Health insurance premium increases invalidated under Open Meetings Act 9/5/17

By Jane Nicholes, SNPA Correspondent

An Alabama circuit judge has ruled that the state board governing education employees' health insurance violated the Open Meetings Act when it met in private before voting to jack up rates.

How far-reaching the ruling will be depends on whether it is appealed and upheld, said Dennis Bailey, longtime attorney for the Alabama Press Association.

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Texas court kills Obama DOL overtime rule 9/4/17

By L. Michael Zinser, The Zinser Law Firm

On Aug. 31, U.S. District Court Judge Amos Mazzant granted the motion for summary judgment of various business groups and state attorneys general in the overtime rule case.

Previously, on Nov. 22, 2016, Judge Mazzant issued a nationwide injunction, preventing the implementation of the rule, pending a decision on the merits of the case. The injunction case is before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. It has been fully briefed and is currently scheduled for oral argument before the court on Oct. 3.

There is much speculation that oral argument may not occur, and the DOL may withdraw the appeal, given the Aug. 31 decision of Judge Mazzant granting the motion for summary judgment, which ruled that the final rule was unlawful.

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Court of Appeals reverses NLRB on handbook policies 8/15/17

By L. Michael Zinser, The Zinser Law Firm

In recent years, the National Labor Relations Board has relentlessly attacked common sense policies found in many employee handbooks. I have been hoping that the U.S. Court of Appeals would correct these egregious decisions. I am delighted to report that, on July 25, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit issued an opinion in a case involving T-Mobile that did just that.

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Latest updates on N.C. legislative presumption 8/8/17

By L. Michael Zinser, The Zinser Law Firm

As previously reported, North Carolina newspapers have been fighting to maintain the tremendous advantage they have enjoyed in Workers' Compensation legislation for the last 20 years, in the form of a legislative presumption of independent contractor status for newspaper carriers.

At the very end of the legislative session on June 28, a modified version of H.B. 205 passed in both Houses. This bill would have removed the legislative presumption. Fortunately, on July 17, Governor Roy Cooper vetoed the new legislation.

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New website tracks press freedom violations in United States 8/8/17

More than 20 press freedom organizations have joined together to launch the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, a new nonpartisan website dedicated to documenting press freedom abuses across the United States.

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DOJ's announcement on leaks is 'deeply troubling' 8/7/17

On Friday, United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Department of Justice would increase its pursuit of investigations into unauthorized disclosures. In his statement, he said he would also revisit internal DOJ guidelines that address how and when federal prosecutors can use subpoenas and other tools to obtain the records of journalists as a part of these investigations.

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U.S. Department of Labor overtime rule update 8/1/17

By L. Michael Zinser, The Zinser Law Firm

The DOL is inviting comments on the 2016 revisions to white collar exemption regulations. Here are specific questions that will be addressed.

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NC governor vetoes bill to remove independent contractor presumption 7/18/17

By L. Michael Zinser, The Zinser Law Firm

On Monday, July 17, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper vetoed legislation that would have removed the independent contractor presumption that the state's newspaper industry has enjoyed for the last 20 years. As previously reported, the presumption was removed on June 28 when a modified version of House Bill 205 passed in a midnight session of the Legislature.

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President Trump moves to fill two NLRB vacancies 7/11/17

By L. Michael Zinser, The Zinser Law Firm

On June 28 President Trump formally nominated both Marvin Kaplan and William Emmanuel to fill the two Republican vacancies on the National Labor Relations Board. At the present time, the NLRB has a 2-to-1 pro-union, Democratic majority. These two nominees, once confirmed, will then shift the Board to a 3-to-2 Republican majority.

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North Carolina newspapers lose legislative presumption 7/10/17

By L. Michael Zinser, The Zinser Law Firm

Passage of a new bill removes a tremendous advantage North Carolina newspapers have enjoyed in Worker's Compensation litigation for nearly two decades.

The bill removes a legislative presumption of independent contractor status for newspaper carriers under the state's Workers' Compensation law.

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