Illinois State Law Requires Drivers to Stop Whenever a Pedestrian Has Entered a Crosswalk

Urbanized Melodrama
Urbanized Melodrama

Have you noticed those newish stop signs at crosswalks? Cars apparently keep running them over…

The stop signs have been installed citywide at 220 locations since mid-2012 to increase compliance with a 2010 state law requiring drivers to stop whenever a pedestrian has entered a crosswalk.

The law amended a previously existing law, which safety officials considered vague, requiring drivers only to yield to pedestrians. It also applies to all intersections across Illinois, sign or no sign.

More than 3,000 accidents and an average of 30 pedestrian deaths a year in the city are caused by vehicles hitting people, according to the Chicago Police Department. This year’s death toll is 29, authorities said Friday.

Chicago police officers issued 1,933 tickets to drivers who violated the must-stop law during 86 enforcement stings this year at intersections where pedestrian crashes have occurred or where the public has complained about drivers failing to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks, police said Friday.

In the enforcement operations, a plainclothes officer attempts to cross at a crosswalk. Drivers who fail to stop are pursued by squad cars and issued $120 tickets.

(click here to continue reading Most stop-for-pedestrian signs hit by cars, city data shows – Chicago Tribune.)

State Law - Stop For Pedestrians Within Crosswalk

To be honest, I missed the fact that this law has changed. And when I’m a pedestrian, I think most Chicago drivers missed that the law changed too…

Seriously, if the police start really enforcing this law, they could easily do nothing but write tickets all day and all night. Many cars speed up if you step foot in a crosswalk, few slow down, fewer stop. I walk the city streets a lot, in many different neighborhoods, in my quest to photograph everything interesting at least once, and I can count the times a car stopped for me in a crosswalk on my left hand. Not many times, in other words.

Wanderer And Shadow
Wanderer And Shadow

Local Laws Fighting Obesity Under Siege

Tommy's Grill - Lomo Fuji

Tommy’s Grill – Lomo Fuji

I am opposed to most government meddling, no matter the intent, but this tea party reactionary anti-public health wave is particularly ridiculous. Partially in reaction to the Obama National Health care initiative, partially because Tea Partiers want to eat 2000 calories for breakfast, 2500 calories for lunch, and 3000 calories for dinner, not to mention snacks, and don’t want your shame tactics interfering with their drug, damn it. And stop telling them to exercise either – that’s also a socialist plot!

Several state legislatures are passing laws that prohibit municipalities and other local governments from adopting regulations aimed at curbing rising obesity and improving public health, such as requiring restaurants to provide nutritional information on menus or to eliminate trans fats from the foods they serve.

In some cases, lawmakers are responding to complaints from business owners who are weary of playing whack-a-mole with varying regulations from one city to the next. Legislators have decided to sponsor state laws to designate authority for the rules that individual restaurants have to live by.

Florida and Alabama recently adopted such limits, while Georgia, Tennessee and Utah have older statutes on their books. Earlier this year, Arizona prohibited local governments from forbidding the marketing of fast food using “consumer incentives” like toys.

And this week, Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed the state budget, which contains sweeping limitations on local government control over restaurants.

“All of sudden we’re seeing this legislation get slipped into pending bills at the 11th hour under the radar of public health advocates, which will pre-empt local governments from adopting policies that would improve health in their communities,” said Samantha Graff, senior staff lawyer at Public Health Law & Policy, a nonprofit group that works to combat obesity, among other issues.

(click here to continue reading Local Laws Fighting Fat Under Siege –

Cajun Campfire Breakfast
Cajun Campfire Breakfast



U.S. Will Enforce Marijuana Laws, Despite Wishes of Voters

Disappointing decision by Eric Holder and the Obama administration. What purpose does locking up non-violent drug users accomplish anyway? Other than let politicians check off the box that says, “tough on crime” on their reelection mailers, that is.

Single serving pod

LOS ANGELES — The Department of Justice says it intends to prosecute marijuana laws in California aggressively even if state voters approve an initiative on the Nov. 2 ballot to legalize the drug. Related

The announcement by Eric H. Holder Jr., the attorney general, was the latest reminder of how much of the establishment has lined up against the popular initiative: dozens of editorial boards, candidates for office, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and other public officials.

Still, despite this opposition — or perhaps, to some extent, because of it — the measure, Proposition 19, appears to have at least a decent chance of winning, so far drawing considerable support in polls from a coalition of Democrats, independents, younger voters and men as Election Day nears. Should that happen, it could cement a cultural shift in California, where medical marijuana has been legal since 1996 and where the drug has been celebrated in popular culture at least since the 1960s.

But it could also plunge the nation’s most populous state into a murky and unsettling conflict with the federal government that opponents of the proposition said should make California voters wary of supporting it.

