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Laws And Litigation

State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler wants insurance companies to provide more information up front about provider networks and to offer proof they are giving consumers the access to providers that they’re paying for.

One of Kreidler’s most critical goals in developing an 80-page set of new rules was to ensure that when people purchase health plans, they will have enough doctors to choose from — in other words, an adequate network.

Kreidler’s rules would require insurers to prove that their networks can provide consumers with care within a reasonable amount of time and without having to travel long distances. The changes would require more thorough and earlier reporting from insurance companies. read more »


PR Newswire

SEATTLE — A Seattle law firm wants to show Nathaniel Wentz the true spirit of sportsmanship. Wentz was fired last week because he wore a Broncos jersey to work in Tacoma. Now a law firm that represents terminated workers is collecting job offers and supportive messages for the out-of-work teen, and is sending Wentz a new Peyton Manning jersey and Broncos cap.

Fans from any team around the NFL can leave job offers and supportive messages for Wentz at www.hkm.com. HKM Employment Attorneys LLP will send the messages and the Broncos gear to Wentz in time for the Super Bowl.

“We probably can’t help him get his job back, but we can show him the true spirit of sportsmanship and maybe even help him find a better job,” said Dan Kalish, an HKM attorney and fervent Seahawks fan. read more »


When the case of American Broadcasting Cos. v. Aereo comes before the Supreme Court in April, it will feature two American archetypes in a battle that could upend the television industry.

In one corner will be broadcast networks like ABC, NBC and CBS, powerful companies that have been fixtures in American living rooms for decades, and the conduit for such collective national experiences as presidential elections, walks on the moon and the Super Bowl.

In the other corner is Chet Kanojia, a 43-year-old immigrant from India, who as an outsider saw a system that most took for granted and who knew he could build a better mousetrap, or at least a different one. read more »


Business Examiner

Members of the state House of Representatives and Senate continue holding hearings on proposed new legislation, without reaching final decisions on many as they ended week two of the “short” legislative session.

Senate Bill 6318, which calls for raising the income threshold below which a business must pay the state B&O tax, moved to the Trade and Economic Development Committee Jan. 23. Co-sponsor Sen. Steve O’Ban (R-Lakewood) predicted it would be approved soon by the committee.

“We have to compete with Oregon and Idaho, which have no B&O tax, and this bill will make our state more competitive,” O’Ban said. “(It) will make a difference … by encouraging people who start small businesses to stay in business.” read more »


WASHINGTON — The National Retail Federation sent a letter to congressional leaders outlining the retail industry’s commitment to protecting sensitive consumer data in the wake of recent international cyber attacks and thefts.

“The National Retail Federation and our 12,000 members are committed to combating this criminal threat to our industry and our customers, and we strongly recommend the adoption of meaningful steps to fight cyber theft and credit card fraud,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay wrote in the letter sent to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.

The letter reiterated the retail industry’s long-held support for replacing current credit and debit cards with cards that would store data in an embedded computer microchip and require the use of a PIN rather than a signature. Current cards use easy-to-hack 1960s technology. read more »


The automotive industry needs legislation to protect drivers’ privacy as more cars utilize data for location tracking and other services, Ford Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally said.

Ford is “supportive and participating” in talks with regulators who are considering such laws, Mulally said last week at the Detroit auto show.

The second-largest U.S. automaker has countered comments made last week by its global marketing chief, who said Ford knows when drivers of its vehicles violate traffic laws through its GPS data.

“It’s just really important that we have boundaries and guidelines to operate,” Mulally told reporters on the sidelines of the show. “Our homes, the cars, everything is going to be on the Internet. Everything’s going to be connected. And so what are the guidelines? What do we want?” read more »


The holiday data breach at Target Corp. appeared to be part of a broad and highly sophisticated international hacking campaign against multiple retailers, according to a report prepared by federal and private investigators that was sent to financial services companies and retailers.

The report offers some of the first details to emerge about the source of the attack that compromised 40 million credit and debit card accounts and personal data for 70 million people. It also provided further evidence the attack on Target during peak holiday shopping was part of a concerted effort by skilled hackers.

Parts of the malicious computer code used against Target’s credit card readers had been on the Internet’s black market since last spring and were partly written in Russian, people familiar with the report said. Both details suggest the attack may have ties to organized crime in the former Soviet Union, former U.S. officials said. read more »


OLYMPIA — Passage of I-502 to legalize marijuana in Washington does not restrict the authority of cities and counties to regulate or ban marijuana businesses in their jurisdictions, according to an opinion issued by the state Attorney General’s Office.

The formal Attorney General’s Opinion was released Jan. 16 in response to a request from Sharon Foster, chair of the Washington State Liquor Control Board, regarding local ordinances affecting new marijuana businesses. The board developed rules for implementing I-502 after it was approved by voters in 2012, legalizing the possession and sale of recreational marijuana in Washington.

The opinion states read more »


Medical marijuana advocates spoke out Wednesday at a House Health Committee hearing against a bill that would shut down dispensaries and greatly reduce the amount of marijuana that a patient or provider can possess.

The bill proposed to the Legislature, HB 2149, is in line with many of the recommendations issued by the state’s Liquor Control Board in December. The measure would overhaul the current system to fall under the same parameters as recreational marijuana.

“There are many patients who depend on medical marijuana to function, and their needs vary tremendously,” said Kristi Weeks, director of legal services for the state’s Department of Health. “But there are also patients who might be more appropriately served by the recreational market.” read more »

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