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CA’s Jan. 1 Ban on Flavored Tobacco Products Delayed After Companies File Signatures to Put Law into Vote

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California delays the ban on flavored tobacco products. Tobacco companies led the way, collecting enough signatures to put the law to a statewide vote. 

What We Know: 

  • The ban on flavored tobacco in California is delayed due to signatures leading the law to be voted on. California has put the law on delay until county clerks verify there are at least 623,000 valid signatures. Secretary of State Alex Padilla told county officials to begin verifying signatures on December 7th. Two days later, he and Attorney General Xavier Becerra delayed the law’s effective date. 
  • The law would prohibit retailers from selling flavored tobacco products but would not make it a crime for people possessing the products. If violated, sellers would receive a $250 fine. The ban does not include all flavored tobacco products. Exempted products are loose-leaf tobacco, premium cigars, and shisha tobacco, commonly used in hookah. 
  • Kammi Foote, Inyo County’s top elections official, said she is referring the petition to the country district attorney. According to CBS Sacramento, Foote’s office found a mass amount of signatures not matching county records. If enough signatures are valid, the law will most likely be voted on in the November 2022 election. A decision is expected by the end of January. 
  • A group backed by R.J Reynolds Tobacco Company and Philip Morris USA believes the ban would be harmful to America’s economy, especially during the pandemic. “More than 1 million California voters signed the petition to place the measure on the ballot, and this stipulation honors their rights,” the group said in a statement. 
  • Jim Knox of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network commented on the situation, including his thoughts on tobacco products’ harmful nature. “Nonetheless, it’s a victory for the tobacco industry,” he said. “They have thrown the implementation of this important health measure into chaos. They’re attempting to subvert the will of the Legislature and at the very least prolong the time the tobacco industry has to inflect addiction and death on our young people and communities of color.” 

As groups fight to keep the products, many applaud the ban. Doctors and groups fighting diseases often caused by tobacco encourage the ban. The groups comment on how often the tobacco industry preys on youth, low-income individuals, and Black and Latino communities. The ban would discourage use among such individuals. 

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Education

Threatening Email Sent to 5,000 Parents, Students through Massachusetts School’s Account

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Massachusetts Police are investigating after two threatening emails were sent from Gardner Public School’s email account.

What We Know:

  • According to NBC News, an email hit the inboxes of children who attend Gardner High School, and their parents, on Friday containing racial slurs and a threat against the school. A second email sent at 1 a.m. included extremely graphic content, including child pornography, taken from the internet. The threat to blow up the school was scheduled to be carried out on Sunday.
  • The Gardner Police Department began receiving calls about the emails at around 12:30 a.m. on Saturday. They have since opened a criminal investigation into the matter. According to the school’s IT department, they quickly discovered a problem in one of the family communication tools and shut it down. The application allowed users to broadcast emails across the community of users.
  • In a post to its Facebook page, the Gardner Public School released a statement.

The administration wrote, “Unfortunately, many students and parents are reporting that they received a very inappropriate email last night, appearing to be sent from a school email account. We want to apologize for the graphic content of this email. We are working closely with the Gardner Police Department to investigate this and to determine the origin of the email. Again, our apologies and we will keep you updated as more information becomes available.”

  • A police statement told the community, “The Gardner Police Department has checked the schools to ensure they were secure and no threats were located at this time. The police department is working with the school department and the city’s technology department to investigate this matter and will continue to do our best to ensure the students and staff’s safety.”

The school is working with a crisis team to support students and parents during this alarming time.

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Business

Master P Connects with Former Tesla Engineer to Make Black-Owned Supercars

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Master P is working to create Black-owned supercars. He will be working with a former Tesla engineer to try and make this happen.

What We Know:

  • Master P took to Instagram on Martin Luther King Day to announce that he is partnering with former Tesla engineer Richard Patterson to create the next generation of supercars, Trion Supercars. This would make the Louisiana entrepreneur and music mogul the head of the first Black-owned supercar manufacturer in the United States.
  • #RichardPatterson CEO of Trion, the first black-owned supercar manufacturer in America. He is a former engineer at Tesla, designing the Model S from scratch. He also designed the landing gear on the Boeing 777 and the folding seat system in the Dodge Minivan,” P wrote.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Master P (@masterp)

  • In a press release that went out last week, Percy “Master P” Miller and his son Romeo featured Patterson on the Master P Reviews YouTube program. Putting a focus on Patterson’s Trion Supercars Group, P and Romeo checked out the company’s 2000-horsepower Nemesis car. The Millers were so blown away by the car that they gave it a rating of 10 across the board.
  • Patterson’s foray into automobile manufacturing and design began when he was just a teenager in Detroit, Mich. for General Motors. He went on to work as the advanced vehicle engineer for the Tesla Model S and is reportedly only one of four automotive engineers that can build a car from early design schematics to full production. In addition, Patterson designed the Model S car from scratch. Patterson also created the landing gear for Boeing 777 and the folding seat in the Dodge Minivan.
  • Master P’s announcement comes just a month after he announced that he is trying to buy Reebok from Adidas in March of this year. Master P said that if he acquires Reebok, he plans on turning it into a lifestyle brand. Prior to that, Master P had created his own substitutes for Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben’s after both brand logos were replaced last year. His food company, PJ Foods Company, launched “Uncle P’s Louisiana Seasoned,” which makes rice, beans, grits, pancake mix, syrup, and oatmeal.

This project is currently in its early stages, and further details of the design have not been released as of late.

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Crime

Trey Songz Arrested After Altercation with Police

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During Sunday’s AFC Championship Game between the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs, rapper Trey Songz was arrested by Kansas City Police at Arrowhead Stadium.

What We Know:

  • According to TMZ, Kansas City Police claimed that Tremaine Aldon Neverson, better known as Trey Songz, was not following Arrowhead Stadium protocol. After staff and fans around him could not get him to wear a mask, police were called in to kick him out of the stadium.
  • Witnesses claim Songz was not breaking the rules but being heckled by others in the stands. He had asked them to be quiet. When police arrived, things got abruptly physical, and he acted in self-defense.  The 36-year-old singer’s altercation was caught on camera.

  • The video shows Songz caught off guard when the officer gets physical. He connects a punch with the officer’s head and gets him in a headlock, but then the officer pinned Trey to a seat. As more officers arrive at the scene, you can hear fans in the background of the video shouting for the officer to be arrested.
  • Trey Songz was arrested for trespassing, resisting arrest, and assaulting a police officer. He is being placed on a 24-hr hold and likely to be released on Monday night.

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office nor Trey Songz’s attorney could be reached for comment.

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