(click to continue reading U.S. Will Enforce Marijuana Laws, State Vote Aside –

Grass Fed Change

So which officials in California are for the bill?

The state Republican Party has officially come out against Proposition 19 and plans to urge people to vote no, said Ron Nehring, the party chairman. He called repeal a “big mistake” and mocked the notion that placing the proposition on the ballot would help Democrats.

“We call that their Hail Mary Jane strategy,” he said.

John Burton, the chairman of the California Democratic Party, said his party had decided to stay neutral on this issue. Asked if he supported it, Mr. Burton responded: “I already voted for it. Why not? Brings some money into the state. Helps the deficit. Better than selling off state buildings to some developer.”

Mark Baldassare, president of the Public Policy Institute of California, noted that polls showed the measure breaking 50 percent, but said that given the history of initiatives in the state, that meant its passage was far from assured.

Opposition has come from a number of fronts, ranging from Mr. Baca and other law enforcement officials to the Chamber of Commerce, which has warned that it would create workplace health issues.

Still, the breadth of supporters of the proposition — including law enforcement officials and major unions, like the Service Employees International Union — signal how mainstream this movement is becoming.

“I think we consume far more dangerous drugs that are legal: cigarette smoking, nicotine and alcohol,” said Joycelyn Elders, the former surgeon general and a supporter of the measure. “I feel they cause much more devastating effects physically. We need to lift the prohibition on marijuana.”

Food Safety Enhancement Bill finally passes the House

Update: H.R. 2749 – Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009 passed the House. [Full Text / Summary ]

The House of Representatives on Thursday approved a wide-ranging food-safety bill by a 283-142 margin.

The 159-page Food Safety Enhancement Act could affect every facet of the nation’s food supply chain, from farm to grocery store.

The Senate is working to pass its own version, but extended debate could delay the process. House and Senate negotiators would then have to work out their differences.

[Click to continue reading Food safety: House passes bill that would affect most facets of supply chain —]

Clown Coco

Who backs the bill? Well, for starters:

“We commend the House for passing legislation that will strengthen food safety in America. Most important, it focuses on systems to prevent breaches in food safety to protect consumers,” said Leslie G. Sarasin, president and chief executive officer, Food Marketing Institute. “We urge the Senate to approve companion legislation quickly so the industry and government can take the actions required to enhance our nation’s food safety system.”

Pamela G. Bailey, president and CEO, Grocery Manufacturers Assocaition, said GMA supports many aspects of H.R. 2749. “This legislation will strengthen our nation’s food safety net by placing prevention as the cornerstone of our nation’s food safety strategy and providing FDA with the resources and authorities it needs to adequately fulfill its food safety mission,” she said. “Combined with increased industry resources and vigilance, this legislation represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to modernize our food safety system and restore t

[Click to continue reading House Passes Food Safety Bill on Second Vote]


The United Fresh Produce Association supports the bill. The American Farm Bureau Federation, the USA Rice Federation and the National Pork Producers Council likewise have either dropped their previous opposition or now support the bill outright.

And what exactly does the bill attempt to do?

It raises money, boosts inspections and empowers the federal Food and Drug Administration.

The legislation assesses new $500-a-year fees on food processors and other facilities that must register every year; the fee would increase annually with inflation. These levies will raise about $1.5 billion over five years and combine with an estimated $2 billion provided by Congress.

The money, in part, will pay for inspections and monitoring of about 360,000 domestic and foreign food facilities. The FDA also gains new clout, including subpoena power, mandatory food recall authority and the ability to impose a regional quarantine if officials have a “reasonable belief” that there’s a risk of death or serious illness.

yesterday’s post:

The Food Safety Enhancement Act we mentioned yesterday failed, but isn’t quite dead yet.

Waste Not Want Not

The U.S. House rejected a bill to overhaul the nation’s food-safety laws amid complaints from Republicans that they weren’t given enough time to read the measure.

The legislation, which would give regulators more power to enforce tougher safety standards, fell seven votes short of the two-thirds majority needed for passage. The vote was 280 in favor of the bill, 150 against it.

The measure needed two-thirds support because it was considered under expedited procedures that bar amendments and limit debate to 40 minutes.

Democrats will bring up the bill again tomorrow under regular procedures requiring a simple majority for passage, said Katie Grant, a spokeswoman for House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, a Maryland Democrat.

[Click to continue reading Measure to Overhaul Food-Safety Laws Fails in House (Update1) –]

I’m not sure why it was introduced under the expedited procedure, why not treat it as normal legislation?

You know conservatives like Frank Lucas are never going to support any such bill, why not just ignore them?

Representative Frank Lucas of Oklahoma, the top Republican on the Agriculture Committee, said the measure would add hundreds of millions of dollars in fees and taxes and burdensome regulations that “will increase the cost of food for consumers” and drive producers overseas.