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RIPR FILE

  Senior U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Lagueux ruled today that the city of Cranston violated the one person one vote Baker V. Carr standards when the city allocated the entire population of the Adult Correctional Institutions as `residents’ of one city ward when it drew district borders for the city council and school committee.

The ruling concluded that Cranston artificially inflated the population of Ward 6 by treating all inmates of the ACI as residents of the prison for redistricting purposes.

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A Providence lawmaker has withdrawn a bill that would have provided explicit protections for transgender people to use public bathrooms. State Representative Edith Ajello said the state’s current law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity provides enough protection for transgender people. 

Ajello said she came to the conclusion after speaking with local LGBT advocates, and seeing the letter from the Obama Administration directing schools to allow students to use bathrooms corresponding to their gender identity.

RIPR FILE

Transgender advocates and civil rights groups plan to urge Rhode Island to adopt a statewide policy on transgender students in public schools. Last week the federal government issued guidance that says transgender students must be allowed to use the bathroom and locker room of the gender they identify with.

The Obama administration also instructed teachers to use the name and pronoun the family prefers.

Federal Wildlife Service

Rhode Island’s New England neighbors are moving aggressively forward with legalizing marijuana. RIPR political analyst says the Ocean State shouldn’t be last to tap a new source of state money.

Whatever you think about legal marijuana, it is difficult to defend the current prohibition of the weed. 

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The American Civil Liberties Union in Rhode Island has sued Tiverton police and school officials for detaining and questioning an eight-year-old girl, allegedly without cause. The ACLU claims the student's constitutional rights were violated after she was falsely accused of bringing chemicals on a school bus in 2014.

According to ACLU attorneys, the incident began when one student claimed that two other girls were carrying chemicals in their backpacks. Police and school officials were notified and searched the students' bags, but no chemicals were found.

The Rhode Island American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit to stop new residency restrictions for sex offenders in the state. As Rhode Island Public Radio’s John Bender reports, the new law requires level three sex offenders to live at least 1,000 feet from a school.

Previously some sex offenders were prohibited from living 300 feet from schools. The new law is an increase of 700 feet.

The ACLU says the law is unconstitutional because it retroactively punishes offenders who have already completed their prison sentences.

Stockmonkeys.com

People who are in recovery from addiction or mental illness might be open to sharing their story with anyone who asks. Or they might not. There's still enough stigma and misunderstanding about the disease of addiction that keeping it private might feel safer.

The ADA for Addiction And Mental Illness
Just in case, though, there's the Americans with Disabilities Act. It protects people who are in recovery from or treatment for addiction or mental illness from being excluded from certain opportunities or having to disclose private health information.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

On the 50th anniversary of the country’s landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965 the American Civil Liberties Union says the Ocean State still has work to do.

The Rhode Island chapter of the ACLU says Rhode Island should do away with a voter ID law, which requires photo identification for voting. Ostensibly aimed at voter-fraud, the ACLU says it mostly keeps those without IDs away from the polls… according to the ACLU that’s disproportionately minorities, disabled and low income voters.

John Bender / RIPR

The American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island has filed a free speech lawsuit against the city of Providence.  The suit follows the arrest of a local musician.

 

62-year-old Manuel Pombo has been performing on the streets of Providence for the last 30 years. Pombo says he’s had a several run-ins with police, and in 2013 he was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct. Those charges were later dropped.

Elisabeth Harrison

The Rhode Island Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is again raising alarms bells about racial disparities in school suspensions. The group has released a new report citing little improvement in the 2013-2014 school year.  

According to the study, one out of every six black male students got suspended from a Rhode Island public school during the 2013-2014 school year,

The reports finds that statewide, suspension rates declined for white students but hit their highest level in a decade for Black, Hispanic and Native American students.

RIPR FILE

Rhode Island has a religious freedom law that bears some similarity to an Indiana proposal, that is now raising controversy around the country. Rhode Island’s law drew little criticism when it passed more than 20 years ago.

Rhode Island ACLU director Steve Brown said Rhode Island’s religious freedom law was passed with broad support in the early 1990s. Brown said the law was a response to a US Supreme Court decision denying the right of Native Americans to use peyote in religious ceremonies.

The U.S. Court of Appeals in Boston Thursday will hear a case out of Rhode Island. It involves the 2009 detainment of a North Providence woman.  The Rhode Island chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union says the woman was a naturalized citizen at the time.

Ada Morales sued federal immigration officials and Rhode Island’s head of prisons, claiming she was detained illegally when she was taken into custody and held for a day. Rhode Island ACLU Director Steve Brown said the detainment violated her rights to equal protection and freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR FILE

The Rhode Island chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is filing a lawsuit against the Providence Police Department.  The ACLU says the department violated the rights of two protesters outside a campaign fundraiser for Gina Raimondo.

Last year Shannah Kurland was arrested for refusing to move during a protest at Roger Williams Park against then-gubernatorial candidate Gina Raimondo.  Kurland said she was moved so far away from the event, more than 250 feet, that her protest was ineffectual; violating her rights to free speech and public demonstration.

A University of Rhode Island student has sued a Rhode Island textile company for denying her an internship. The suit claims discrimination based on the student’s status as a medical marijuana cardholder.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island is accusing the Department of Motor Vehicles of sharing personal information with a federal anti-terrorism database.

The ACLU says a document that appears to be leaked from the National Counter Terrorism Center shows Rhode Island is one of 15 states that shared driver’s license data with the organization.  In 2013 the center collected more than 2,400 facial images from driver’s licenses from across the country.

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