What banning noncompetes could mean for the US workforce

“A 2014 survey of economists found that nearly 20 percent of workers have noncompete clauses in their contracts. That number is more likely 50 percent for people in high-skilled and high-tech jobs”

“Marx added that these agreements don’t just specify that you can’t share a specific company’s secrets, but are often interpreted more broadly so that a person can’t use skills they had prior to working at that company — something he said can be debilitating to high-skilled workers and entrepreneurs.”

“Detractors of noncompete clauses say the agreements prohibit workers from getting jobs with competitors or even within the same industry. In doing so, they restrict job mobility and prevent workers from being able to push for higher wages, since changing jobs is often how workers get higher pay. These clauses can send them on lengthy job searches or even “career detours.””

“Pro-employer groups like the US Chamber of Commerce have argued that noncompete clauses can actually be pro-competitive because they protect an “employer’s special investment in, training of, and disclosure of sensitive business information to its employees.” In a statement released shortly after the FTC’s announcement, the organization called the rulemaking “blatantly unlawful” since it says the FTC doesn’t have the authority to promote the rule. “When appropriately used, noncompete agreements are an important tool in fostering innovation and preserving competition,” the Chamber said in an emailed statement.”

Florida’s War on Drag Targets Theater’s Liquor License

“Conservative government scolds in Florida are making good on a Christmas threat against an Orlando performance venue and are trying to revoke its liquor license because it let minors attend a bawdy drag show with their parents.
Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation filed an administrative complaint Friday against the Orlando Philharmonic Plaza Foundation, which operates The Plaza Live theater in Orlando. In December, The Plaza Live hosted A Drag Queen Christmas, a touring stage show of risqué drag performances with holiday themes.”

“For naughty Christmas lyrics, the state is threatening a business’s liquor license. The complaint charges six counts of violating state indecency regulations, all based on allowing children to attend.

The scant photo evidence the state includes in the complaint further substantiates the claim that the war on drag queens is a politically driven moral panic. To the extent that the show is indeed sexual, as with any other form of entertainment with adult content, parents and venues are well-equipped to decide for themselves whether to bring their children. It’s not a role the state should be deciding, and in so many other cases, the state does not.

Despite making a big deal about supporting parents’ rights in education, Gov. Ron DeSantis does not think parents should have the right to decide what kind of entertainment their children should consume.”

Joe Biden, Travel Agent in Chief

“These are the sorts of proposals that sound good in theory—who wouldn’t want to pay less in junk fees? But some of these fees exist for good reasons. (Late fees, for instance, encourage people to pay their bills on time, which is good for both credit card companies and for users, who will otherwise rack up more interest to pay back.) And in any event, companies aren’t simply going to say, “OK, we’ll just make less money.”
Hotels may respond by raising base room rates or charging new fees for typical amenities. Airlines that can’t charge for choosing your seat may raise base ticket prices, baggage fees, or other costs. Banks that can’t fine people for overdrawing their accounts may raise rates for opening an account, require higher minimum balances, or deny more people bank accounts to begin with. Credit card companies that can’t charge late fees may deny more lines of credit or charge higher interest rates. And so on.

All the Biden administration is really doing is shifting people’s costs around.”

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul’s Housing Plan Avoids Common Mistake of Other YIMBY Reforms

“New York has some of the most restrictive local zoning regimes in the country, resulting in rock-bottom rates of housing construction and sky-high prices.
Now, Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul is proposing to fix this sad status quo by allowing developers to bypass city and town zoning codes altogether and get their housing projects approved directly by a fast-tracked state process.

“Through zoning, local communities hold enormous power to block growth,” said Hochul in her annual State of the State address yesterday. “People want to live here, but local decisions to limit growth mean they cannot. Local governments can and should make different choices.””

Zoning Police Continue To Find New Ways To Punish the Poor

“Some people live together by choice. Others share space out of necessity. Lack of affordable housing forces many families to adjust, but the zoning police remain rigid in Cobb County, Georgia.
Even during a nationwide housing crisis, code enforcers northwest of Atlanta continue to enforce a narrow vision of suburbia. One rule limits overnight parking based on property size. Families can have one car for every 390 square feet of living space, which effectively prevents more than two vehicle owners from living together in a 1,000-square-foot unit.

Teen drivers are out of luck. So are adult children, college students, mothers-in-law, and any guest who stays longer than one week. The city does not concern itself with individual circumstances, nor does it care if vehicles remain in good condition with current tags. It counts newer models and clunkers the same.”

