The Chicago Journal

NetChoice claims California law violates First Amendment, sues state

The extensive industry group NetChoice comprises tech giants like Amazon, Google, Meta, TikTok, and Twitter.

On Wednesday, the group announced its intention to sue California.

They decided to overturn the state’s recently approved Age-Appropriate Design Code Act, which they believe violates the First Amendment.

The Age-Appropriate Design Code Act

California’s legislation was modeled after those in the UK.

It wants to establish rules to make the internet safer for young people.

The Age-Appropriate Design Code Act mandates that kids always have the most privacy enabled.

Additionally, it mandates that websites intended for children under 18 assess the possibility of user abuse or exploitation.

The lawsuit

The NetChoice lawsuit is a developing legal case involving online free expression.

Legislators routinely want to weaken the extensive liability protections offered by online platforms for user posts and content control.

All political parties are impacted by privacy and content control issues.

However, there is still disagreement between Republicans and Democrats regarding the best ways to solve the issues.

Even though a majority Democratic legislature supported the California act, NetChoice filed lawsuits against Texas and Florida for the social media laws passed by those states’ legislatures.

By requiring tech corporations to delete posts with political undertones, the legislation seeks to make them accountable.


In contrast to what it was supposed to do, the new law in California would harm adolescents rather than protect them, claims NetChoice.

Furthermore, they contend that compelling businesses to deduce from consumers the meaning of “inherently subjective terms” violates their First Amendment rights to free speech.

According to NetChoice, the state may impose financially ruinous fines if the companies are wrong.

“The State can also impose such penalties if companies fail to enforce their content moderation standards to the Attorney General’s satisfaction,” said the group.

The Age-Appropriate Design Code Act is anticipated to take effect in July 2024.

According to NetChoice, the bill will force content providers to drastically reduce their output to avoid paying fines for creating what California deems harmful.

“The over-moderation will stifle important resources, particularly for vulnerable youth who rely on the Internet for life-saving information,” said NetChoice.

Read also: Donald Trump slumps in voter standing based on recent poll

Defense of the law

A representative for California Attorney General Rob Bonta defended the legislation despite the accusations.

The statement claims that the policy provides essential new safeguards against the collection and use of children’s data.

Furthermore, it addresses some verifiable negative consequences of social networking and other online products and services.

“We are reviewing the complaint and look forward to defending this important children’s safety law in court.”

Prior concerns

The lawsuit’s language is similar to a bipartisan federal bill that aims to provide children with online protection but is being contested by civil society organizations.

The groups expressed concern that the bill would increase the danger posed by children and teenagers.

The following organizations were among those opposed to the legislation:

  • The American Civil Liberties Union
  • Center for Democracy & Technology
  • Electronic Frontier Foundation
  • Fight for the Future
  • Glaad
  • Wikimedia Foundation

Concerning the bill’s potential negative impacts, notably on the rights of the LGBTQ community, the organizations issued a warning.

People in the community are already concerned about how political prejudices can affect the standards used by content filters.

The bipartisan bill

The law would have imposed requirements on websites that minors under the age of 16 are likely to access.

Therefore, it would be their responsibility to reduce the likelihood of physical or psychological harm to young users, especially by encouraging the following:

  • Self-harm or suicide
  • Encouragement of addictive behavior
  • Enabling online bullying
  • Predatory marketing

“KOSA would require online services to ‘prevent’ a set of harms to minors, which is effectively an instruction to employ broad content filtering to limit minors’ access to certain online content,” wrote the groups.

“Online service would face substantial pressure to over-moderate, including from state Attorneys General seeking to make political points about what kind of information is appropriate for young people.”

“At a time when books with LGBTQ+ themes are being banned from school libraries, and people providing healthcare to trans children are being falsely accused of ‘grooming,’ KOSA would cut off another vital avenue to access to information for vulnerable youth.”

Revamping the federal bipartisan bill

The responsible legislators attempted to address the problems in a revised version of the legislation.

On Tuesday night, updates that addressed issues raised by the LGBTQ community and significant lawmakers were released.

In order to address worries that attorneys general with anti-LGBTQ attitudes may abuse the law, a modified “duty of care” language was introduced.

Additionally, a language stating that companies are not required to collect additional user information to determine the user’s age was changed.

Despite the changes, certain groups nevertheless opposed the law.

