year. “This is nonsensical and violates the right to liberty and privacy that every Californian expects under the constitution.”

The bill enjoyed widespread support among civil libertarians like the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation as well as tech companies like Apple, Google, Facebook, Dropbox, LinkedIn, and Twitter, which have headquarters in California. It also had huge bipartisan support among state lawmakers.

“For too long, California’s digital privacy laws have been stuck in the Dark Ages, leaving our personal emails, text messages, photos and smartphones increasingly vulnerable to warrantless searches,” Leno said in a statement today. “That ends today with the Governor’s signature of CalECPA, a carefully crafted law that protects personal information of all Californians. The bill also ensures that law enforcement officials have the tools they need to continue to fight crime in the digital age.”

The law applies only to California law enforcement entities; law enforcement agencies in other states would be compelled by the laws in their jurisdictions, which is why Ozer and others say it’s important to get similar comprehensive laws passed elsewhere.

The law places California not only at the forefront of protecting digital privacy among states, it outpaces even the federal government, where such efforts have stalled.

 

Article continues:

http://www.wired.com/2015/10/california-now-nations-best-digital-privacy-law/

Virginia Republicans Admit They Rigged The State’s Congressional Districts To Elect GOP Lawmakers – BY IAN MILLHISER OCT 1, 2015 12:35PM


CREDIT: AP PHOTO/RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH, BOB BROWN

CREDIT: AP PHOTO/RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH, BOB BROWN

Virginia is one of the most gerrymandered states in the country. During the last presidential election, President Obama won the state by three points, but Republicans still picked up 8 of the state’s 11 congressional districts under the GOP-friendly maps drawn by the state legislature.

In a court filing offered by the Republican members of Virginia’s congressional delegation, the lawmakers who benefit most from these gerrymandered maps admitted that the GOP intentionally rigged the state’s congressional districts in order to produce a lopsided delegation. The state legislature’s “overarching priorities” in drawing the maps, according to the court filing, was “incumbency protection and preservation of cores to maintain the 8-3 partisan division established in the 2010 election.”

2010 was a very good year for Republicans, enabling the GOP to capture unusually large portions of state congressional delegations. 2012, by contrast, was a strong year for Democrats which saw the reelection of President Obama. And yet, by these Republican lawmakers’ own admission, the maps drawn between the 2010 and 2012 elections were draw for the explicit purpose of ensuring that the GOP’s unusually strong performance in 2010 would be replicated year after year — even in years when the electorate was more favorable to Democrats. The GOP’s goal, in other words, was to render congressional elections little more than political theater, an annual ritual that would produce the same 8-3 delegation every single time.

Article continues:

http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2015/10/01/3707838/virginia-republicans-admit-they-rigged-the-states-congressional-districts-to-elect-gop-lawmakers/

 

Kentucky Is Obamacare’s Undeniable Success Story. This Man Is Trying To Burn It All Down. – BY EMILY ATKIN & JOSH ISRAEL SEP 14, 2015 8:20AM


CREDIT: AP PHOTO/TIMOTHY D. EASLEY Kentucky GOP gubernatorial nominee Matt Bevin

CREDIT: AP PHOTO/TIMOTHY D. EASLEY
Kentucky GOP gubernatorial nominee Matt Bevin

Though it has been largely ignored by national media and pollsters, Kentucky’s November gubernatorial election could mean striking changes for the Bluegrass State. The nation’s most unlikely Obamacare success story — a state system that has provided more than 500,000 Kentuckians with affordable health insurance — might well be ransacked by a Tea Party candidate named Matt Bevin.

From the earliest days, Kentucky’s efforts to implement Obamacare have earned national acclaim. As the troubled roll out of the national health care exchange website was ruthlessly mocked by late night television, Fortune praised “one health exchange success story“: Kentucky’s new state-level marketplace.

Unlike most southern states, Kentucky opted to both set up its own state exchange (the Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange, commonly known as “Kynect”) and to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. These efforts, ordered by Gov. Steve Beshear (D) and overseen by Governing magazine’s 2014 Public Official of the Year Carrie Banahan, helped get 521,000 Kentuckians insurance coverage in the first year alone. According to a Gallup poll, by the first half of 2015, Kentucky’s uninsured rate had fallen from 20.4 percent in 2013 to just 9 percent, the second largest drop of any state. Governing fêted Kentucky as “one of the few states that got everything right.”

In testimonials provided to ThinkProgress by Kentucky Voices for Health, a coalition of health advocacy groups, many Kentuckians agreed. “Thank God for Kynect,” said Eddie Alvis, who after years of struggling financially was able to get health insurance, and discovered he had severe asthma. “It has really empowered me,” said Lynn Young, a Louisville resident who got insured despite her recent unemployment. And Helen Spalding, who lost her job and benefits after a serious car accident, was also able to purchase insurance. “Kynect has been here for me,” she said. “It’s a blessing.”

But with Beshear term-limited, Bevin, the GOP nominee, has made it clear he wants to reverse course. The Tea Party-backed candidate vows he’ll do away with both the successful state exchange and the Medicaid expansion that has helped hundreds of thousands get affordable health care — moves that the governor could likely make unilaterally.

Article continues:

http://thinkprogress.org/health/2015/09/14/3698831/matt-bevin-kentucky-eliminate-health-care/

 

Judge Strikes Down Idaho ‘Ag-Gag’ Law, Raising Questions For Other States – LUKE RUNYON `AUGUST 04, 2015 5:26 PM ET


Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at Aug 5, 2015 2.17

Laws in Montana, Utah, North Dakota, Missouri, Kansas, Iowa and North Carolina have also made it illegal for activists to smuggle cameras into industrial animal operations.

Laws in Montana, Utah, North Dakota, Missouri, Kansas, Iowa and North Carolina have also made it illegal for activists to smuggle cameras into industrial animal operations.

iStockphoto

Idaho’s so-called “ag-gag” law, which outlawed undercover investigations of farming operations, is no more. A judge in the federal District Court for Idaho decided Monday that it was unconstitutional, citing First Amendment protections for free speech.

But what about the handful of other states with similar laws on the books?

Laws in Montana, Utah, North Dakota, Missouri, Kansas and Iowa have also made it illegal for activists to smuggle cameras into industrial animal operations. A new North Carolina law goes into effect in January 2016. But now those laws’ days could be numbered, according to the lead attorney for the coalition of animal welfare groups that sued the state of Idaho.

“This is a total victory on our two central constitutional claims,” says University of Denver law professor Justin Marceau, who represented the plaintiff, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, in the case. “Ag-gag laws violate the First Amendment and Equal Protection Clause. This means that these laws all over the country are in real danger.”

“Ag-gag” refers to a variety of laws meant to curb undercover investigations of agricultural operations, often large dairy, poultry and pork farms. The Idaho law criminalized video or audio recording of a farm without the owner’s consent and lying to a farm owner to gain employment there to do an undercover investigation.

Other “ag-gag” laws require that animal abuse be reported within a specific time frame, a tactic animal activists say is meant to prevent them from gathering evidence of an abuse pattern rather than just a singular event.

Utah’s “ag-gag” law is the subject of another federal lawsuit, filed by the ALDF and PETA. Other states’ laws go back to the early 1990s when Kansas passed criminal penalties for anyone found to damage or harm an agricultural research facility. Iowa’s statute is considered to be the first in a batch of more recent “ag-gag” laws. Signed into law in 2012, it was the first to criminalize secretly videotaping a farm without the owner’s permission.

Article continues:

http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/08/04/429345939/idaho-strikes-down-ag-gag-law-raising-questions-for-other-states1