1. NEW PARENTS OF ABSENT KIDS FACE JAIL TIME IN MISSOURI
It’s one thing when kids get in trouble for missing school. In Missouri, parents get full credit. The state’s supreme court upheld the conviction of two single mothers charged over their children’s unexcused absences. One served several days in adult time out when her first grader missed 16 days of class. The other received two years’ probation for her MIA kindergartener. They argued over what “regular attendance” means and insisted the district couldn’t prove the absences were their fault. But the high court ruled – wrong answer. The moms control their young children and the district notified them they were breaking the law. Questions? Raise your hands.
2. BAD BREAK-UP, REVENGE PORN, $1.2B FROM THE JURY
If all your exes live in Texas – beware. A Lone Star State jury gave a Texas-sized award to a woman suing her ex-boyfriend. He hacked her email and social media accounts along with a home security system to paint the internet with intimate images of her, even creating a website, a public Dropbox folder and fake social media profiles. The man, who lives in Chicago, didn’t show up in court so jurors wanted to be sure they got his attention from deep in the heart of Texas. They recommended he pay a $1.2B penalty for damages. Disclosing intimate images without consent violates state law, but he hasn’t been criminally charged.
3. THE SMALL GROUP BEHIND HIGHER INSURANCE RATES
The insurance industry’s changing. Companies have been Progressive about pulling back from offering a piece of the rock in certain areas like Florida and California or they’ve trimmed what types of damage they’ll cover. And if you’re paying higher rates, the feeling’s Liberty Mutual. But insurance companies aren’t driving these changes. The small group of companies that insure them is behind the wheel. Climate change, inflation, wildfires, hurricanes and other major disasters have sucked the MetLife out of reinsurers’ profits for consecutive years. So, 2023 brought a reset with reinsurers Nationwide and around the world raising their prices as much as 40 percent. Industry experts say reinsurance rates will stay high for awhile.
4. ENTIRE POLICE DEPT. QUITS IN MINNESOTA TOWN
Something’s missing in a small Minnesota town – their police department. The police chief, one other full-time officer and five part-times resigned over salary issues. The chief appeared at a city council meeting asking them to boost starting officers’ pay from $22 to $30 an hour. He said zero people will apply to police the town of 1K people for such low wages. The mayor says the county sheriff’s office will cover city policing in the interim and that this isn’t the first time their police department has resigned, so it probably won’t be the last. Meanwhile council members say they’ll eventually rebuild the department – maybe raise officers’ salaries.
5. GROWN UPS WON’T STAY OFF SLIDE AFTER COP HURLS
Fun is illegal in Boston after an arresting video of a police officer hurling down a huge children’s slide went viral. Sure, it’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt and the officer bumped his head – more than once by the look of it. That didn’t stop throngs of people from migrating to try it themselves. Sadly, would-be sliders who dreamed of careening down the slide saw only their hopes jettisoned. Officials erected a fence at night to keep big kids-at-heart off. An outcry on social media accused cops of ruining the cop slide. Fence is gone. But Boston’s asking the grown-ups to stay the heck off, please.