Read also: Elon Musk sells giant chunk of Tesla shares again

Content moderation

NetChoice opposes the laws in Florida and Texas that would weaken Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which shields the tech industry from legal culpability.

The Act safeguards the right to manage content.

Republicans, on the other hand, have been attempting to enact more regulations on social media because they believe that conservative ideas are being suppressed on well-known websites.

Popular sites have denied unfairly implementing their community guidelines when this has occurred.

According to a reputable study, internet discussions are often dominated by conservative viewpoints.

A Texas version was barred from taking effect in May by the Supreme Court.

The merits of the case were not, however, decided.

Lower courts have thus far rejected Florida’s version.


Tech industry group sues to block California law designed to protect kids online over free speech concerns

Kids Online Safety Act may harm minors, civil society groups warn lawmakers

Revamped kids’ online privacy bill emerges in year-end push (1)

Shooting incident in California: confrontation leads to suicide

Shooting: The state of California maintains tight gun regulations, including a 10-day waiting period and a prohibition on assault weapons.

Unexpectedly, there is a significant amount of gun violence, particularly in urban areas.

Additionally, California introduced red flag laws and strengthened background checks.

Despite these efforts, the state’s argument over gun violence continues.

A shooting suspect recently fired at a dance club over the weekend.

Ten individuals were killed and another 10 were wounded as a result of the suspect’s actions.

A new police report claims that the shooter committed suicide.

The shooting

In Monterey Park on Saturday night, not far from the Lunar New Year party, there was a mass shooting.

It was anticipated for the Garvey Avenue assembly to last until 9:00 pm.

More than 65% of the people of Monterey Park are Asian, according to the US Census Bureau.

It is still too early to say for sure if the massacre was prompted by hatred.

It is also one of the most prominent among the largest Asian American and Pacific Islander populations in the US, according to the mayor of the nearby city of Alhambra.

The victims

Police said that at the ballroom dance club, five males and five women were slain.

Ten people were hurt, and seven more were receiving medical attention for their wounds at nearby hospitals.

Their situations, according to the officials, varied from stable to critical.

Despite the lack of identification, Luna assumes that the victims were in their fifties or older.

The aftermath

Police arrived at the Monterey Park dance studio on Saturday night three minutes after the initial call.

Police Chief Scott Wiesse said that as some people attempted to flee and others lay injured on the ground, officials witnessed a sight of utter mayhem.

A man armed with a gun entered the Lai Lai Ballroom in Alhambra twenty to thirty minutes later.

Someone noticed he was carrying a weapon and wrestled it from him before he left the area in a white van.

Read also: Social media faces more regulations in 2023

The manhunt

According to accounts, the perpetrator may have sought medical help before being apprehended.

Authorities said that a male who seemed to be the suspect visited the emergency room of a neighboring hospital.

He visited the ER due to wounds that corresponded to the description.

After waiting at the hospital, the suspect ultimately departed without obtaining any assistance.

Police in Torrance subsequently stopped a white cargo van.

After turning his weapon on himself during a standoff, the suspect was fatally shot.


Huu Can Tran, 72, was identified as the ruthless gunman.

Tran shot himself during a standoff with the police, LA County Sheriff Robert Luna claimed during a press conference that evening.

According to the sheriff, Tran committed the crime on his own, and the motivation for the shooting is a top priority for the investigators.

The shooter

According to his ex-wife and former acquaintance, Huu Can Tran used to frequently visit the studio.

The former spouse, who desired to remain anonymous, said that they met there 20 years ago when he gave informal lessons.

She said that although never resorted to physical force, he had a short fuse and would get irritated if she missed a step.

Although it’s unclear if he recently went to the studio, a friend remembered him being there frequently in the late 2000s and early 2010s.

According to his acquaintance, Tran frequently discussed the issue of the instructors’ disdain towards him.

The acquaintance also claimed Tran was hostile to everyone in the facility.

He sold his house in 2013, and they stopped talking after that.

The news struck the friend as shocking.

“I know lots of people, and if they go to Star Studio, they frequent there,” he said.

The friend is concerned because he could be acquainted with some of the shooting victims.

Mass shooting in data

The Monterey Park tragedy is the 33rd deadly shooting in the US this month, as reported by the Gun Violence Archive.

