Tag Archive for ‘California’
California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a bill holding the state’s employers legally responsible for wage and safety violations committed by their subcontractors and temp agencies. With the new law, California will have some of the country’s farthest-reaching protections for temporary workers, among the fastest growing and most vulnerable segments of the workforce.
“Cap-and-trade,” whereby big polluters must pay to emit greenhouse gases against a capped total amount that is reduced over time—has been in effect across the European Union (EU) since 2005. Meanwhile, Switzerland, New Zealand, Australia, Kazakhstan and South Korea have each set up their own national cap-and-trade programs to varying degrees of success, while regional versions have popped up within Japan, Canada and the U.S.
Lead paint makers suffered a landmark defeat Monday when a state court judge in San Jose, Calif., ordered the industry to create a $1.1 billion fund to eliminate lead hazards to children in hundreds of thousands of homes in the state. The decision broke the industry’s perfect record of defending suits by public agencies seeking to extract money for removal of flaking lead paint from older homes and apartments. It marked a huge victory for 10 California municipalities that will be able to draw on the fund for home inspections and repairs if the ruling holds up.
In April, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention raised to 535,000 its estimate of the number of American children with potentially dangerous levels of lead in their blood. But for U.S. communities combating the lead hazards, there might never be any money from the group some say is most responsible for creating the problem: Companies that made lead pigment used in the old, flaking paint still coating millions of dwellings.
Seven U.S. states have now enacted laws creating a new type of corporation – typically called a benefit corporation, or B Corp – to advance the cause of socially responsible business. But a corporate attorney argues that, however well-intentioned, the B Corp structure “undermines the very values that corporate governance advocates should seek to promote: responsible, sustainable corporate decision-making by companies of any stripe.”
California Governor Jerry Brown recently signed into law competing bills that create two new corporate forms — a “flexible purpose corporation” and a “benefit corporation” — intended to allow entrepreneurs and investors the choice of organizing companies that can pursue both economic and social objectives. Here’s a legal analysis of the implications for businesses with a social purpose.
If Oregon succeeds in passing the nation’s first statewide ban on plastic bags, it will be over the strenuous objections of the plastics industry, led by South Carolina-based bag manufacturer Hilex Poly. Opponents in the plastic industry have waged an all-out campaign to deny that plastic bags pose a threat to the environment, even raising fears about the safety of reusable bags.
It has been possible for years if not decades to provide all of a home’s energy needs with solar power. The technology is here and is only getting more efficient and less obtrusive every day. The only real stumbling block is cost: Solar systems capable of meeting all of an average U.S. home’s energy needs start at around $25,000.
There will no doubt be a fair amount of theater this week as the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission holds its first public hearings exploring the causes of the 2008 financial crisis that nearly catapulted the U.S. and world economies into a 21st century Great Depression. While many will focus attention on the star bankers testifying, there’s another potential star in this drama that you might want to keep on eye on: the commission’s chairman, Phil Angelides.