Google’s Brief to the Supreme Court Explains Why We Need Section 230

“”If Section 230 does not apply to how YouTube organizes third-party videos, petitioners and the government have no coherent theory that would save search recommendations and other basic software tools that organize an otherwise unnavigable flood of websites, videos, comments, messages, product

What the right’s gas stove freakout was really about

“touches on a real, coast-to-coast crusade by liberal city and state leaders to prohibit gas stoves and furnaces in new buildings, on the grounds that they endanger health and contribute to climate change. But the White House has disavowed enacting any such ban at the federal level. (“The president does not support banning gas stoves,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters after the issue came up repeatedly at Wednesday’s news briefing.)”

“In December, Beyer and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) asked the Consumer Product Safety Commission to look at the health risks posed by gas stoves’ methane emissions.
Then a member of that five-person commission suggested to Bloomberg News in a story this week that a ban on new gas stoves could be one of many options to be pursued in the future. But the member, Biden nominee Richard Trumka Jr., had previously failed to get his fellow commissioners to support even regulating stoves, as POLITICO’s E&E News reported Tuesday. Instead, the commission plans to gather “public input” on stoves’ health hazards and possible solutions.

“I am not looking to ban gas stoves and the CPSC has no proceeding to do so,” Chair Alexander Hoehn-Saric later said in a statement.

By then, though, the issue had escalated to culture-war level — and lawmakers unleashed a barrage of snarky comments.”

“a rising number of studies point to possible health hazards, increasing the urgency of squelch any potential federal ban.

A recently published study nabbed headlines for concluding that gas stove emissions contribute to one in eight cases of childhood asthma — likening it to the dangers posed by second-hand tobacco smoke. And a 2022 report from the American Lung Association that looked at dozens of prior studies found that gas stoves and ovens are major sources of harmful indoor air pollutants that the federal government doesn’t regulate because they occur indoors.”

What 2022 Taught Us About Freeing American Alcohol Markets

“In the first two years of the pandemic, American alcohol rules underwent a fundamental shift. States started enacting emergency orders—and then cementing those orders in legislation—that authorized never-before-seen innovations in alcohol policy, such as letting restaurants and bars deliver booze and sell it to go. But if 2020 and 2021 ushered in new hopes of opening up American alcohol markets, 2022 is the year when protectionism struck back.
In the early months of the pandemic, state governments were reacting in real time to unprecedented circumstances. The new environment included stay-at-home orders, social distancing guidelines, and masking mandates. It no longer became viable for most retail businesses to rely solely on an in-person customer base, as the entire economy shifted over to a delivery-centric model. Restaurants, breweries, wineries, and neighborhood liquor stores all faced an existential business crisis.

States reacted by upending a nearly centurylong consensus on alcohol regulations. Before, it was essentially unheard-of to let a pizzeria throw in a margarita with a delivery order. Then states started issuing emergency orders that allowed it. And practices that had been slightly more common—such as allowing alcohol to be included in grocery store deliveries, which numerous states permitted before COVID-19—spread to an unprecedented number of locales.

Unsurprisingly, these changes proved popular. In states where citizens were polled, strong majorities expressed their support for more types of to-go and delivery booze. Lawmakers can read polls, and a wave of states either extended the reforms or made them permanent.

The results were dramatic. When 2020 began, no place in America had a statewide to-go or delivery alcohol law for restaurants. By the fall of 2021, 29 states had such a law on the books. During that time, another seven states passed laws permitting alcohol delivery from off-premise stores, such as grocery or liquor stores, and eight states passed laws expanding the delivery capabilities of breweries, distilleries, and other alcohol producers.

But in 2022, this explosive rate of reform slowed down. The progress didn’t stop altogether: Nine more states passed to-go or delivery alcohol laws for restaurants, and one more state authorized alcohol delivery from off-premise stores. But the pace of change noticeably declined. Worse yet, several reforms suffered high-profile defeats.”

“The opposition has finally had a chance to get organized. And by the opposition, I mean entrenched economic interests. In Colorado, incumbent liquor store owners felt the proposed ballot initiatives would hurt their bottom lines by allowing other types of stores, like grocery or chain stores, to sell and deliver alcohol. . And in California and elsewhere, alcohol wholesalers have become increasingly aggressive in opposing any direct-to-consumer reforms that would let alcohol makers cut out the middleman and ship products directly to their customers.”