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December 15, 2013 | By Richard Feldman and Arkadi Gerney
A year ago, in the days after 20 schoolchildren and six adults were gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., it seemed for a moment that something had changed in America's long-running cultural debate on guns. A new kind of national conversation - even some consensus - seemed possible. But that was then. Today the voices on both sides of the gun policy debate are back to being as shrill as ever. Still, behind the heated rhetoric, there are areas of agreement.
December 7, 2013 | Jason Felch
Occidental College's underreporting of sexual assault allegations was far more extensive than campus officials have acknowledged, according to documents, interviews and a Times review of two confidential federal complaints against the school. In October, the college said it had failed to disclose two dozen sexual assault allegations made by students in 2010 and 2011, a potential violation of federal law. At the time, officials said their revisions represented a complete accounting of the assault cases.
November 3, 2013 | By Joseph Tanfani
WASHINGTON - As drug dealers go, Lori Ann Newhouse was strictly small time. A high school dropout from a little Iowa town, Newhouse had three sons, a low-paying job as a telemarketer and a relentless methamphetamine habit. On St. Patrick's Day in 2011, Newhouse bought cold tablets used to make meth and traded them to a lab for a gram of the highly addictive drug. Federal agents, it turned out, were watching. Newhouse's bust landed her in the federal system in northern Iowa, where drug sentences have been among the harshest in the nation.
October 11, 2013 | By Jenny Deam
SPRINGFIELD, Colo. - Out near a lonely highway southwest of town, a farmer's son stuck some seeds in the ground last spring to see what would happen. What he pulled from the soil made history and has sown new hope for struggling farmers both here and across the nation. Last weekend, 41-year-old Ryan Loflin, a fifth-generation Coloradan, along with an enthusiastic crew of 45 volunteers, harvested what is being called the first U.S. crop of commercial hemp in more than half a century.
September 27, 2013 | By David Lazarus
It seemed like a serious phone call. Coco said her husband was informed that he owed the state more than $800 and that he risked time in jail if he didn't pony up some cash. Finally giving in to the hard sell, Coco's husband agreed to pay $300 to buy himself some breathing room. It wasn't until after he hung up that he and his wife wondered, "Was that a legitimate call?" It's a common scam: A caller who sounds official makes a strong case for money being owed and severe consequences if you don't offer at least a little something.
September 18, 2013 | By Jason Felch and Jason Song
Occidental College has quietly reached a monetary settlement with at least 10 current and former students who have alleged that the Eagle Rock liberal arts school repeatedly mishandled sexual assault accusations, according to three sources with knowledge of the agreement. During confidential settlement talks last week, senior Occidental officials agreed to pay the women an undisclosed sum to avoid a lawsuit. Under the terms of the pact, they are barred from discussing publicly the college's handling of their cases and participating in the Occidental Sexual Assault Coalition, a campus advocacy group of students and faculty that over the last year has been battling fiercely with the college administration over its handling of sex assault allegations.
September 13, 2013 | By Chris Megerian, Patrick McGreevy and Melanie Mason
SACRAMENTO - It was an off-the-cuff conversation in a Capitol hallway that rescued one of the year's most consequential and controversial proposals, a bill to grant driver's licenses widely to immigrants who are in the country illegally. Sen. Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles), wrapping up a Wednesday meeting with Gov. Jerry Brown, mentioned his disappointment that the measure was stalled. He thought the governor was wary of it, because the bill's author, Assemblyman Luis Alejo (D-Watsonville)
September 12, 2013 | David Lazarus
CVS Caremark insists that it's just complying with federal law by informing customers that their medical information could be "redisclosed" if they sign up for the company's prescription-drug reward program. Privacy experts, though, question whether CVS is complying with state law. "California's privacy law is stricter than federal law," said Charles Googooian, a La Canada Flintridge lawyer who specializes in medical-privacy issues. "It doesn't seem like CVS is complying with either the spirit or the letter of state law. " CVS has been scrambling to defend its ExtraCare Pharmacy & Health Rewards program since I recently reported that customers are being required to give up important federal privacy safeguards in return for up to $50 a year in store credits.
September 10, 2013 | By Becca Clemons
WASHINGTON - In the first congressional hearing on marijuana laws since voters in Colorado and Washington state legalized pot for recreational use in November, Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) called for a "smarter approach" to marijuana policy and addressed federal laws that he said impeded effective regulation of the drug in states where it was legal. The Senate Judiciary Committee's hearing followed a Justice Department memo in late August that said the U.S. would not challenge state laws permitting marijuana and that it would focus enforcement on eight priorities, which include preventing its distribution to minors and keeping revenue away from criminal enterprises.
September 9, 2013 | By Chad Terhune
Some families may end up owing Uncle Sam a sizable refund if they accept government help on buying health insurance next year under President Obama's Affordable Care Act. A study published Monday in Health Affairs estimates that 38% of families that qualify for federal premium subsidies might have to repay some portion if changes in their household income aren't reported to the government. These subsidies are a crucial part of the federal healthcare law intended to help make insurance more affordable for lower- and middle-income people.
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