San Francisco News

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Why do airlines charge so much for checked bags? This obscure rule helps explain why

Jay L. Zagorsky, Associate Professor of Markets, Public Policy and Law, Boston University Five out of the six biggest U.S. airlines have raised their checked bag fees since January 2024. Take American Airlines. In 2023, it cost US$30 to check a standard bag in with the airline; today, as of March 2024, it costs $40 at a U.S. airport – a whopping 33% increase. As a business school professor who studies travel, I’m often asked why airlines alienate their customers with baggage fees instead of bundling all charges together. There are many reasons, but an important, often overlooked cause is buried in the U.S. tax code. A tax-law loophole Airlines

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How meth became an epidemic in America, and what’s happening now that it’s faded from the headlines

William Garriott, Professor of Law, Politics, and Society, Drake University Rural America has long suffered from an epidemic of methamphetamine use, which accounts for thousands of drug overdoses and deaths every year. William Garriott, an anthropologist at Drake University, explored meth’s impact on communities and everyday life in the U.S. in his 2011 book “Policing Methamphetamine: Narcopolitics in Rural America.” Since then, the problem has only gotten worse. The rural news site the Daily Yonder spoke with Garriott about what has been driving the surge in meth use in recent decades and what prompted him to focus on meth in his work. The Conversation has collaborated

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Why Fani Willis was allowed to stay on as prosecutor of criminal case against Trump in Georgia – and what happens next

Ronald S. Sullivan Jr., Professor of Law, Harvard University In an unexpected decision, a Georgia judge ruled that the conspiracy to commit election intereference case against Donald Trump and several associates can continue if Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis either steps aside from the case or fires her former boyfriend, whom she hired as special prosecutor. Within hours of the decision, the special prosecutor, Nathan Wade, stepped down. The ruling by Fulton County Superior Judge Scott McAfee puts an end to a January 2023 motion to have Willis removed from the case for allegedly having a personal financial stake in the case by “benefiting from her romantic relationship” with Wade through

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What is a frozen embryo worth? Alabama’s IVF case reflects bigger questions over grieving and wrongful death laws

Katherine Drabiak, Professor of Health Law, Public Health Law and Medical Ethics, University of South Florida In the weeks since the Alabama Supreme Court held that embryos are “unborn children” under one state law, most attention has been focused on in vitro fertilization – whether the decision imperils parents’ attempts to create a family. On March 6, 2024, Gov. Kay Ivey signed legislation to shield IVF providers from legal liability, though the new law does not address frozen embryos’ legal status. As a health law professor, I believe it’s also important to understand the laws that shaped the court’s decision: not only Alabama’s

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What families need to know about how to safely store firearms at home

Kerri Raissian, Associate Professor of Public Policy, University of Connecticut; Jennifer Necci Dineen, Associate Director of the ARMS Center for Gun Injury Prevention, University of Connecticut For the past few years, guns have been identified as the leading cause of death for children in the United States. There were 2,571 children age 1 to 17 who died in shootings in the U.S. in 2021, 68% more than the 1,531 that occurred in 2000. To help reduce the number of firearm-related deaths and injuries among children, Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona in January 2024 called upon school and district administrators to talk with parents and guardians about safe firearm

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UAW’s Southern strategy: Union revs up drive to get workers employed by foreign automakers to join its ranks

Bob Bussel, Professor Emeritus of History and Labor Education, University of Oregon Persuading Southern autoworkers to join a union remains one of the U.S. labor movement’s most enduring challenges, despite persistent efforts by the United Auto Workers union to organize this workforce. To be sure, the UAW does have members employed by Ford and General Motors at facilities in Kentucky, Texas, Missouri and Mississippi. However, the UAW has tried and largely failed to organize workers at foreign-owned companies, including Volkswagen and Nissan in Southern states, where about 30% of all U.S. automotive jobs are located. But after the UAW pulled off its most successful strike in a

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