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Despite new laws, North Carolina hospital system continues aggressive collection practices

On Sunday, The Charlotte Observer published a package of stories showing that North Carolina's largest hospital system continues to file hundreds of lawsuits against patients, despite new state and federal laws aimed at reining in aggressive collection practices. The Observer's review found that a number of the lawsuits by Carolinas HealthCare System were filed against low-income patients who lacked health insurance. That appears to defy the intent of new laws aimed at protecting vulnerable patients.

Government hired collectors to go after debtors

Debt collection horror stories are nothing new. But there's a whole other side to the industry that no one’s talking about: collectors hired by government agencies to hunt down debtors.

CNNMoney spent months investigating this booming business and one of its biggest players, Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson. Hundreds of consumer complaints were analyzed from state attorneys general and the Federal Trade Commission, among other organizations, and dozens of attorneys and other experts were interviewed.

Chemical known for lung destruction still unregulated

For nearly two decades, federal regulators tasked with overseeing worker safety in the United States have been well aware of the lung destruction tied to diacetyl. But the federal government failed to regulate exposure to the chemical. An investigation by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel found the chemical is now a problem for those working in the coffee industry and diacetyl has quietly seeped into other products, this time being inhaled straight into the lungs of a growing number of consumers as they smoke or "vape" e-cigarettes. Inhaling the chemical can quickly destroy the lungs, according to more than a dozen ...

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New Mexico Secretary of State's Office collect few fines

Missing the deadline to file campaign finance reports is supposed to result in a fine. However, during the 2012 and 2014 primary and general election only 4% of New Mexico fines for missing reports were collected under current secretary of state, Dianna Duran, according to the Daily Times.

Under New Mexico's Campaign Reporting Act, all candidates running for office are required to submit a full report to the state government, detailing their campaign finances. 

Many airport employees not required to be screened daily

Following the arrest of an airport employee that tried to smuggle guns onto an airplane in Atlanta, CNN has revealed a lack of screening for airport employees. Most airport employees are screened daily but workers like mechanics, baggage handlers and cleaning crews are under no federal requirement for screening.

Only two of the nation's major airports require all tarmac workers to go through security: Miami and Orlando. Security at the Miami airport reported confiscating 209 employee badges for security violations last year alone. The airports with the weakest guidelines cite budget shortages as the main reason for their leniency.

Quake Debate: Science questioned while state's earthquake studies go unfinished

In 2014, Oklahoma was the site of 585 earthquakes measured 3.0 or above; that's more earthquakes than in the past 35 years combined according to Tulsa World.

A significant amount of scientific studies have attributed this dramatic shift in natural disasters to the 3,200 active disposal wells, where water produced in the drilling of oil and natural gas is then injected deep into the ground.

Despite the overwhelming support in the science community of these sites as the cause of the earthquakes, state officials with the power to control the disposal wells refuse to act. Energy industry ...

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Florida's migrant laborers forced to live in squalor

An investigation by the Sarasota Herald-Tribune has found that thousands of Florida’s migrant laborers are forced to live in dormitories and mobile homes where sewage backs up into kitchens, where leaks turn to mold and broken windows expose tenants to Florida’s extreme weather and pests. The state health department regulates these facilities, but they rarely issue the strictest punishments and often let violations go uncorrected for weeks at a time. 

Businessmen tied to Florida cruise company repeatedly deceived customers

An NBC 6 South Florida investigation into the Ft. Lauderdale-based travel company Caribbean Cruise Line found that the company has been burdening customers with hidden fees and refusing refunds. The Better Business Bureau has received over 1400 complaints about the company, the station found.

Five years ago a Florida judge prohibited two businessmen connected with the company from charging any fees above the advertised price.  At the time the two owned Imperial Majesty, but they later went on to dissolve the corporation, leaving millions in unpaid fines. These two men are now partial sponsors of Caribbean Cruise Line.

Public and private schools lacking in measles vaccination rates

According to a USA TODAY analysis of immunization data in 13 states, nearly one in seven public and private schools have measles vaccination rates below 90% — a rate considered inadequate to provide immunity. 

Among the 13-state sample, results show what many experts have long feared: People opposed to vaccinations tend to live near each other, leaving some schools dangerously vulnerable, while other schools are fully protected.

Snow plows hit a Chicago alderman's street - five times

Snow removal crews hit a Chicago alderman’s quiet block five times in three days, according to a report by the Chicago Sun-Times.

Teaming with the plow tracker service clearstreets.org, the Sun-Times found that crews visited the alderman’s street twice on Sunday, twice Monday and a final time Tuesday morning, clearing the street down to the pavement. Meanwhile, nearby side streets remained unattended to and covered by deep snow as late as Monday afternoon.

The area of West 51st Street is home to Ed Burke, Chicago’s longest-serving alderman, and his wife, Anne, a justice of the Illinois ...

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