RI ACLU

Blink a few times and fall will be here before we know it -- right? -- so enjoy summer while you can. Meanwhile, thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. As usual, your tips and comments are welcome, and you can follow me through the week on the twitters. Here we go.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

A lawsuit filed by the Rhode Island chapter of the ACLU charges that the Pawtucket Police Department is violating the state's open records law by choosing not to release internal affairs reports on officer-initiated complaints.

Providence Police Department

 

Steve Brown, executive director of Rhode Island's American Civil Liberties Union, joins Bonus Q&A this week. He discussed a range of topics, including racial profiling, reproductive rights & more.  

Elisabeth Harrison

The Rhode Island Senate is considering legislation that would eliminate life sentences without possibility of parole for minors.

"Long sentences on a person that’s under 18 constitutes, in our view, and in the view of the Supreme Court and many other ACLU affiliates, as unusual punishment and violates basic human rights standards," said Marcela Betancur, a spokeswoman for the Rhode Island American Civil Liberties Union.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

The Rhode Island Superior Court is slated to hear a case involving alleged discrimination against a prospective employee who used medical marijuana. The Rhode Island ACLU is claiming the employer tried to shut out a worker with a disability.

Wikimedia Commons

Under Obama administration guidance gender nonconforming students were allowed to use bathrooms and changing facilities that corresponded to the gender with which they identified. Last week the Trump administration rescinded the protections, leaving the decisions to states. In the days following, Rhode Island lawmakers, educators, and advocates have voiced their opposition to the rollback.

RI ACLU Files FOIA Over Travel Ban Implementation

Feb 2, 2017
RI ACLU

The Rhode Island ACLU is demanding details from U.S. Customs and Border officials on how they are handling President Donald Trump’s travel ban. The move is a coordinated freedom of information request with multiple states.

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.

WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

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. 

Rosaline Stock/Creative Commons License

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.

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