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Justices' age-bias ruling favors firemen

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Supreme Court has decided unanimously that local governments with small workforces must comply with a federal law against age discrimination.

On Tuesday, the justices ruled in favor of two Arizona firefighters who claimed they were laid off because of their age when the fire district they worked for faced a budget squeeze.

The Mount Lemmon Fire District laid off its two oldest firefighters, John Guido, then 46, and Dennis Rankin, 54. The men sued alleging age discrimination, but the district said it was too small to qualify as an employer under the law.

The 8-0 decision was written by the court's oldest member, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 85. It rejected arguments by the district that it was not covered by the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act because it employs fewer than 20 people.

Language in the act says "employer" is defined as a person or entity with 20 or more employees. But it says later it "also means" a state or a political subdivision of a state.

A federal judge had dismissed the firefighters' claims, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit reinstated them. The Supreme Court's decision means the men can continue their suit.

Iowa city advances ban on replica guns

SIOUX CITY, Iowa -- The leaders of a northwest Iowa city are considering prohibiting people from carrying some types of "toy" firearms, which police say are becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish from real guns.

The Sioux City council members tentatively approved an ordinance on Monday that would ban pellet and BB guns. The proposal wouldn't ban Nerf or squirt guns, or devices that shoot suction-cup darts.

The city attorney's office said two more readings and votes are required at future council meetings before the ordinance could be adopted.

Sioux City Police Capt. Mark Kirkpatrick said officers have had multiple encounters with replica weapons and faced the question of whether to use deadly force. People carrying toy firearms tend to be teenagers or young adults seeking personal protection or street credibility, he said.

While no one in the city has died from a police encounter while carrying a toy firearm, there are more than 50 such deaths nationwide each year, according to the Police Department.

Councilman Pete Groetken said it's important that "Everyone understands clearly that the lookalikes make it a very challenging situation for police and they would be very smart and wise not to do that."

Reporter loses appeal on deportation

MEMPHIS -- An immigration board has rejected an appeal from a Spanish-language news outlet reporter who was arrested during a demonstration in Tennessee.

The Commercial Appeal reported that while the Board of Immigration Appeal granted Manuel Duran a stay of deportation in May, it rejected his appeal in mid-October.

Latino Memphis attorney Christina Swatzell said Duran could be deported to El Salvador this month, but he's fighting his case at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.

The 42-year-old reporter was arrested for disorderly conduct and obstruction of a highway in April. A lawsuit asserting his detention was retaliation for news coverage was dismissed in September.

Duran's lawyers have said he came to the U.S. after receiving death threats related to reporting on corruption in El Salvador.

Agent sentenced for aiding illegal entry

LOS ANGELES -- A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agent convicted of helping a Mexican citizen who is a felon to illegally re-enter the country was sentenced Monday to one year and one day in prison, officials said.

Felix Cisneros Jr., 44, was convicted in April of four felony counts, including conspiracy to aid and assist the entry into the U.S. of a Mexican convicted of an aggravated felony, falsifying records in a federal investigation and making false statements.

Cisneros is an 11-year veteran of the immigration enforcement agency and has been suspended indefinitely from the agency, the Department of Justice said. The man Cisneros helped -- Santiago Garcia-Gutierrez -- was a lawful permanent resident of the United States, but he had been barred from legally entering the country because of criminal convictions and an outstanding warrant for his arrest, court documents show.

In 2013, Cisneros helped Garcia-Gutierrez retrieve his passport and enter the U.S. by convincing a Los Angles airport customs agent that he was a confidential informant, according to a federal affidavit. He interceded again later that year so that Garcia-Gutierrez could re-enter the country after a second trip to Mexico.

Cisneros accepted Dodgers playoff tickets from Garcia-Gutierrez in exchange for his help, court records show.

A Section on 11/07/2018

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