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» The Ornery American Forum » General Comments » "In Wyoming, Taking A Photo Of A Polluted Stream Could Land You In Jail"

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Author Topic: "In Wyoming, Taking A Photo Of A Polluted Stream Could Land You In Jail"
philnotfil
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What is the problem being solved by this legislation?

thinkprogress.org

quote:
Passed by the Wyoming state government and signed into law by Gov. Matt Mead (R) in March, the law makes it illegal to “collect resource data” from any land outside of city boundaries, whether that land be private, public, or federal. Under to the law, “collect” means to “take a sample of material, acquire, gather, photograph or otherwise preserve information in any form from open land which is submitted or intended to be submitted to any agency of the state or federal government.”
quote:
One of the most troubling components of the law, according to Pidot, is that it specifically targets data collected to be shared with the government, a focus he calls “anomalous, bizarre, and radical.” Under the statute, a citizen who uncovers an environmental disaster or public health threat — unless they’ve obtained specific permission from the landowner before collecting that data — would themselves be breaking the law by reporting it to the authorities.
quote:
“This is sort of a new tactic we’re seeing, where state governments are trying to build legal rules that prevent people from uncovering information about favored industrial groups,” Pidot said. “I think it’s very concerning as a phenomenon.”
quote:
Pidot believes the bill violates the Constitution in a number of ways, from infringing on First Amendment rights of free speech without special burden to undermining the ability to petition the government. It also interferes with the supremacy clause, Pidot says, because it uses state law to frustrate the purpose of federal law — in this case, enforcing the federal Clean Water Act by preventing citizen data from being considered by the government.

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Fenring
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Do you mean what is the official reason for it, or what is the real reason?
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scifibum
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Wow, some of these state governments are absolutely shameless about their cronyist bull****.
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philnotfil
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quote:
Originally posted by Fenring:
Do you mean what is the official reason for it, or what is the real reason?

No, I mean 'what is the problem being solved here?'

Legislation should be a solution to a problem that can't be solved outside of government action. What is the problem that this legislation is a solution to?

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scifibum
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"Environmentalists keep trying to hold me accountable for the crap I do."
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yossarian22c
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The stated reason is probably to protect natural habitats by preventing people from removing material. Which makes the photograph inclusion troubling.

The real reason is to make it easier for oil and gas companies to get away with polluting.

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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by yossarian22c:
The stated reason is probably to protect natural habitats by preventing people from removing material. Which makes the photograph inclusion troubling.

The real reason is to make it easier for oil and gas companies to get away with polluting.

This is more or less where I was going with my question. The law seems to some people to be a response to private people collecting evidence of toxic substances being where they shouldn't be. To be more specific, a claim has been made that bacteria has been allowed to mix in with natural water sources as a result of cattle farming practices. The state appears to have outlawed complaining about it.
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TomDavidson
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We have something similar happening here in Wisconsin, where the governor and our legislature are also doing everything they possibly can to disempower our investigative environmental bodies -- so that not only will citizens be unable to produce proof of wrongdoing, but governmental groups will be unable to produce their own proof.
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yossarian22c
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Same in North Carolina as well. There has been a temporary setback for them though because of Duke Energy's giant coal ash spill into the Dan River. But prior to that big spill the government took action to repeatedly stop law suits about coal ash leaking into water supplies.
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Mynnion
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Tom-
quote:
We have something similar happening here in Wisconsin, where the governor and our legislature are also doing everything they possibly can to disempower our investigative environmental bodies -- so that not only will citizens be unable to produce proof of wrongdoing, but governmental groups will be unable to produce their own proof.
Don't worry Tom. No need for science at the DEP. If there are any issues Walker has promised to outsource the work [DOH]
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TomDavidson
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Redskull, wherever he is, has to be over the moon about state governments nowadays; so many of them are actually being openly and proudly fascist.
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yossarian22c
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North Carolina just passed a law (unless the Gov vetoes it) making it illegal to gather evidence of wrongdoing against your employer.

quote:
A bill passed by the state legislature would allow business owners to sue employees who secretly record proceedings in the workplace or gain access to documents.

The Property Protection Act would allow employers to sue for punitive damages of up to $5,000 dollars per day.

wunc
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Mynnion
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It would be interesting to read the entire bill. The reasons cited appears to be to prevent individuals from taking a job in the poultry industry to create attack adds. The crux to me is whether this law applies to criminal behavior by an employer.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
The reasons cited appears to be to prevent individuals from taking a job in the poultry industry to create attack ads.
Is there a reason why this should be illegal?
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Mynnion
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I'm not sure. The NC law seems more about civil liability than criminal consequences. In a sense the employee is acting in a fraudulent manner when he/she takes a position for the sole purpose of harming the employer. If the employers actions are illegal and that employer is protected against a whistle blower then I would have a major issue with the law. Like I said to have a real opinion of the value of the law I would need to see it.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
In a sense the employee is acting in a fraudulent manner when he/she takes a position for the sole purpose of harming the employer.
And yet if you are hired and deliberately do a bad job for the same reason, you are not subject to lawsuit. Heck, if you're a CEO and lay off hundreds of people, you're not subject to civil suit.

