Big Tobacco goes big in effort to quash law banning sales of flavored tobacco products

A coalition of big tobacco companies and small retailers is paying professional signature gatherers upward of $10 a name in an attempt put the brakes on the statewide law barring brick-and-mortar stores from selling menthol cigarettes and other flavored tobacco products.



Suresh Raina standing in front of a store: Employee Majid Abbas (left) helps a customer buy flavored tobacco at City Smoke and Vape Shop in San Francisco in 2017.


© Gabrielle Lurie / The Chronicle 2017

Employee Majid Abbas (left) helps a customer buy flavored tobacco at City Smoke and Vape Shop in San Francisco in 2017.


With the Nov. 30 deadline approaching for submitting signatures to qualify the measure for the 2022 ballot, the high-dollar effort has become an interesting blend of California politics and potentially huge business profits, with a dash of coronavirus shutdown tossed in for good measure.

At issue: SB793, authored by state Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, and signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom in August. Stores that break the ban on selling flavored tobacco and e-cigarettes would face a

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Government Probes Microsoft’s Effort to Boost Diversity | Business News

By MATT O’BRIEN and ALEXANDRA OLSON

Microsoft says the U.S. Labor Department is scrutinizing its efforts to boost Black employment and leadership at the tech company.

Microsoft disclosed in a blog post Tuesday that it received a letter from the agency last week asking about the company’s June pledge to double the number of Black and African American managers, senior individual contributors and senior leaders by 2025.

“The letter asked us to prove that the actions we are taking to improve opportunities are not illegal race-based decisions,” said Dev Stahlkopf, Microsoft’s general counsel. “Emphatically, they are not.”

CEO Satya Nadella made the June hiring commitment in response to Black Lives Matter protests around the country and as part of a broader message to employees about racial injustice and promoting a culture of inclusivity at the Redmond, Washington-based company.

It’s not uncommon for tech companies to publicly tout efforts to increase

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Government probes Microsoft’s effort to boost diversity

Microsoft says the U.S. Labor Department is scrutinizing its efforts to boost Black employment and leadership at the tech company.

Microsoft disclosed in a blog post Tuesday that it received a letter from the agency last week asking about the company’s June pledge to double the number of Black and African American managers, senior individual contributors and senior leaders by 2025.

“The letter asked us to prove that the actions we are taking to improve opportunities are not illegal race-based decisions,” said Dev Stahlkopf, Microsoft’s general counsel. “Emphatically, they are not.”


CEO Satya Nadella made the June hiring commitment in response to Black Lives Matter protests around the country and as part of a broader message to employees about racial injustice and promoting a culture of inclusivity at the Redmond, Washington-based company.

It’s not uncommon for tech companies to publicly tout efforts to increase staff diversity, given the industry’s longstanding

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Marijuana law reform a grassroots effort | Opinion

By John Wanless

I am writing in response to the recent opinion piece titled “The selling of New Jersey’s recreational marijuana referendum,” by Tom Haedrich.

Mr. Haedrich begins his article with: “Deep-pocketed special interests are so assured of New Jersey voters passing the upcoming recreational marijuana referendum that pungent smoke is already wafting through the halls of Trenton.” Thus, Haedrich frames the issue as if unscrupulous, rich investors were the driving force behind marijuana legalization. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Marijuana law reform has been a 100 percent grassroots movement for decades. In fact, we would beg the growers and sellers to support us, but, at best, they would just ignore us. Worse, in every state, we had to fight a loud contingent of greedy marijuana sellers who didn’t want legalization because they feared they would lose money, or even their “business.” It is not until just recently,

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Judge rejects John Bolton’s effort to dismiss government lawsuit over book

A federal judge on Thursday denied former Trump national security adviser John Bolton’s effort to get the government’s lawsuit over his book dismissed.

That allows the Justice Department to proceed in its effort to seize his profits from the book, “The Room Where it Happened,” a harsh condemnation of the Trump White House and its handling of foreign policy.

Federal District Court Judge Royce Lamberth said the government “alleges sufficient facts to support its claim” that Bolton violated his obligations to get written permission to proceed with publication after the book was reviewed to remove any classified information. The judge found the government has a sufficiently strong case to move on to the next step.

Justice Department lawyers have asked the judge to rule for them on summary judgment, without a trial. The judge said he will rule on that soon.

The government filed its lawsuit in June, arguing that

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Unredacted FBI Document Reveals Long-Standing Effort by White Supremacists to Infiltrate Law Enforcement

A recently unredacted FBI report revealed a long standing effort to infiltrate law enforcement by white supremacists.

According to the Intercept, the report was released by Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin, chair of the House Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, before a Tuesday hearing on the efforts of white supremacists to infiltrate local law enforcement agencies. An extensively redacted version of the document was publicly released in 2006 and is among a series of bureau documents that display a growing concern about white supremacists in law enforcement. The committee invited the FBI to attend the hearing but the agency declined.

“Having personnel within law enforcement agencies has historically been and will continue to be a desired asset for white supremacist groups seeking to anticipate law enforcement interest in and actions against them,” a previously redacted section read.

From the Intercept:

Another previously redacted section warned of “factors that might

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New law paves way for California to make its own insulin, generic drugs in effort to lower costs

California could make its own insulin and other prescription drugs in an effort to lower costs under a bill Gov. Gavin Newsom announced he signed into law Monday.

Newsom first proposed that California create its own prescription drug label in his January budget proposal. The legislation Newsom signed, Senate Bill 852, attempts to implement that plan by directing California’s Health and Human Services Agency to explore partnerships with drug manufacturers that could make drugs more affordable and accessible.

California wouldn’t develop new drugs under the law, but would instead try to make cheaper versions of generic drugs, or drugs that are no longer protected by patents.

The agency will have to explore whether such an arrangement would be legal and cost effective. The law specifies that any arrangements include production of at least one form of insulin, which about 7.4 million Americans with diabetes take to regulate blood sugar.

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