Communities for a Better Environment, 9/5/23
LAW & POLICY NOTE (September 2023)
The old common-sense idea that representatives of business, labor, and the public should sit down together to negotiate over industry labor standards is new again. The California budget bill in July 2023 revived the Industrial Welfare Commission (IWC) from an almost 20-year quiescence due to funding cuts in the early 2000s. The IWC is a 110-year-old mechanism for setting standards for wages and working conditions through a collaborative process involving representatives of California workers, businesses, and the public. We explain how the IWC works, its importance as an exemplar of effective sectoral bargaining, the relationship between the IWC’s renewed mandate and ongoing disputes over last year’s Fast Food Accountability and Standards (“FAST”) Recovery Act, and what the IWC’s revival could mean for workers, business, and the public alike.
Environmental Law Clinic, 9/2/23
In Reflections on Music Copyright Justice, Professor Peter Menell argues that the digital revolution has upended many aspects of the copyright system, particularly as it relates to music.
Heather Whitney, a San Francisco-based attorney at Morrison Foerster wrote an insightful article on the Thaler v. Perlmutter decision and ongoing uncertainty about copyright protection for genAI outputs.
This month we highlight news on financial fraud, international law, Indigenous American repatriation, social justice, the future of art degrees in Afghanistan, and more.
American Legislative Exchange Council, 08/28/2023
LAW & POLICY NOTE (August 2023)
In 2021, California created a groundbreaking grant program, Social Entrepreneurs for Economic Development (SEED), which awarded nonprofit community-based organizations almost $10 million in state funds to provide entrepreneurial training and microgrants to individuals facing substantial barriers to gainful employment due to their immigration status or limited English proficiency. SEED supported individuals in launching or maintaining a small business to address a social problem or meet a community need, as well as the development of worker-owned cooperatives in low-wage industries. The state codified SEED, in order to eliminate even the smallest risk that an anti-immigrant provision of federal welfare law, 8 U.S.C. § 1621, could be used in an attempt to invalidate the program. Section 1621 was passed by Congress in 1996 to restrict the eligibility of undocumented individuals for “state or local public benefits”—and has been the basis of lawsuits attacking state and locally funded initiatives for undocumented individuals. We discuss section 1621, with a focus on how state and local grant programs like SEED for undocumented workers can be shielded against a section 1621 challenge.