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A recent article in USA Today featured the states in the US where you are most likely to be killed in a motor vehicle accident. Montana topped the list, followed by North Dakota and Mississippi. Other states making the top ten most dangerous are West Virginia, Oklahoma, Alabama, Arkansas, South Carolina and South Dakota. Rounding out the list was Tennessee. Texas had the most motor vehicle fatalities but did not make the top ten due to the fact that it is more populous thus the rate of deaths per 100,000 residents was lower. The study was based on data provided by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety and the Federal Highway Administration.

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Arbitration clauses are becoming an effective tool for employers and certain litigation-prone professions like medical doctors, hospitals, nursing homes and automobile manufacturers to bypass the legal system. The vast majority of people who sign an employment contract, service agreement, or purchase contract have no idea that they are signing away their right to take the company or person to court should a dispute arise.

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Angel Reyes Blog - Can Religious Scriptures Supplant The Law

Arbitration clauses in employment contracts are an increasingly powerful tool, forcing an alternative system of justice upon people when they believe they have been damaged by the negligence of others. Doctors, hospitals, drug treatment centers and other lawsuit-prone professions and businesses are increasingly forcing their patients and customers to sign documents restricting their right to sue them in a public court of law should a dispute arise, or an injury or a wrongful death occur. Instead, arbitration clauses contained in legally binding contracts signed by patients and customers are forcing them to settle their dispute by arbitration. The twist is that in addition to signing away their first amendment rights to a fair and speedy trial, these “arbitration hearings” sometimes resemble more of a tribunal of religious elders than a judge and jury of one’s piers. Arbitrators are relying on their interpretation of Bible Scriptures and not Federal or State Laws to determine a persons guilt or innocence. And time and time again it’s the religious organization that comes out the winner.

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The state of Texas requires all drivers to purchase some form automobile insurance to help keep themselves and other drivers safe in the event of an accident. However, most people don’t understand what different types of auto insurance mean, what they cover, and how to figure out what kind of plan to purchase. Thankfully, the people at the insurance information institute put together this handy infographic to help drivers figure out what their plan really means, and what level of insurance is right for them.

 

Image From Insurance Information Institute*

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shutterstock_868999661-300x199In an effort to enforce immigration control where federal statues are failing, more and more states are moving to pass legislation that will allow them to manage immigration control in their own way in the face of federal control challenges. California is joining the ranks of other southwestern states such as Arizona and Texas in creating their own immigration reform legislation designed to provide controls where federal laws have shown weaknesses. Earlier this week, San Francisco officials moved to sever ties with U.S. Immigration authorities and end the practice of enabling deportations by extending the detention of illegal immigrants who have been arrested for crimes.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors moved to enable this legislation, which will garner San Francisco mayor Ed Lee’s signature within the next ten days and would exclude specific violent offenses, ultimately would no longer require local law enforcement to detain illegal immigrants for up to 48 hours beyond their release dates, a practice that has been commonplace since 2008 that allowed the extra time in detention for immigration agents to arrive and take custody of immigrants for possible deportation.

The partnership between San Francisco and U.S. Immigration and Customs enforcement, known as the Secure Communities partnership, has drawn criticism over the past few years from civil rights groups who believe that non-violent immigrants should not face the fear of deportation when reporting crime.

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shutterstock_1396169241-300x200The Catholic Church, their bishops and priests, have taken to the task of putting pressure on Congress to pass legislative measures and changes in immigration policy, which could open a path for undocumented immigrants to receive citizenship.

Catholic priests throughout the country are embracing political involvement and will be preaching a unified message on September 8, during mass, urging their parishioners to support President Obama’s drive for new immigration laws. This broader effort on the part of the Roman Catholic Church and other religious groups would include putting pressure by public demand on their lawmakers.

Educators also have joined in this unified effort. Presidents of 93 Catholic universities and colleges have sent a letter to the House Speaker and to the minority leader urging them to pass a comprehensive bill on immigration. This is the first time that college presidents have taken an active part in this issue.

