opinions, everybody's got one...
Thursday, October 18, 2001
The United States Department of Justice has made changes to the policies that they follow for Freedom of Information Act Requests. A memo from Attorney General John Ashcroft has been sent out to the executive branch agencies, making changes to a policy that had been in effect since Octobler of 1993. It's not unusual for a new Attorney General to make changes to the way that the executive branch responds to requests for information. It appears to be a bit of a tradition - something that happens normally in a new administration. This one seems to replace a "foreseeable harm" standard with a "sound legal basis" standard, but doesn't create any new substantive or procedural rights.
Vice Chancellor Jack B. Jacobs was selected as this year's recipient of the Chief Justice's Annual Award for Outstanding Judicial Service. Delaware's Chancery Court is well known for the opinions that come from its judicial officers, and Vice Chancellor Jacobs has been recognized nationwide for adding to the excellent reputation that the Court has earned.
An entry yesterday mentioned virtual shareholder's meetings for Delaware corporations. It appears that Washington might be considering some of the advantages of having a dedicated highspeed intranet to use in case of emergencies. An article on virtual leadership describes how President Bush met a few days ago with Cisco CEO John Chambers to discuss how broadband can be used to help the economy, and to consider the possibility of convening congress by teleconference during times of emergency, if necessary.
Wednesday, October 17, 2001
A Delaware law that entered into Delaware's General Corporate Law last year is finally starting to get some attention on a national level. It appears that Oracle is considering holding their next shareholder's meeting electronically, for reasons dealing with security and costs. Other tech companies are also considering using virtual shareholders meetings as a means of saving on the costs of travel and security. Will something be lost in the move from a face-to-face confrontation with a CEO or other shareholders? Perhaps only time, and litigation, will tell. With more people concerned about security these days, the use of this statute may be seen by many as an improvement to the previous requirement for live and in-person meetings.
On Tuesday, a U.S. Federal District Court upheld the ownership of a gun as a Constitutional Right. There had been some argument in federal courts that this right was restricted to ownership of a gun when part of a state militia. The District Court which oversees Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi decided differently yesterday.
One of the purposes of the federal government is to allow states to govern themselves in harmony with states that surround them. Or, to at least provide a forum where issues that affect more than one state can be addressed. But sometimes cooperation is more appropriately addressed by the use of an agency created through mutual efforts by more than one state. One example might be the attempt to reduce water pollution in the Great Lakes region. Eight states and Canada are involved in the Great Lakes information Network for just that very purpose. Cooperative efforts between states can often be achieved without having to resort to the U.S. House of Representatives or the Senate. Here are a number of other multi-state organizations:
Appalachian Regional Commission
Delaware River Basin Commission
Great Lakes Commission (multi-state and multi-national)
Multistate Tax Commission (45 member states, but not Delaware)
Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments
Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor
A much bigger list is present on the pages of the Council of States Governments. They have compiled a list of 193 interstate compacts believed to been in effect in 2001.
One of the multi-state agencies that Delaware is involved in is the Delaware River and Bay Authority, which oversees the Delaware Memorial Bridge, the Cape May Ferry, and small airports in both States. One of the difficulties of an agency like this one is that there are often questions of how they should be policed. The Authority's Board will be considering proposals from Ruth Ann Minner, Delaware's Governor, later this week on subjects such as employee whistleblower protection and greater monitoring of the board's spending.
Tuesday, October 16, 2001
The U.S. Department of State is the office responsible for issuing passports in the United States. They have a number of dated, but still helpful publications describing other nations' customs, currency, health issues, drug laws, politics, and other things you might consider before you travel abroad.
The Canada Passport Office has an interesting article online about the history of passports. It offers some insightful information about the relationship between Canada and the United States, as it describes the history of the regulation of movement between the countries.
In addition to being a source of information about international history, individual passport applications can be used as a method of finding out more about your family's personal history. The National Archives and Records Administration describes how passport applications can be a tremendous source of genealogical information, and the types of information that they can disclose.
The arctic bridge between continents can be a bridge between people and a unifying step forward in U.S. ? Russian relations. Progress is being made towards a collaborative sea park in the Bering Strait, thanks to a new Russian Governor.
The airline industry is trying to bounce back, and airlines are offering very low rates for travel. Before you pack, and head out to the airport, be sure to check with U.S. Customs to acquaint yourself with current regulations and travel tips. Some other information and updates on air travel can be found on the pages of the Federal Aviation Administration.
Monday, October 15, 2001
The Delaware Secretary of State ? Division of Corporations Executive Strategic Planning Conference was held on October 10, 11, and 12. It was an informative conference which continues to foster a cooperative and productive partnership between the State of Delaware and the private Registered Agent firms. This process is key in furthering Delaware as the premier environment for corporations.
As part of the closing statements, on October 12th, Secretary of State Dr. Harriet Smith Windsor related her experience at a national gathering of Secretaries of State in which it was quite evident that Delaware?s Division of Corporations was the envy of the other states. ?They?re all wannabes,? Secretary Windsor quipped. The Strategic Planning Conference was successful in making plans to keep Delaware in the forefront of incorporating jurisdictions, for the foreseeable future.