This Week in the News…

Posted: October 31, 2003 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Following are highlights of national news coverage George Mason received during the past week:

Sunday, Oct. 26, The Washington Post

Redrawing Districts Raises Questions

“There have been numerous instances of multiple redistrictings during the same decade, but always under pressure or order from a court to comply with constitutional mandates or laws such as the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Except in those cases, states have regularly redrawn congressional districts only once a decade. Storey said about a dozen states have constitutional provisions prohibiting multiple redistricting in the same decade, but Texas is not one of them. Nor do the U.S. Constitution or federal court precedents prohibit the practice. ‘There is nothing that says you can’t do this as often as you want,’ said Michael McDonald, a political scientist at George Mason University.”

Monday, Oct. 27, Financial Times

Court Case Raises Fears for Solvency of U.S. Pension Schemes

Richard Ippolito, professor of economics at George Mason University Law School in Arlington, Virginia, and the former chief economist for the PBGC, said a victory by US Airways and its creditors could set a dangerous precedent. ‘If you know you can bamboozle the PBGC, why not crank up your pension liabilities as much as you can before you go bankrupt?’ he said. As it is, PBGC funding rules allow employers to use many different interest rates when calculating shortfalls and determing the size of required contributions. The one area where the law does not allow leeway, Mr Ippolito said, is when calculating liabilities of a scheme where the employer has become insolvent.”

Monday, Oct. 27, The Washington Post

Steering Employers Toward Telework

“But many traffic experts say businesses, federal agencies and other employers could do far more to help reduce traffic backups almost immediately and relatively cheaply by allowing more employees to work from home or from a telework center even one day a week. ‘I think out of all the options we have, it’s one of the easiest things we could do’ to reduce traffic delays, said Laurie Schintler, a George Mason University assistant professor who researched the potential of telecommuting in the Washington region. Even with promising data on time savings, increased productivity and greater accessibility to high-speed Internet from home computers, the idea hasn’t taken hold with most employers.”

Wednesday, Oct. 29, Chicago Tribune

EPA Confirms Utah Governor as New Head

“Leavitt also will take a lead role in trying to advance the administration’s ‘Clear Skies’ bill, legislation Bush has proposed to cut air pollution from power plants by 70 percent over the next 20 years. Environmental groups argue that the bill is not ambitious enough and in fact weakens the Clean Air Act. James Pfiffner, a politics professor at George Mason University, said the debate over Leavitt highlights the delicate balancing act that appointees must maintain to appease both sides on ‘a very polarized issue.’ ‘Environmentalists are already upset because this administration has proven to be friendly toward businesses,’ Pfiffner said. ‘Leavitt is now caught right in the middle.'”

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