NationalStacy Brown

Some New Laws to Look For in 2019

After D.C. Council voted unanimously to approve an expansive climate bill requiring utility providers to generate 100 percent of their energy supply from renewable sources by 2032, it’s expected the new law would put the District on a faster, formally pledged timeline toward cutting utility emissions than any state in the country.

The plan is to dramatically decrease emissions from electricity by ramping up the requirements on utility providers.

The city’s current law already mandates that utility providers derive 50 percent of their energy supply from renewable sources by 2032, with 5 percent carved out for solar, according to the website citylab.com.

The new bill doubles these figures to 100 percent renewables by 2032 with 10 percent solar by 2041.

While it isn’t something that residents would tangibly see in 2019, it is one of a few new laws that come with the new year.

D.C. Council has indicated that in 2019, a new law may commence that would include clergy to the list of those mandated to report child abuse or neglect, in response to a shocking 2018 sexual abuse report that rocked the Catholic Church.

Also, residents, stakeholders and just about everyone else may see some results stemming from the net neutrality fight as that battle makes its way through federal court. The Federal Communications Commission, internet service providers such as AT&T Inc. and Comcast Corp., and congressional Republicans are lined up against tech companies such as Amazon.com Inc. and Facebook Inc., Democratic lawmakers, and a raft of states including California and New York, according to Bloomberg Law.

At issue is whether and how internet service providers (ISPs) should be prevented from blocking or slowing data traffic flowing across their networks, and whether they should be allowed to charge content providers more for faster data speeds.

There’s also a fundamental policy debate over whether the FCC can preempt states from regulating net neutrality, Bloomberg reported.

“Ultimately, the long-term answer has to be bipartisan legislation,” Daniel Lyons, a telecom professor at Boston College Law School, told Bloomberg Law. “As long as that’s missing, we’re going to keep seeing this ping-pong cycle.”

The District and at least five states have passed laws that raised the minimum age from 18 to 21 for the purchase of long guns, and many of those laws take effect Jan. 1, 2019. Many of those laws were enacted after the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 people.

At least a dozen other states already prohibit ownership or possession of long guns by individuals younger than 21, according to a CNBC report.

Federal law currently prohibits the sale of handguns from a licensed retailer to people under age 21.

Several national retailers also have moved to curb sales of certain guns to customers younger than 21, including Dick’s Sporting Goods, Kroger-owned Fred Meyer superstores as well as Walmart, the network reported.

Some of those under-21 policies also restrict ammunition sales and have led to lawsuits.

“A big trend you’re seeing now isn’t just getting laws on the books, but ensuring that there is funding attached to actually be able to implement the law,” said Kyleanne Hunter, vice president of programs at the District-based advocacy group Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

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Stacy Brown

I’ve worked for the Daily News of Los Angeles, the L.A. Times, Gannet and the Times-Tribune and have contributed to the Pocono Record, the New York Post and the New York Times. Television news opportunities have included: NBC, MSNBC, Scarborough Country, the Abrams Report, Today, Good Morning America, NBC Nightly News, Imus in the Morning and Anderson Cooper 360. Radio programs like the Wendy Williams Experience, Tom Joyner Morning Show and the Howard Stern Show have also provided me the chance to share my views.

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