The very last thing corporations need more of in this country is additional legal protections.

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Mynnion
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As I said everything hinges on how the law is written. I would agree with you generally on this but I also believe a business operating legally has the right to reasonable protection from employee fraud.

quote:
And yet if you are hired and deliberately do a bad job for the same reason, you are not subject to lawsuit
But we are not talking about doing a bad job. We are talking about specifically taking a job with the intention of hurting the employer.

That being said my guess is this bill is similar to the one that started the post and is purely to prevent legitimate whistle blowing against illegal activities.

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yossarian22c
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quote:
Originally posted by Mynnion:
It would be interesting to read the entire bill. The reasons cited appears to be to prevent individuals from taking a job in the poultry industry to create attack adds. The crux to me is whether this law applies to criminal behavior by an employer.

Here seems to be the section that may exempt those individuals

quote:
(e) Nothing in this section shall be construed to diminish the protections provided to employees under Article 21 of Chapter 95 or Article 14 of Chapter 126 of the General Statutes, nor may any party who is covered by these Articles be liable under this section.
(f) This section shall not apply to any governmental agency or law enforcement officer engaged in a lawful investigation of the premises or the owner or operator of the premises.
(g) Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit any other remedy available at common law or provided by the General Statutes."

House Bill 405

The purpose of the bill is to protect unseemly agriculture practices. However, it is not limited to just agriculture. I can see corporations using this law to try to sue whistle blowers or threaten them with a suit to get them to stay quiet.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
We are talking about specifically taking a job with the intention of hurting the employer.
Right. But, as I said, if you take a job with the intention of doing a bad job at it in order to hurt your employer, you are not subject to lawsuit. There is no law against taking a customer service position and deliberately swearing at or insulting callers to your support line in hopes that people will think poorly of the company that hired you.
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scifibum
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Depends on how bad a job. I would expect there are potential torts involved.
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Seriati
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
Right. But, as I said, if you take a job with the intention of doing a bad job at it in order to hurt your employer, you are not subject to lawsuit. There is no law against taking a customer service position and deliberately swearing at or insulting callers to your support line in hopes that people will think poorly of the company that hired you.

It's a violation of the Duty of Loyalty in every state in the US to do so Tom. You should read up on it, because what you just said is not correct.
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yossarian22c
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quote:
The duty of loyalty stands for the principle that directors and officers of a corporation in making all decisions in their capacities as corporate fiduciaries, must act without personal economic conflict. The duty of loyalty can be breached either by making a self-interested transaction or taking a corporate opportunity.
Cornell Law Duty of Loyalty

This definition of duty of loyalty applies to board members and top executives. It doesn't seem to apply to customer service reps. Do you have a source that says otherwise?

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TomDavidson
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Note, too, that "personal economic conflict" does not necessarily accurately describe your desire to harm a company. Note that acting to harm your employer without any expectation of personal financial gain is not a scenario that the duty of loyalty is meant to cover.
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scifibum
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I think duty of care covers that angle, but again it seems to be for officers and directors.
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Seriati
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Its a common law duty. Yossarian22c, try searching for duty of loyalty of an employee. In a nut shell, you can not as an employee deliberately work against your employer's interests (as Tom was suggesting) without violating the duty and been subject potentially to penalty. It may only be likely to go to court though if there is enough money on the table.
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scifibum
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Is the term actually duty of fidelity? That seems to be the one that is applicable to all employees.
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Seriati
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I think they are the same thing Scifibum for this purpose, but there is every possibility that they have differences under the laws of certain states. In any event, the point is that an employee is obligated to not deliberately act against their employer's interests.
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TomDavidson
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Not quite. Rather, they are obligated to not prioritize their own financial interests over their employer's in scenarios in which they conflict.
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Seriati
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No. You're just not correct on this. There's a ton of case law out there, and a bunch of places to read up on.
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TomDavidson
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Can you show me a single bit of case law on this that did not involve someone filching clients or contacts from their current employer in preparation for moving to a new one (or on their own)? That's a sincere question; I can't find any that are not specifically of that nature.
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Pete at Home
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Oobama should send federal troops to the staate Capitol. Since the state is in cdlear collusion with poluters, who we all know are more. dangerous than terrorists.

i'm only 2/3 joking here. Seriously, the prooposed law is at least as dangerous as, say, a state endorsement of Al Qaeda

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