Proposition 25 would end cash bail in California. Is the replacement any better?
SAN JOSE, Calif. — When the push to eliminate California’s cash bail system began in the state Legislature several years ago, the battle lines were clearly drawn.On one side were civil rights groups and criminal justice reform advocates arguing that cash bail is unjust because it allows wealthy defendants to buy their way out of jail as they await trial, while poor defendants who are unable to post bond — disproportionately Black and Latinx — wind up stuck behind bars. On the other side, advocates for tougher criminal penalties, as well as the bail bonds industry, insisted looser bail rules co...
The Mercury News
900,000 Florida felons won't be voting for president because of court fines, fees
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida continues to lead the nation in the number of people unable to vote because of a felony conviction, despite the passage of a landmark 2018 constitutional amendment meant to restore their access to the ballot box, according to a study released Wednesday by a national nonprofit.Nearly 900,000 Floridians with felony convictions are unable to vote because of a law signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis last year that required them to pay all court fees fines or restitution before voting, according to the study. The report was released by the Sentencing Project, a nonprofit that ad...
Biggest backer of legal marijuana in NJ is a company best known for battling weeds
Who’s funding the effort to legalize cannabis for recreational use in New Jersey?It’s not the Big Marijuana companies.The largest contributor to the Garden State’s legalization drive is a lawn care company: Scotts Miracle-Gro, a firm best-known for grass seed, turf builder and battling weeds.The second largest backer is the American Civil Liberties Union of N.J.Scott’s has ponied up more than $800,000 so far to promote the ballot measure that would approve a constitutional amendment to legalize marijuana for adult use, according to a report issued Wednesday by the New Jersey Election Law Enfor...
The Philadelphia Inquirer
'Two sides to it': Workers and businesses at odds when it comes to Amendment 2
Here are some of the things that Odeimy Melendres would do if she earned $15 an hour: keep a savings account, go to a nice restaurant once in a while, and pay for needed medication her insurance doesn’t cover.For now, as a University of Miami janitor making $11.15 hourly, she lives month-to-month. Though Melendres is not yet a citizen and can’t vote, Wednesday she and about two dozen others rallied on Calle Ocho in favor of Amendment 2, a ballot initiative that would raise the minimum wage in Florida to $15 an hour.In November Floridians will decide whether to change the constitution and scrap...
Michigan AG announces criminal investigation of group seeking repeal of Whitmer powers
LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is launching a criminal investigation into Unlock Michigan, the committee collecting signatures to repeal an emergency powers law Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is using to address the coronavirus pandemic, Nessel said Monday.Nessel’s announcement follows a series of Detroit Free Press articles about questionable tactics employed by paid signature collectors working on the Unlock Michigan campaign.“Our ballot initiative process allows efforts with strong public support to be presented to the Legislature,” Nessel said in a news release. “But that pr...
Detroit Free Press
California passes first-in-nation plastics recycling law
In a move aimed at reducing huge amounts of plastic litter in the oceans, along roadways and other parts of the state, California Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed a first-in-the-nation law requiring plastic beverage containers to contain an increasing amount of recycled material.Under it, companies that produce everything from sports drinks to soda to bottled water must use 15% recycled plastic in their bottles by 2022, 25% recycled plastic by 2025, and 50% recycled plastic by 2030.Supporters of the new law say it will help increase demand for recycled plastic, curb litter and reduce consumption o...
The Mercury News
Fair tax or tax hike? Voters set to decide what could be Illinois' biggest taxation shift in decades
CHICAGO — Before Illinois voters consider any candidate on the Nov. 3 ballot — the presidential contenders, a member of Congress, a state lawmaker or a local judge — they will be asked to cast a simple yes or no vote on what could become the biggest change in state taxation in decades.The question at the top of the ballot is whether the Illinois Constitution should be amended to replace a mandated flat-rate income tax with a graduated-rate tax structure that increases the levy as income rises.More than any candidate being voted on, the proposed graduated-rate tax amendment represents what coul...
Proposition 16: Why some Asian Americans are on the front lines of the campaign against affirmative action
Six years ago, when California lawmakers mounted a campaign to repeal the state’s ban on affirmative action in college admissions, Chinese American opponents of the proposal flooded lawmakers with calls, emails and petitions. Their campaign, mobilized on the group messaging app WeChat and in Chinese-language media, was successful, and the constitutional amendment died in the Legislature.This year, a better-organized effort to repeal the ban has put Proposition 16 on California’s November ballot. It’s an even broader initiative that would reverse the measure approved by voters in 1996 banning a...
The Mercury News
Bill Gates Sr., civic figure and father of Microsoft co-founder, dies at 94
SEATTLE — William Gates Sr., the father of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, has died at 94, the family said Tuesday.Gates was a prominent Seattle attorney and the founding partner of one of the region’s best-known law firms. But it was his son’s fortune in the tech field that made the name “Bill Gates” known the world over. And it launched an entirely different path for the elder Gates when he was nearly 70.That’s when he became one of the guiding forces behind the William H. Gates Foundation — later renamed the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, after his son and daughter-in-law. It is one of t...
The Seattle Times
'Race does matter': Why Latino advocates are pushing for affirmative action in California
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — For the first time, Latinos represent the largest ethnic group among freshmen admitted to the University of California system this year.The milestone comes 25 years after California passed Proposition 209, which among other provisions banned consideration of race or ethnicity in public education.But Latinos affirmative action advocates say it’s not enough.“How many years, how many decades … were Latinos not given an equal opportunity?” said state Sen. Maria Elena Durazo, D-Los Angeles, who is supporting a November ballot measure that would once again allow affirmative acti...
The Sacramento Bee