“California has some of the strictest gun laws in the country, but yet look what we just had today,” said Sheriff Robert Luna on Sunday.

“I can tell you this, the status quo is not working. So we need to reexamine what we’re doing and what may work better.”

“And I hope that this tragedy doesn’t just go on a long list of many others that we don’t even talk about until the next one comes up.”

L’Oreal struck with lawsuit regarding uterine cancer

L’Oréal is one of the parties being sued for claims that its products put women at risk of developing uterine cancer.

The lawsuit

Last Friday, civil rights attorney Ben Crump and attorney Diandra “Fu” Debrosse Zimmermann filed a lawsuit in Illinois.

The lawsuit is on behalf of Jenny Mitchell, a 32-year-old woman from Missouri.

They claim Mitchell’s uterine cancer was caused by her regular and prolonged exposure to hair care products from companies like L’Oreal.

According to the claims, the products contain phthalates and other chemicals that disrupt the endocrine system.

Debrosse Zimmermann says the lawsuit marks a “watershed moment” for women of color who use hair products like relaxers.

Read also: Binghamton University research finds unidentified chemicals in tattoo inks

Jenny Mitchell

The lawsuit says Jenny Mitchell was diagnosed with uterine cancer in 2018.

In addition, she underwent a total hysterectomy on September 24, 2018, at the Boone Hospital in Missouri.

Mitchell says her family has no history of cancer.

Speaking at a press conference on Monday, she said she started straightening her hair when she was eight.

“At that time, at the age of 28, my dreams of becoming a mother were gone,” said Mitchell.

“As most young African-American girls, chemical relaxers, chemical straighteners were introduced to us at a young age.”

“Society has made it a norm to look a certain way in order to feel a certain way,” she continued.

“And I am the first voice of many voice to come that will stand, stand up to these companies, and say, ‘No more.'”

From the early 2000s to March 2022, Jenny Mitchell used L’Oreal and other hair straightening products.

As a result, she is seeking $75,000 in damages.

Other cases

Jenny Mitchell is not alone in the lawsuit.

Two other individual lawsuits are filed against L’Oreal and other cosmetics companies in California and New York.

The two cases also claim hair straightener chemicals and the cancer diagnoses are linked.

“We imagine that we will continue representing additional women in filing cases,” said Debrosse Zimmerman.

“As will other firms, and more and more women will come forward.”

Read also: “Being a dermatologist is no easy job. It requires determination and a strong mindset,” Dr. Rola Shahadat on her success as a dermatologist


Mitchell’s lawsuit follows a study by the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, which found relations with her case.

The publication states that 4% of women who regularly use chemicals to straighten their hair are at risk of uterine cancer by age 70.

Additionally, the study estimates that women who haven’t used chemicals to straighten their hair in the past 12 months have a 1.6% risk of developing uterine cancer.

Furthermore, it says that Black women were more likely to use hair straightening products than White women.

To summarize, the data show that the relationship between hair straighteners and cervical cancer cases was more evident in Black women.

However, Black women only comprised 7.4% of study participants, and 59.9% reported using straightening products.

Other factors play a role in the frequent use of hair straightening products, such as:

  • Eurocentric standards of beauty
  • Social pressure on Black and Latina women in the work environment relating to microaggression and threat of discrimination
  • Desired versatility in changing hairstyles and self-expression

“Black women have long been the victims of dangerous products specifically marketed to them,” said Ben Crump.

“Black hair has been and always will be beautiful, but Black women have been told they have to use these products to meet society’s standards.”

“We will likely discover that Ms. Mitchell’s tragic case is one of countless cases in which companies aggressively misled Black women to increase their products.”


US woman files lawsuit against L’Oreal, claiming chemical hair straightening products are linked to her cancer

Solar power found to have two benefits for users

Solar: Solar energy is one of the finest ways for people to reduce their carbon footprint and has significantly improved their capacity to save money.

A California utility regulator has limited net metering usage.

As a result, it will at least 60% reduce the overall savings for houses from selling electricity to the grid.

Additionally, it affects the country as a whole by changing the economic balance.

What solar brings

Josh Hurwitz, a resident of Connecticut, decided to install solar electricity at his house for three reasons:

  • Reduce his carbon footprint
  • Store electricity in a solar-powered battery in the event of a blackout
  • Save money

Hurwitz’s choice will enable him to save tens of thousands of dollars over the following fifteen years and pay for his system in six years.

