måndag 17 februari 2014

Olagligt för uteliggare att värma sig med filtar i Florida - trots isande kyla och minusgrader

RT 2014-02-12. En ny lag från förra sommaren i Florida, USA, har gjort det olagligt för uteliggare att värma sig med filtar eller något annat skyddande material för att hålla värmen...
En petition med över 10 000 underskrifter har uppmanat Floridas politiker visa nåd mot de frysande uteliggarna i vinterkylan, men politikerna är obevekliga. "- Let the Freezing Games begin..!"
RT 2014-02-12.
Despite freezing conditions and a recent “state of emergency” weather alert, the Pensacola, Florida City Council has stood behind its “camping” ordinance that bars sleeping outdoors while covered with bedding or newspaper, for example.

Members of the Pensacola community have pressed the City Council to reconsider a so-called “camping” ordinance passed last summer, particularly the sections of the law that criminalize keeping warm with a blanket, tent or other materials commonly used by the homeless for shelter.

At the time of its passage, the ordinance was defended in the Council on the bases that “camping” in public was considered a threat to sanitation, public health, and safety, in addition to being a blight on Pensacola’s “aesthetic” quality.

Yet after mounting pressure and the Pensacola Mayor’s recent change of heart, the Council is set to consider an amendment to the ordinance this week. Its success, though, is not guaranteed, as the Council voted the ordinance through last summer by a vote of 6 to 3.

- The ordinance says a person may not be "adjacent to or inside a tent or sleeping bag, or atop and/or covered by materials such as a bedroll, cardboard, newspapers, or inside some form of temporary shelter."

Amid an untypically cold winter in the area, Pensacola City Councilwoman Sherri F. Myers, a longtime opponent of the measure, offered in January a new proposal to “amend the controversial ‘camping’ ordinance to allow for cover, including blankets, sleeping bags and bedding materials,” wrote Jeremy Bosso, a lab technical director at West Florida University’s Wetlands Research Laboratory. He writes about local politics on his personal website.

Myers’ proposal was blocked by Council President Jewel Cannada-Wynn, who has supported the camping ban from the beginning.

The action spurred local residents to again push the City Council to review and repeal the detrimental sections of the law that particularly affected the homeless. Bosso was one of those who approached the Council. He compared a local news warning about bringing pets inside during cold temperatures to how the city of Pensacola’s ordinance treats humans left in the same conditions.

“- I think we should extend that courtesy to our fellow humans,” he said of the effort to lift the prohibition of blankets in public.

“I mean, we do it for the animals, and I think we should respect life at all stages.”

Last week, Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward issued a statement saying, “after reflecting and praying on this issue,” he now supports amending the ordinance.

Hayward said he has been “working with” Councilman Larry B. Johnson, who supported the ordinance, “to establish an advisory committee on improving human services…tasked with collecting data and producing a set of fiscally-responsible, realistic, and actionable recommendations.”

In response, Bosso wrote, “the establishment of an advisory committee was promised…last year.”
A “proposed ordinance to end the blanket ban will be brought to a vote at the February 13, 2014 Council meeting at Pensacola City Hall,” Bosso added.

The current camping ban has garnered attention outside the Florida Panhandle. A Change.org petition that calls for a repeal of the ordinance has received over 10,000 signatures since its creation a few weeks ago.

Olagligt för uteliggare att värma sig med filtar i Florida - trots isande kyla och minusgrader

2 kommentarer:

  1. -Idaho Bill Criminalizing Videotaping of Agricultural Operations Targets Opponents of Animal Abuse-

    February 16, 2014

    Source: All Gov.

    The agricultural industry in Idaho is pushing a bill in the state legislature that would prevent activists from recording mistreatment of farm animals.

    SB 1337, which has cleared a state senate committee, would prohibit unauthorized video recordings on agricultural facilities. The industry has labeled such activity “ag terrorism.”

    “There is an anti-animal agricultural agenda, which goes to great lengths to misrepresent what happens in our industry,” Jared Brackett, president of the Idaho Cattle Association, told the Twin Falls Times-News.

    If the legislation becomes law, violators could face a fine of $5,000 and one year in prison. The bill also targets farm whistleblowers who attempt to document events without authorization by their employer.

    Critics point out that the “ag gag” measure comes after an animal rights group used undercover footage to expose animal abuse at Dry Creek Dairy in Hansen, Idaho, two years ago.

    That footage showed employees dragging a cow by its neck using a chain and tractor, workers hitting and kicking milk cows, and one employee caning a cow.

    “I think the video speaks to itself,” Boise resident Sue Brooks told the Senate Agriculture Committee. “Now, if the employee stepped forward without that video, would that employee be believed? Do you see any cattleman here today believing that would have happened?”

    Matt Dominguez, public policy manager for the Humane Society, said there are “good farmers in Idaho,” but “there are bad apples and you need a tool to root those out.”

    Idaho is not the first state to adopt laws targeting animal rights activists involved in farm operations. Utah, Montana, and Kansas have passed similar bills. The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and other animal rights groups have challenged Utah’s law in court as a violation of free speech by making it illegal to gather evidence of animal abuse.[...]



  2. --How Big Banks Are Cashing In On Food Stamps--

    February 16, 2014

    Source: Prospect.org
    Many benefit programs have gone high tech with debit cards and J.P. Morgan Chase and others are making a pretty penny charging users fees. What is there to be done?
    The Agricultural Act of 2014, signed into law by President Obama last Friday, includes $8 billion in cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program(SNAP) over the next decade. One way the bill proposes to accomplish these savings is by reducing food stamp fraud. When the new farm bill is enacted, many of America’s hardest working families will experience cuts in services and have trouble putting food on their family’s table. But there will be major gains for an industry that most Americans might not expect: banking.
    Banks reap hefty profits helping governments make payments to individuals, business that only got better when agencies switch from making payments on paper—checks and vouchers—to electronic benefits transfer (EBT) cards. EBT cards look and work like debit cards, and by 2002, had entirely replaced the stamp booklets that gave the food stamp program its name. SNAP is the most well-known program delivered via EBT, but they also carry payments for Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF); Women, Infants and Children (WIC); childcare subsidies; state general assistance; and many other programs. EBT use is widespread, from the corner store to the supercenter. According to a 2012 USDA report, SNAP funds, averaging $133 per family member per month, can be spent at more than 246,000 authorized stores, farmers' markets, farms, and meal providers nationwide.
    Not only are the operating costs of delivering benefits by EBT lower—no paper checks to cut, envelopes to stuff, or postage to pay—but electronic forms of payment allow banks to multiply opportunities for revenue generation. Banks hold contracts with federal, state, and municipal agencies to provide EBT cards and services, collect interest on federal reserve money held for government programs (though not on SNAP funds), charge transaction fees for merchant use of bank technology and infrastructure, and levy penalties on users for EBT card loss, out-of-network use, and balance inquiries. Banks make money distributing government benefits if the economy is bad, because more people sign up for assistance; they make money if the economy is good, because rising interest rates mean more profit on the money they hold to distribute to beneficiaries.[...]





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