Chicago has long been known as a city with a high violence rate. Decades ago, the city’s leaders created a ban on gun stores which has continued to the present time. Despite that ban, gun violence continues to be the city’s biggest problem. In 2013 guns were responsible for the deaths of 415 people. While this fatality rate is the lowest it’s been in over 40 years, it still remains three-times higher than gun violence in New York City. Mayor Rahm Emanuel argues that banning gun stores makes it harder for criminals to buy guns and thereby, lowers the number of weapons on Chicago’s streets. However, one report states that the majority of guns used in criminal acts come from outside the state of Illinois and that a large number of the guns taken by law enforcement come from cities near Chicago. It is also reported that more guns are confiscated in Chicago than in New York City or Los Angeles over a single weekend. Despite the city’s argument, a federal court ruled that banning gun stores from Chicago was a violation of the Second Amendment – the right to keep and bear arms for self-defense. The court issued an order that is forcing Mayor Emanuel to allow gun stores to open in the city. In response, the mayor introduced a new ordinance which opens the way for gun stores to operate, but restricts these businesses to less than 2 percent of the city’s limits. In a city council meeting earlier this year, Mr. Emanuel pointed out that gun stores allowed to open in the city would be required to submit their records to law enforcement upon request. Gun stores would also have to conduct an inventory audit each quarter and make sure their employees were trained on how to identify gun traffickers as well as pass a background check. Additionally, all purchases of firearms would need to be videotaped and a person would be limited to buying one gun each month. People who buy handguns would need to wait 72 hours and people shopping for shotguns or rifles would have a delay of 24 hours to complete the transaction. Supporters of the new ordinance say the strict restrictions are needed to combat the level of gun violence that besieges the city. Those opposed to the new ordinance allege that the mayor’s restrictions makes it nearly[READ MORE…]
The purpose of the Workers’ Compensation Act (Act) is to protect employees against risks and hazards which are particularly characteristics to the specific work they have been employed to do. An injury is compensable under the Act only if it “arises out of” and “in the course of” the employment. The phrase “in the course of” refers to the time, place and circumstances under which the accident occurred. The words “arising out of” refer to the origin or cause of the accident and assume that there is a causal connection between the employment and the injury. An injury “arises out of” the employment if it originates from a risk connected with, or incidental to, her /his job. Both of these elements must be present at the time of the accident or injury to justify compensation. Jane Brais worked for the Kankakee County Circuit Clerk’s Office as a child support coordinator. On the day of her accident, Brais was returning to her office at the courthouse from a work-related meeting at a nearby administrative building. Brais and other employees normally used the employee’s entrance at the rear of the courthouse. However, the entrance was locked, which meant she had to use the main entrance instead. As she neared the main entrance stairs, she caught the heel of her shoe in a sidewalk defect and fell; the sidewalk where she fell had huge cracks and was broken up. Brais testified, “You could pretty much see the gravel that they put down underneath the concrete.” She further testified there was a one-half to a one inch difference in the level between the smooth concrete and the crumbled concrete. Brais filed her claim against Kankakee County, and the arbitrator denied it. According to the arbitrator, Brais’ accident “occurred when she was walking along a public pathway going in to the county courthouse.” He added, “In doing so, she was not subjected to a risk to which the general public is not exposed or that was peculiar to her work.” The arbitrator found that the risk to the claimant which caused her injuries was no greater to her than to the general public. The Brais case found that the employee’s presence on the sidewalk approaching the steps to the courthouse’s front door was based on the demands of her employment, which had required her to attend a meeting in the administration building two blocks from[READ MORE…]
The State of Illinois continues in its efforts to protect nonsmokers, children and students from the dangers of smoking. In the past month, Governor Quinn has signed new laws regulating the way electronic cigarettes can be sold. The new law requires that all e-cigarettes must be sold from behind a counter, in a sealed case or in an age-restricted area. The law will also make it illegal to sell e-cigarettes from a self-service display. That law goes into effect on January 1st 2015. Another law that takes effect on the same day will prohibit the sale of e-cigarettes to anyone under age 18. Quinn also signed legislation, which takes effect on July 1, 2015, banning indoors and outdoors smoking on all Illinois public college and university campuses including all state-supported schools. The bill was sponsored by state Sen. Terry Link of Waukegan and state Rep. Ann Williams of Chicago. Several Illinois college campuses, including the University of Illinois at its Champaign-Urbana and Chicago, already have smoke-free policies in place. Smoking would still be allowed inside of privately owned vehicles and during activities protected by the federal American Indian Religious Freedom Act. Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, along with 28 other state attorneys general, recently submitted comments to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on its proposed e-cigarette rules. They urged the federal government to strengthen its proposed regulations for electronic cigarettes to include a ban on the sale of flavored products claiming that flavored e-cigarettes attract children and teenagers to the products. They also want the FDA to make e-cigarette advertising and marketing follow the same restrictions as tobacco products. Even Congress has become involved with 12 Senate Democrats proposing a law that would require child-proof bottles for the liquid nicotine used for e-cigarettes. The American Association of Poison Control Centers stated that toxic exposure to e-cigarette devices and liquid nicotine has risen from 271 in 2011 to more than 2,300 this year. Locally, Mayor Rahm Emanuel is being urged to extend his ban on smoking to include Chicago parks. While Chicago beaches and playgrounds are smoke-free, the parks do not have a similar ban. Chicago has earned a reputation for driving residents to quit, with the ban on e-cigarettes in any location that also bans smoking, disallowing sales to minors and banning all flavored tobacco product sales within 500 feet of schools. These and other measures such as one[READ MORE…]
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