Q: Has the Supreme Court ever reversed its own decision?
A: Yes. According to the Government Printing Office, more than 200 times in the country’s history the U.S. Supreme Court has issued a ruling that either directly or indirectly changed a precedent that had been set by the Supreme Court previously.
However, we could find no examples where a specific court overturned a ruling that the same nine members had previously made.
License plate fees
Q: Does the money we spend on license plates in Iowa go for road repairs in Iowa? If not, what does it go for?
A: Money collected to title and register motor vehicles in Iowa goes into the Road Use Tax Fund, except for a percentage of the fees that is collected by the county treasurers’ offices to cover the cost of providing registration and titling services.
The Road Use Tax Fund (which also includes motor vehicle fuel taxes and motor vehicle use taxes) is used primarily to pay for construction and maintenance for state, county and city roads.
However around 10 percent off the top goes for such things as Department of Transportation expenses, safety improvement program costs and other transportation program costs.
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Q: Whatever happened to the three juveniles that set the cornfields on fire last fall?
A: The three youths, each 12 years old at the time, were charged with various counts of arson, criminal mischief and interference with official acts for allegedly starting a fire that ultimately scorched about 50 acres in fields south of Mason City in October 2011.
The results of juvenile court proceedings are generally not open to the public.
Ad minutes per hour
Q: How much time is allowed per hour for commercials on television? Has it increased recently?
A: The Federal Communication Commission through the Children’s Television Act restricts the amount of advertising that can be shown in programs aimed at children age 12 and under.
The FCC’s rules limit commercials to 10.5 minutes per hour on weekends and 12 minutes per hour on weekdays.
There are no such limits on programming aimed at adults. It is up to each broadcaster or cable television station to decide how much advertising viewers will be willing to put up with before they change the channel.
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