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Free Wildfires Helping Handbook

MoFo Fires Handbook

For those affected by the Northern California fires, or those who want to help, the law firm Morrison & Foerster has created the free 2017 Northern California Wildfires Helping Handbook.  The Handbook provides general and practical information for people, small businesses, and other organizations affected by the fires, and covers many issues including FEMA, consumer fraud, housing, employment, SBA loan assistance, and insurance.  There is also a chapter on Lawyer Referral Services and Legal Aid if you find you need further information or assistance.

This handbook is current through October 20, 2017, and a Spanish version is forthcoming.  Check back in at www.mofo.com/norcal-fires for updates.  You can also download a copy of the handbook: 2017 northern-ca-fires-helping-handbook.

The firm is part of the Bay Area Resilience Collaborative, which provides free legal information to California fire survivors.  Information on other free or low-cost legal aid and resources can be found here:



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Passport Day 2017

Planning a trip? If you’re traveling abroad, take advantage of Passport Day this Saturday, September 23, 2017. Seven passport offices across the country will be open to assist travelers with either applying for or renewing a passport, no appointment necessary. Locations include San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, El Paso, and Tucson. September through November are good times to apply or renew, not only because September is National Passport Awareness Month, but also because there’s a quicker turnaround during this quiet period before January.

The San Francisco Passport Agency at the Phillip Burton Federal Building (450 Golden Gate Ave., 3rd Floor) will be open from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM this Saturday. You don’t need to make an appointment or bring proof of travel to apply for or renew your passport. Just complete your application online, then bring a printed copy of the unsigned form along with an acceptable passport photo. You can find applications here. See the flyer below, visit the U.S. Passports and International Travel website, or call 1-877-487-2778 for more details. Bon voyage!


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National Archives Releases JFK Assassination Records

If the date November 22, 1963 means something to you, then you might be interested to know that the National Archives has recently put out the first of several expected releases related to the JFK assassination. The JFK Assassination Records Collection, established in November 1992, consists of approximately five million pages of records culled from various Federal agencies, the majority of which have already been open in full and made public since the late 1990s. In addition to documents such as full FBI and CIA records, the Collection contains photographs, motion pictures, sound recordings, and artifacts. For now these documents are only available online, but you will be able to access the original paper records at a later date.

In accordance with the JFK Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992, these materials were previously withheld for 25 years, with the possibility of postponement if necessary. The 25 year mark for this collection is October 26, 2017, and some withheld and partially redacted documents are still in the process of being reviewed for release by this date. As of March 2017, no Federal agency has appealed a release of their documents.

To learn more about the Collection, you can visit the AOTUS Blog (blog of the Archivist of the United States) and the National Archives website. You can also download the files online: https://www.archives.gov/research/jfk/2017-release.

Want to learn more about the National Archives?

Explore more of the vast resources available at the National Archives, at https://www.archives.gov/.

Learn about accessing the archives, the contents of its collection, and activities on it’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/usnationalarchives

The National Archives news page (https://www.archives.gov/news) contains topical information focused on current events and important calendar dates, as well as special topics, feature articles, and archivist speeches and articles (https://www.archives.gov/about/speeches).

Their most requested information page has information about genealogy, military records, historical documents, and locations around the country: https://www.archives.gov/locations

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San Francisco on the Cutting Edge of Robot Legislation: How Will We Handle Robots?

San Francisco Law Library - How Will We Handle Robots?

Image adapted from “Dr Who Cybermen” by Chad Kainz which is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Two of the Supervisors on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors are looking at local robot legislation. Supervisor Jane Kim has recently proposed a type of automation tax on companies that use robots. Supervisor Kim says she was inspired for this new possible tax by an interview of Bill Gates in Quartz Magazine where he proposed a robot tax. The thinking: If you make robots more expensive, there will be more public funds to help retrain workers, and the higher cost might keep some companies from buying robots and quickly tanking the employment rate. Kim is wondering after reading the Gates article if a robot tax would help the city deal with inequality. According to a Fast Company article, Kim believes we “need to think about investments in our society that don’t exacerbate the wealth and income gaps that we already see today.”

Supervisor Kim is now setting up a working group to see how an automation or robot tax would be implemented. She hopes to have wide raging representatives from academia, unions, tech companies and manufactures. Supervisor Kim hopes the monies raised could be dedicated to education expenses and even slow things down enough so that government and businesses could enact policies that help people with the transition.


Yee’s legislation was sparked by seeing robots around the city. PS-C3PO in his footsteps” by Gordon Tarpley is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Meanwhile Supervisor Norman Yee is proposing a total ban on a certain type of robot. Autonomous robots would be banned from roaming the sidewalks and public right-of-ways around San Francisco under new legislation introduced by Supervisor Yee. Supervisor Yee, who represents San Francisco’s District 7, said his legislation was sparked by seeing robots around the city and realizing there’s not a way to regulate them for pedestrian safety, especially for seniors and the mobility challenged. An article in the San Francisco Business Times states that Yee “initially wanted to explore a way to craft regulations that would help keep pedestrians safe as they increasingly share the sidewalks with autonomous robots,” but after talking with several city departments he “didn’t see any viable ways to enforce that.”

The legislation would allow for criminal, civil and administrative penalties for violating the ban. The administrative penalty would be capped at $1,000 per day. If the proposal is approved by the Board of Supervisors and signed by the mayor, it would take effect 30 days later. Supervisor Yee says he does not want to stifle innovation but the safety of people on the sidewalks is of overwhelming concern.

Once again, the City of San Francisco is on the cutting edge of legislating the future.

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Proposed Cannabis Regulations Now Posted

4.28 Cannabis

The California Bureau of Medical Cannabis (BMCR) is the lead agency regulating the cannabis industry in California. Today the BMCR has posted its proposed licensing regulations for medical cannabis and the 45-day public comment period is now underway.

There will also be four public hearings on the proposed regulations. You can review the regulations and come to a hearing near you to provide feedback. The hearings are being held in June in Eureka, LA, Sacramento, and San Jose. For full details, see the BCMR’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.

If you can’t attend one of the sessions, you can still get involved by following the steps on this website: http://www.bmcr.ca.gov/about_us/documents/17-065_public_comment.pdf.

If you’re interested in reviewing the medical regulations for licensing dispensaries, distribution, and transporters, you can visit the new Cannabis Web Portal. This new site also has cultivation regulations and manufacturing regulations for medical cannabis.

For more cannabis law info, check in with this blog and stay tuned for a Cannabis LibGuide from the Library. In the meantime, don’t forget to check out the rest of our excellent research guides!