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November 11, 1999 - Image 10

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-11-11

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

10A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, November 11, 1999


ustices hear license,
nude dancing cases
The Washington Post yesterday, and some of the justices sug- records, only to control what is relea
WASHINGTON - The Supreme gested that if the court struck down the nationwide, potentially putting live
Court heard oral arguments yesterday drivers' privacy law, other federal legis- risk.
in two decidedly different but similarly lation would be in jeopardy, including Justice Anthony Kennedy vigorot
enthralling cases: whether states can be minimum-wage and overtime protec- questioned whether Congress 1
barred from disclosing the personal tions, authority to regulate the states thisv
information drivers provide to get a Federal appeals courts are divided and said the law might "blur the line
license and under what circumstances over the constitutionality of the drivers' power between the states
cities can ban nude dancing. privacy law, and in the case before the Washington. Justice Sandra I
The first case centered ona 1994 fed- justices yesterday, the 4th U.S. Circuit O'Connor was similarly concer
eral law that forbids states from selling Court of Appeals had ruled it invalid, about whether the federal governm
the addresses, telephone numbers and saying Congress was improperly forc- was encroaching on core state functi
other information that motorists pro- ing states to administer a federal pro- - keeping motor vehicle data -.
vide to obtain licenses. The Driver's gram. The law provides numerous suggested that if the court were to str
Privacy Protection Act was passed in exceptions for when states can turn over down the law it might have to revisi
the wake of congressional concern information, for example for public important 1985 case that allot
about stalkers who use motor vehicle safety and anti-fraud purposes, and Congress to subject the states to
records to track down their victims. The some states argue it is complicated to labor standards,
law clearly also reflected privacy con- run. In the second case of the mom:
cems in a era where technology allows The practical reality of the law, South the justices reviewed constitutio
for the instantaneous dissemination of Carolina attorney general Charles standards for whether nudity is expi
data. Condon told the justices, is that it sive conduct worthy of F
Because South Carolina challenged requires states to take on a burdensome Amendment protection. I
the law as an infringement on state administrative effort. He said it effec- Pennsylvania Supreme Court threw,
authority, the case offers the Rehnquist tively forces state workers into national the city of Erie's ban on nudity sayin
Court an opportunity to continue its service. was too broadly written.
pattern of curtailing federal power. In But in his appeal of the 4th Circuit In oral arguments, the justi
recent cases, a narrow, but consistent ruling, Solicitor General Seth Waxman expressed some reservations ab
majority of the justices have struck emphasized the threat to privacy from even getting to the merits of the ci
down several federal laws that the disclosure of personal information appeal because the adult establishm
encroached on the states. into "the national economy." He said that challenged the law has since g
The question of congressional power Congress didn't want to interfere with out of business. The case might
was at the forefront in the arguments how states run their motor vehicle moot.

Paying respects

s at
t an
g it

settles flag
tax case
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- Kmart
Stores will pay to distribute booklets
on American flag etiquette after charg-
ing untold amounts of sales tax on Old
Glory, a violation of an often over-
looked provision of state tax law.
The major retailer will pay $8,500
to two veterans groups to distribute
the manuals on how to display and
handle the flag and to provide flag-
graves of veterans.
Although thousands of flag sales
have apparently included state and
local taxes at Kmart stores across the
state, returning as little as 7 cents to
thousands of customers was consid-
ered impractical, said Assistant
Attorney General Matthew Barbaro, a
Vietnam veteran. Flags sold there
range in price from $lIto $30.
Many stores in addition to K
probably charged sales tax on fl ,
said Al Carpenter of the American
Legion Department of New York. "It's
just a policy they were ignorant of."
New York is one of seven states in
which there is no sales tax on flags
and three other states exempt tax
from some sales, according to the
National Flag Foundation in
Pittsburgh, Pa
Kmart, whtich launched a national
campaign mn September to improves
image, had no immediate comment on
the agreement announced by the state
attorney general's office. Kmart,
based in Troy, Mich., stopped charging
the tax as soon as possible after the
state contacted the company, said
Christine Von Dohlen-Pritchard, a
spokesperson for Attorney General
Eliot Spitzer.
Spitzer's investigation began in J c
with a call from Patricia Barnett, a-
mer Vietnam War protester from
Kingston who took on a new cause.
Barnett said she was outraged when
she tried to buy a small flag for the
grave of her childhood friend who
died from a sniper's bullet to his head
in Vietnam. She informed the clerk at
the Kingston Kmart that the sale
shouldn't be taxed. She was passed to
a customer service clerk who disputed
the point. Barnett then demandeno
talk to the manager, who she said
refused to talk to her, and instead told
a cashier to give Barnett back her 7

