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Today's Login is 1,378 words, a 5-minute read.
Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios
The Supreme Court is set to hear arguments Wednesday on whether political organizations have a constitutional right to annoy you with robocalls, Axios' Kyle Daly reports.
Why it matters: A decision barring restrictions on robocalls could open the floodgates to many more than the tens of billions of Americans already endure — and expand the treatment of corporate activities and political organizations' expenditures as constitutionally protected speech.
What's happening: As part of its limited spring docket of cases argued via teleconference, the Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments Wednesday in Barr v. American Association of Political Consultants Inc.
Yes, but: If a majority on the Supreme Court agrees that the TCPA as amended is unconstitutional, it could also take aim at the statute instead of the exemption, hollowing or tossing out the 1991 law and regulations that depend on it.
Throwing out the law would be an extreme outcome. But some parties weighing in on the case are urging the court to take broader slashes at TCPA.
Justice Brett Kavanaugh, for one, has shown sympathy in the past for an expansive reading of the First Amendment as superseding laws meant to restrict corporations' behavior.
The big picture: Most Americans want fewer robocalls in their lives. Today's laws aren't very effective at limiting them, but striking them down would likely lead to even more calls.
My thought bubble: It's hard to imagine that the framers had in mind that corporations' rights to use robots would outweigh individuals' right to be free from intrusion in their homes. But then, the Constitution is strangely silent when it comes to robots.
Google.org granted $5 million to Opportunity Finance Network, which provides capital for underserved SMBs. Photo: Opportunity Finance Network
Google.org, the search giant's philanthropic arm, is doubling its planned coronavirus response donations to a total of $100 million, as Axios exclusively reported earlier today.
Why it matters: The effort is in addition to coronavirus-related moves by the corporate side and, in some cases, also comes with hands-on technical support from Google employees to help organizations with the technical aspects of their efforts.
What she's saying: In an interview, Google.org head Jacquelline Fuller acknowledged that "there's an overwhelming need." Overall, Google.org is doling out about $1 billion over five years and is looking for places where it can truly make a difference and partnerships with organizations that can make its dollars go farther, Fuller said.
With COVID-19, that's meant a range of actions:
Background: Google.org has already given out $50 million in grants, with $25 million going toward economic relief and recovery, $15 million to health and science and $10 million to distance learning projects. Google.org is now pledging a further $50 million, as well as 50,000 hours from Google employees to help with coronavirus-specific efforts.
Yes, but: Some have criticized Google for not opening its purse strings further. With the cash grants, for example, the company donated a portion of the target amount, relying on donations from Google employees and others to reach its goal.
Photo: Yuriko Nakao/Getty Images
Airbnb is laying off nearly 1,900 employees, or a quarter of its global workforce, as it tries to weather the near-total halt of travel amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Why it matters: Despite raising $2 billion in debt and equity last month, cutting marketing expenses and freezing hiring, the company couldn't escape having to cut a significant number of jobs, Axios' Kia Kokalitcheva reports.
Go deeper: CEO Brian Chesky's full statement
Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
California's attorney general, along with city attorneys for San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego, is suing Uber and Lyft over the companies' classification of drivers as independent contractors rather than employees, Kia reports.
Why it matters: This is the latest move in a long-running effort to get the companies to reclassify their drivers. It follows multiple lawsuits from individual drivers over the years, as well as last year's new California law codifying a state Supreme Court decision that makes it harder to classify workers as contractors.
Details: The lawsuit seeks penalties and damages, and aims to get the companies to stop classifying drivers as independent contractors.
While the lawsuit is focused on Uber and Lyft, the attorneys told reporters during a press call that they are monitoring other gig economy companies and are not ruling out taking further action.
Kia has more here.
Four words: Tub time cub time.