The price of oil has dropped drastically in the past few weeks and economists are not convinced that this is just a dip. Experts say it’s possible we may be seeing more drops similar to what happened between 2014-2015 as speculators start unwinding their positions after almost three years of consistently high prices.

The “what happened to oil today” is a question that has been asked many times. The answer is that the price of oil has been increasing over the past few weeks and it is expected to continue.

Two years ago, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the board diversity bill into law, hailing it as a win for racial fairness and empowerment. Credit… The New York Times/Jim Wilson


In a setback to the state’s attempts to address racial and gender inequality in the workplace, a California legislation mandating diversity on company boards of directors has been thrown down.

Judge Terry Green of Los Angeles County Superior Court ruled on Friday that the statute violates the state constitution in response to a complaint filed by Judicial Watch, a nonprofit conservative advocacy organization.

Assembly Bill 979, the legislation, took effect in 2020. It mandates that publicly listed firms domiciled in California include board members from underrepresented groups, such as persons of various colors and ethnicities, as well as those who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. In signing the bill into law, Gov. Gavin Newsom declared it a win for racial fairness and empowerment.

The complaint was brought by Judicial Watch a month after the statute was passed, claiming that it was illegal because it imposed quotas.

Judge Green did not explain why he made his conclusion. According to Law360, he characterized the statute as “a little random” in terms of which groups it meant to assist during one hearing.

Tom Fitton, head of Judicial Watch, condemned the statute in a statement after the verdict, calling it “one of the most flagrant and substantial assaults in the modern period on constitutional prohibitions against discrimination.”

California has been a national leader in pressuring firms to diversify their top ranks, beginning with a 2018 legislation requiring at least one woman to serve on company boards. Fines will be imposed on companies that do not comply.

According to a study by California Partners Project, an organization focused on gender equality that was formed in part by Governor Newsom’s wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the number of women on boards has more than quadrupled since the 2018 legislation was approved. According to the organisation, women made up more than half of new board appointments last year.

California Partners Project termed the judgment “disappointing but not conclusive” in a statement. According to the organization, studies demonstrate that “when all of our rich talent is represented in positions of leadership,” economic results are higher, and that investors driven by these outcomes will continue to encourage firms to have diverse boards.

The Securities and Market Commission has adopted a Nasdaq regulation that would compel businesses listed on the exchange to report the racial and gender composition of their boards of directors and to have at least two “diverse” members or explain why they do not. Other states, such as Maryland and New York, have implemented legislation requiring corporations to report board diversity numbers, but none have established mandated quotas.

Judicial Watch has filed a lawsuit challenging California’s gender diversity statute, arguing that quotas are unconstitutional. It has also put pressure on the Securities and Exchange Commission to reverse its decision to approve diversity requirements.

It was unclear if California will file an appeal against Judge Green’s decision. A request for comment from Secretary of State Shirley Weber’s office was not returned.

The decision was not a complete surprise, and California’s gender diversity law may face a similar fate, said David A. Bell, the co-chairman of corporate governance at the law firm Fenwick & West. “Under constitutional principles, the courts have generally been hostile to quotas,” Mr. Bell said.

Even if Judge Green’s judgment is upheld after any possible appeals, Mr. Bell does not anticipate it to have a significant impact on corporations that are already being pressured to diversify their top ranks.

“A lot of different stakeholders — institutional investors, workers, consumers — have already established a bar for expectations,” he added. “There is a baseline, and those expectations will be carried out across the globe.”

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