Thanks to it, he is also shielded from growing electricity costs.

Hurwitz is getting ready to build a Tesla battery to store the energy he produces because solar has so far operated without a hitch.

“You have to make the money work,” said Hurwitz.

“You can have the best of intentions, but if the numbers don’t work, it doesn’t make sense to do it.”

Inflation Reduction Act

The Inflation Reduction Act, passed in August of this year, is beneficial, according to Josh Hurwitz’s experience.

It will encourage the usage of solar power systems placed on residential properties, which is one advantage of extending and boosting tax advantages.

The Solar Energy Industry Association and Wood Mackenzie estimate that the law will hasten adoption growth by 26%.

Also prolonged are the tax credits, which have a 2024–2035 expiration date.

The credits will cover 30% of the system’s cost.

A 30% credit is also available for batteries that can store recently generated electricity for later use.

Warren Leon, executive director of the Clean Energy States Alliance, spoke before a bipartisan coalition of state government organizations and made the following remarks:

“The main thing the law does is give the industry, and consumers, assurance that the credit will be there today, tomorrow, and for the next ten years.”

“Rooftop solar is still expensive enough to require some subsidies.”

Read also: Mortgage applications advance as interest rates decline

California solar market

Having assurance about anything is the hardest part about solar.

Due to ongoing legislative changes, market analysts have dubbed the industry a “solar coaster.”

California removed a key incentive on December 15, the day after the new federal tax credits went into effect.

Solar energy systems owned by homeowners can sell any excess power they generate back to the grid.

As a result, both the estimates and California’s enormous solar energy business were perplexing.

It will, however, start working in April 2023.

According to Wood Mackenzie, the solar business will face a dramatic 39% reduction in 2024 if the state and federal amendments are implemented simultaneously.

Even without considering the incentives offered by the Inflation Reduction Act, the consultancy firm projects a 50% decrease due to the California policy shift.

According to Mackenzie, home solar is also coming off a historic quarter.

Currently, California represents 1.57 GW, or over one-third of the total, a 43% increase from the previous year.


Potential switchers could quickly recoup some of their early costs by going green, thanks to tax credits.

Josh Hurwitz installed his solar system using the federal tax credit.

He is currently preparing to install a battery due to the tax benefits.

Several contractors provide packages that let customers pay the entire sum up front and earn credit for later rentals of the same piece of equipment while they wait.

Rooftop solar systems can pay for themselves in as little as five years when tax advantages are paired with savings on electricity that households don’t purchase from utilities.

Furthermore, if the initial investment is reimbursed in 20 years, it can save more than $25,000.

Portfolio manager for the Van Eck Environmental Sustainability Fund, Veronica Zhang, stated:

“Will this growth have legs? Absolutely.”

“With utility rates going up, it’s a good time to move if you were thinking about it in the first place.”

Read also: Sam Bankman-Fried found to donate to lawmakers probing FTX collapse

Energy storage

Utilities may be required to pay a higher price in some areas for any excess electricity generated by residential solar systems during peak output or used to replenish home batteries.

However, these states also have more substantial subsidies and consumer-friendly legislation.

Before this week, California had some of the laxest rules.

However, state utility regulators decided to let utilities pay less for any additional power they were required to buy after power firms protested that the prices were too high and increased the cost of electricity for other customers.

The facts of California’s verdict, according to Wood Mackenzie, made it seem less demanding than the company had anticipated.

EnergySage estimates that California’s payback period without a battery will be ten years rather than six when the new laws take effect.

The company expects savings to drop by 60% in the upcoming years.

Battery-powered systems, according to EnergySage, will be more positively impacted because owners keep the majority of the extra power rather than selling it to the grid.

“The new [California rules] certainly elongate current payback periods for solar and solar-plus-storage, but not by as much as the previous proposal,” said Mackenzie.

“By 2024, the real impacts of the IRA will begin to come to fruition.”


Rooftop solar: how homeowners should do the math on the climate change investment

Flavored tobacco banned in California, stores required to add warning signs

Flavored tobacco: On Monday, the Supreme Court denied a request by RJ Reynolds to challenge a California law banning the sale of flavored tobacco products.

RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company

RJRT (RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company) is the second-largest tobacco company in the United States.

