Just ahead of his State of the Union address, A group of entrepreneurs and legislators is urging President Obama to put particular emphasis on bringing more highly skilled, foreign-born individuals into the country, as calls for broad immigration reform grow louder. Three senators sent a letter to the president late last week imploring him to address some of the unique hurdles facing today’s entrepreneurs. Among those hurdles, they say, none is bigger than immigration laws that are stopping highly educated, entrepreneurial immigrants from launching companies and creating jobs in the United States. Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Mark R. Warner (D-Va.) and Christopher A. Coons (D-Del.) are also renewing their push for an idea they floated with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) last May called Startup Act 2.0. The legislation would modify the current tax code to encourage investments in new and young businesses, streamline the process for colleges and universities looking to commercialize new research or technology, and create a new class of visa for entrepreneurs. If passed, 75,000 of those visas would be immediately available to foreign-born entrepreneurs who hire U.S. employees right away and raise at least $100,000 of capital.
California authorities filed formal charges Monday against former Los Angeles police officer Christopher Dorner in the murder of a police officer and the attempted murder of three other officers. Dorner was charged with capital murder in the ambush of Riverside Officer Michael Crain, District Attorney Paul Zellerbach announced at a news conference. The charge carries two ”special circumstances,” which would make Dorner eligible for the death penalty if caught and convicted. Dorner was also charged with three counts of attempted murder in the wounding of Crain’s partner and two Los Angeles police officers in separate shootings early Thursday. USAToday reports Zellerbach said the three officers were not being identified out of concern for the safety of their families. Zellerbach reiterated the $1 million reward that Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced Sunday for information leading to the arrest of Dorner, and the DA again asked for the public’s help in catching him.
A federal judge on Monday granted class-action status to a lawsuit seeking to stop the New York Police Department from conducting some “stop and frisk” searches of people outside certain residential buildings in the city’s Bronx borough. Reuters reports U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin found that a group of black and Latino residents in the Bronx could bring claims on behalf of a class of hundreds, and possibly thousands, of people at risk of being stopped outside the buildings. The lawsuit contends that the practice, in which police stop and question people they suspect of unlawful activity and frisk those they suspect of carrying weapons, violates the U.S. Constitution. On Jan. 8, Scheindlin ordered that some stops related to an anti-crime program once known as “Operation Clean Halls” must be halted immediately. Officers would have to have “reasonable suspicion” that an individual is engaged in criminal activity to make a stop, she ruled. But Scheindlin placed that order on hold on Jan. 22, while the city pursues an appeal. Defenders of the tactics, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg, say the police practices have helped to reduce crime.
Dish Network Corp went to trial against ESPN Inc on Monday over claims the sports programmer owes it more than $152 million after breaching a contract by offering better deals to rival distributors. The lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Manhattan pits the No. 2 U.S. satellite company against the sports affiliate of media group Walt Disney Co. Adding another wrinkle, the distribution deal at issue is set to expire this year, meaning the case might potentially impact talks for a future contract. Dish, controlled by billionaire founder Charlie Ergen, commonly uses lawsuits to gain leverage in these types of negotiations, analysts said. With more than $8 billion a year in fees and ad sales, according to research firm SNL Kagan, ESPN reigns as the giant of the sports network market. In 2012, it charged cable and satellite companies an average of $5.15 per subscriber per month, which makes it the most expensive channel, according to SNL Kagan. The research firm said ESPN Classic, a channel central to the lawsuit, charged programmers a separate fee of 19 cents per month. Dish and its larger satellite rival DirecTV have been vocal about rising sports programming fees and how the cost is passed on to consumers.
A member of Oklahoma’s House of Representatives has asked the state’s attorney general for legal guidance on whether the state legislature can block the Affordable Care Act and other federal laws it considers unconstitutional. Republican Lewis Moore, the chair of the House States’ Rights Committee, announced on Friday that he had asked Attorney General Scott Pruitt for a legal opinion on the legislature’s ability to nullify the implementation of the federal laws. A spokeswoman for Pruitt, who has filed his own lawsuit challenging the federal government’s ability to implement federal health insurance exchanges, said the office was in the process of reviewing correspondence from Moore. She declined to comment on the nullification bills. There are at least four bills pending in the Oklahoma legislature that would declare President Barack Obama’s healthcare law unconstitutional. Two of those bills would allow for the state to criminally prosecute federal or state officials that try to enforce the Affordable Care Act.