INDIANAPOLIS – Whistleblowers in Indiana could earn a reward of up to $5,000 if their tip leads to the arrest and conviction of anyone involved in the abuse of farm animals.The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has just launched a national tip line where callers can report animal abuse at farms, slaughterhouses or livestock auctions.Paul Shapiro, vice president of farm animal protection with HSUS, says his organization’s undercover investigations have found animal abuse at factory farms and slaughterhouses to be rampant across the U.S.“Our exposes have found evidence of workers and management cruelly beating, kicking, dragging, even torturing animals,” he says. “This is the type of cruelty that simply has no place in our society, and it needs to stop.”The tip line is especially designed for workers at farms and slaughterhouses, but anyone can call to report abuse and remain anonymous if they choose.The Humane Society will investigate and verify all claims, and up to $5,000 will be paid if the tip leads to the arrest and conviction of those who have committed acts of cruelty against farm animals.Shapiro says the tip line is the result of some states passing “Ag-Gag” laws, such as Idaho, where it is now illegal to photograph farm animals being abused in a facility.“It’s basically evidence of an industry that is grasping at straws, trying to keep Americans in the dark,” he says. “You know an industry has a lot to hide when they want to make it a crime to document the abuse of animals.”The hotline number is 1-888-209-7177.Mary Kuhlman
A judge has ruled that all Florida counties must provide Spanish-language ballots and voter registration cards in time for the 2020 primary elections.The ruling came in favor of Latino advocacy and civic engagement groups who filed a lawsuit against the state in 2018 for only providing voting materials in English.The groups reported that a majority of the Spanish-language speakers in Florida where left disenfranchised because 32 counties in Florida only provided voting materials in one language.The group also pointed to the federal Voting Rights Act which states that if a student is taught in an American school where the primary language is not English, as it is in Puerto Rico, the student can’t be denied the right to vote just because they cannot understand English.Over 30,000 Puerto Rican’s who are not proficient in English have moved to Florida between 2011 and 2015 the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey found.Many more Puerto Rican’s came to Florida after the devastation of Hurricane Maria.US District Court Chief Judge Mark Walker sided with the groups on Friday stating, that the English-only elections are in violation of the Voting Rights Act.Florida’s governor and secretary of state have started to process for the change which was applauded by Judge Walker, however, the judge believes the change needs to be made in time for the 2020 primary elections so all legal Florida residents have a fair opportunity to vote.
State Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s $100 million lawsuit against cable giant Comcast cleared a legal hurdle when King County Superior Court Judge Timothy A. Bradshaw ruled on Dec. 23 that the suit may move forward.“The court correctly rejected Comcast’s attempt to evade responsibility for deceiving its customers,” Ferguson said. “Washington consumers deserve their day in court.”The suit, filed Aug. 1, accuses Comcast of more than 1.8 million violations of the state’s Consumer Protection Act, including misrepresenting the scope of its service protection plan, charging customers improper service call fees and improper credit screening practices. The lawsuit accuses Comcast of violating the Consumer Protection Act to all of its nearly 1.2 million Washington subscribers due to its deceptive “Comcast Guarantee.”Ferguson claims Comcast’s own documents reveal a pattern of illegally deceiving their customers to “pad their bottom line by tens of millions of dollars.”The trial is set for July 31.The lawsuit is the first of its kind in the nation –though the service protection plan is a nationwide program. The Attorney General’s Office brought these issues to Comcast more than a year ago, but the company didn’t make changes until recently.The lawsuit seeks over $73 million in restitution to pay back service protection plan subscriber payments; full restitution for all service calls that applied an improper resolution code; removing improper credit checks from the credit reports of more than 6,000 customers; up to $2,000 per violation of the Consumer Protection Act; and broad injunctive relief, including requiring to clearly disclose the limitations of service protection plan in advertising and through representatives, correct improper service codes and implement a compliance procedure for improper customer credit checks.