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shutterstock_132973421-200x299Debates over how native workforce is affected by employing undocumented workers is once again a hot subject filled with questions, shedding some light on the impact of immigrant workers in some sectors.

If Congress were to legalize low skilled immigrant labor , how would this affect native workers?

Would they receive lower salaries? Should the less skilled workers occupy empty jobs and in that way assist those with more qualifications? Which of the two would come out benefitted?

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texas-explosion-300x199Given all the initial press surrounding Boston, MA and West, TX, labor advocates are attempting to put the spotlight on an important issue – workplace safety.  Various groups pushing for safety at the workplace or in factories claim that hazardous conditions are mostly ignored by the media and general public.  However in 2011, workplace accidents killed 4,609 Americans, while only 17 Americans died from terrorist attacks.

There were many theories surrounding the explosion, but once they were ruled out, media coverage died down and the primary focus remained on the Boston Marathon.The West, Texas explosion was determined to be an industrial accident which killed 14 people and injured 200.

So why did that make this horrible incident far less important than the Boston Marathon to the media?  Primarily because the Boston bombings comprised the first major attack on our country since September 11, 2001.  Additionally, Grant Duwe, author of “Mass Murder in the United States: A History,” said last week that “History has shown that the public is generally more interested in crime which is unusual and dramatic and something that is violent and occurs infrequently.”

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stop-texting-300x200According to a recent article in the Texas Tribune, texting and driving may become illegal later this year and rightly so.  Most of us are guilty of looking at texts while behind the wheel. For some reason, we’re unable to resist the temptation.  For some, there’s a misconception that a phone call can wait, but a text requires an immediate response.

And then there are those of us who would never text and drive.  But with voice-to-text technology that transcribes your spoken words into text form, we’re totally safe in doing so, right?  Wrong.  A new study by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute finds that voice-to-text technology is just as dangerous as texting while driving. Coincidentally, this study was released while lawmakers are determining whether to pass House Bill 63, which would be a Texas-wide ban on sending text messages.  Many Texas cities already have their own bands in place.  This bill has already passed the House and the Senate will now vote on it. Two years ago, the bill was passed but Governor Rick Perry vetoed it.  According to Perry, the bill was “a government effort to micromanage the behavior of adults.”  This past March, he was quoted as saying “The key to dissuading drivers from texting while driving is information and education, not government micromanagement.”

The lead author of the study said that new technologies such as speaking into a phone don’t protect drivers from having accidents. The study involved 43 research subjects who drove cars on a closed course.  The first time they drove, they did so with no distractions.  Then they were required to perform several activities, including texting, and voice-to-text technology.  Results indicate that driver reaction times were nearly two times slower than the baseline condition, no matter which texting method was used, according to the study.  Eye gazes to the forward roadway also significantly decreased.  Despite these findings, drivers perceived that they were safer using the voice method of texting.

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reyes-blog-0318131-300x200Currently the Hispanic population in the US is approximately 50,500,000. Latinos represent 16% of the US population, and are expected to grow to 27.8% by 2050. They accounted for more than half of the 2.3 million persons increase in the last year. More than 60% of Hispanics in America were born in the US. Mexico makes up 36.1% of those Hispanics that are foreign-born.

Spanish speakers are America’s fastest growing demographic. Of the 50+ million Latinos, almost 37 million are Spanish-language dominant. 24% of Hispanics live in homes where only English is spoken, but 68% of Hispanics live in homes where both English and Spanish are spoken. Although there are over 100 languages spoken in the US, a 2012 US Census reported that Spanish is the most common secondary language used by non-native English speakers.

The US Department of Labor reports that there are currently about 23 million people of Hispanic/Latino ethnicity. That is almost 15% of the current labor force, and it’s a growing number. By 2020 it is expected to grow to 19%. Neilson data reports that Latino buying power will increase from approximately 1 trillion dollars in 2010, to 1.5 trillion by 2015.

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