The company’s cigarette brands account for over a third of the country’s cigarette sales.

RJRT offers products in all segments of the cigarette market and manufactures many of the best sellers in the United States, including:

  • Newport
  • Camel
  • Snus
  • Pall Mall

The ban

In November, voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 31.

It bans the sale of most flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes.

Menthol cigarettes are one of the company’s biggest sellers, and RJRT has argued that the new California law conflicts with tobacco control law.

The Tobacco Control Act provides authority for the federal Food and Drug Administration to regulate the sale of cigarettes.

The court first passed the law two years ago.

However, the tobacco companies successfully funded a campaign blocking its implementation and raised the issue in the 2022 statewide vote.

The judges upheld the law without explanation or opinion from the public.

The ban will take effect on December 21.

The law

In November, Californians went to the polls to approve the ballot initiative by a majority of 63.5% to 36.5%.

The law, SB 793, states:

“Proposition 31 (SB 793) prohibits in-person stores and vending machines from selling most flavored tobacco products or tobacco product flavor enhancers.”

“The proposition does not ban shisha (hookah) tobacco sold and used at the store, certain cigars, or loose-leaf tobacco.”

Additionally, the law defines flavors as anything beyond the regular flavor of tobacco., including:

  • Fruit
  • Menthol
  • Honey
  • Chocolate
  • Vanilla

The law imposes a $250 fine on store and vending machine owners who violate the requirements.


Lawyers for RJ Reynolds argued that the lower court wrongly ignored federal law and allowed states to ban the sale of flavored tobacco products outright because they failed to meet tobacco product standards.

Further, the attorneys noted that in 2009, Congress passed a sweeping regime to divide tobacco product regulatory powers between the FDA and state and local governments.

They also said the law gives the FDA primary authority to regulate tobacco products.

During the legal briefs, California urged the judiciary not to interfere in the dispute.

They argued that states had exercised their authority to protect the health of their citizens for more than a century.

California attorney Rob Bonta said the law was needed, saying:

“Flavored tobacco products are the central cause of unfavorable trends in youth addiction to tobacco.”

Bonta also pointed out that the tobacco industry spent tens of millions of dollars persuading voters to repeal California’s ban, which it did not.

Furthermore, the attorney said that when Congress passed the Tobacco Control Act 13 years ago, it protected established state authority over selling tobacco products.

Read also: Carvana faces bankruptcy after cutting workforce

California ban conclusion

Following the ban on flavored tobacco products, attorney Bonta applauded the Supreme Court for rejecting Big Tobacco’s recent attempt to block California’s common sense ban.

“The voters of California approved this ban by an overwhelming margin in the November election, and now it will finally take effect,” said Bonta.

“I look forward to continuing to defend this important law against any further legal challenges.”

Health warning signs

Last week, the Justice Department announced that cigarette manufacturers would be required to post warning signs at retail locations about the health effects of smoking.

The ordinance will come into effect on July 1, 2023.

It is the latest in a long line of court-ordered actions in a 1999 lawsuit against cigarette manufacturers.

Past lawsuit

The order stems from a 1999 lawsuit filed in the District of Columbia by a coalition of anti-tobacco and public health advocacy groups.

This led to a ruling that cigarette manufacturers were misleading consumers about the health risks of smoking.

Since 2017, similar health warnings have appeared in newspapers, television, cigarette packs, and company websites.

The order

The Justice Department order requires the following brands of cigarettes to show the signs for two years.

  • Philip Morris USA Inc
  • RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company
  • Four cigarette brands under the ITG Brands

Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta released a statement, writing:

“Justice Department attorneys have worked diligently for over 20 years to hold accountable the tobacco companies that defrauded consumers about the health risks of smoking.”

Read also: Cannabis shops to open in New York with challenges

The signs

The ordinance requires retail signs to have an eye-catching design that includes warnings such as:

“Smoking cigarettes causes numerous diseases, and on average 1,200 American deaths every day.”

“The nicotine in cigarettes is highly addictive, and that cigarettes have been designed to create and sustain addiction.”

According to the Justice Department, the order applies to more than 200,000 outlets in the United States that have merchandising agreements with cigarette manufacturers.


Supreme Court declines to block California’s ban on flavored cigarettes

Supreme Court upholds California ban on flavored tobacco

Cigarette companies ordered to display health warning signs at retailers