Ann Lee of Sibu City, N.C. places a poem on the Women Veterans Memorial
in Washington D.C., yesterday in honor of today's Veterans Day.

Budget bargainers reach deal for new teachers

WASHINGTON (AP) - Under pressure from
the White House, Republicans agreed yesterday to
a new installment of President Clinton's plan to
hire new teachers as the two sides worked toward
a budget deal that could send Congress home for
the year next week.
The administration and Republicans also agreed
to restore $11 billion in Medicare cuts to hospitals
and nursing homes enacted two years ago, and
neared a deal to let the International Monetary
Fund step up its debt-relief efforts.
But as congressional and White House bargain-
ers met into the evening, they gave up hope of fin-
ishing in time for Congress to adjourn Friday.
Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) sent
the Senate home for Veterans Day and planned no
votes there until at least next Wednesday.
"There's no way we can get this done tonight,"
Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Ted
Stevens (R-Alaska) said of the bargaining.
The two sides agreed to a second year of
Clinton's seven-year plan to hire 100,000 teachers,
said people from both parties. The White House
has made that proposal its highest-profile issue in

this year's budget fight.
Clinton had requested $1.4 billion for the pro-
gram for fiscal 2000, which began Oct. 1, and
negotiators agreed to $1.325 billion. Twenty-nine
thousand teachers were hired in the first year of the
program and Clinton's request would have provid-
ed money to hire 8,000 more in fiscal 2000.
Bargainers also agreed to let school districts use 25
percent of the program's funds for teacher training
and other education programs.That limit has been 15
percent, and Republicans have wanted school dis-
tricts to have more flexibility in using the money.
Teachers hired under the act would have to be
certified, and schools with at least 10 percent of
uncertified teachers could request waivers to use
the money for training instead of hiring.
"I'm pleased," said Rep. William Goodling (R-
Pa.), chair of the House Education and the
Workforce Committee. "Would I have liked more?
Yes. Would they have liked more? Yes."
The two sides also exchanged offers on an effort
by conservatives to restrict overseas abortion lob-
Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) still was insisting

"Would I have liked more? Yes. Would they have
liked more? Yes."
- Rep. William Goodling (R-Pa.)
chair of the House Education and the Workforce Committee

on letting coal mining companies dump waste into
valleys and streams by suspending provisions of
the Clean Water Act. Language doing that tem-
porarily was being considered, said a Democrat
who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Republicans did agree to add $1.45 billion for
labor, health and education programs, compared to
$2.3 billion that Clinton sought earlier.
House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas)
said he was nearing an agreement with Treasury
Secretary Lawrence Summers over international
debt relief. Armey had opposed an administration
effort to let the International Monetary Fund sell
up to 14 million ounces of its gold and use the
extra money to help multinational banks forgive
some debt owed by poor countries. Helping some

of those countries' economies by easing their loan
problems has become an administration priority.
Armey said the two sides are moving toward an
agreement to let the IMF re-value some of its gold
at more than the $48 per ounce it is currently valued
and use the extra capital for, debt forgiveness.
Included would be "iron clad" language limiting the
use of that money for debt forgiveness, Armey said.
Republicans are considering a package contain-
ing perhaps all five incomplete spending bills for
the new fiscal year that might reach the House
floor by tomorrow.
A fight over paying nearly $1 billion in overdue
United States dues to the United Nations - which
conservatives have linked to the overseas abortion
issue - was not resolved.


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