Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Civil Liberties news in review - 12/12/07

Lots of action in the news today! Check out the stories below, especially the news on Compassionate Care for Rape Victims and the nearly-over controversy on holiday tree naming.

Wisconsin Policy Institute study shows high anti-immigrant attitudes by Wisconsin residents

The study, which made headlines this week, shows a strong anti-immigrant sentiment among those polled. While the news reported that the polling results showed that respondents did not want immigrant kids in local public schools or getting in-state tuition rates in the UW system, a closer look at the polling results shows that the questions had a strong anti-immigrant bias (see page 5). The Wisconsin Policy Institute describes itself as a nonprofit institute established in 1987 to study public policy issues affecting the state of Wisconsin. It also describes itself as Wisconsin's Free Market Think Tank.

What would happen if Wisconsin residents were asked if all children residing in the State of Wisconsin have a right to an education? What if they were asked if all drivers should be required to have drivers' licenses, regardless of their residency status, in order to ensure safety on our roads? What if they were asked if the current policy of the UW System to allow people who want to qualify for in-state residency tuition rates is fair (read the policy - it is pretty inclusive already)? Questions of residents about these attitudes about "illegal immigrants" would surely reflect more humanitarian ideas among residents in Wisconsin.

Law Enforcement
ACLU of Wisconsin in the news - Badger Herald article on police misconduct reports

Read more about the low-level of police misconduct complaints and why everyone needs to be informed about their rights.

Reproductive Rights
Compassionate Care for Rape Victims passes, but stalls on final reading until next month

Assembly Stalls on EC in ER bill. The Republican-controlled Assembly denied the bill a final reading last night, but the bill did pass 56 to 41.

Find out how your Assembly representative voted (PDF).

Read the articles in the Wisconsin State Journal, the Badger Herald, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and the Daily Cardinal.

Read the feedback from NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin (PDF).

Separation of Church and State
State Assembly passes "Christmas" tree resolution

Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker says it won't see action in the Senate. Decker would make a great goalie - thanks for the block!

See how your legislator voted.

Channel 3000 posted an announcement about the vote. There's a forum section too if you'd like to express yourself, especially to assertions that those who oppose Christmas trees in the Rotunda would also oppose displays on private property. An opinion was also written in the Daily Cardinal, along with a poll on what the tree should be called

You can also read in the Isthmus how a local songwriter has re-written some carol lyrics in honor of the tree name. Bill Leuders also points out that Bill O'Reilly poked at Madison again last week and called our town a "secular progressive heaven."* Is that better than communing with Satan? On a related note, here's a classic anti-ACLU clip from Bill's show in 2005 that pretty much sums up his take on this new holiday tradition as he interviewed his coiffed guest, John Gibson about Gibson's "war on Christmas" book. Watch the clip on the Media Matters site.

Of course we could be like the Green Bay City Hall. If the picture on the WMTV website homepage is of the actual nativity scene, it begs the question of who should be more offended: non-Christians of the unconstitutional display or Christians of the tacky plastic rendition of their central religious figure.

Sex Offender Registry
Interesting article in the Appleton Post-Crescent that illustrates how limiting the places where sex-offenders can live, while well-intended, actually could drive them underground and lie about where they reside. Article also points out the role of rehabilitation and reconciliation of sex offenses as they are more likely to be made by family members or friends rather than the "stranger danger" that fuels paranoia and politicians' motivations to pass such "tough on crime" laws.

Student Rights and Military Recruitment
Local anti-recruitment activists demanded that the school board put the military ad on a board meeting agenda last night.

From the Cap Times article: "Also appearing before the board were more than a half-dozen citizens who have been protesting military recruitment tactics in city high schools.

They have encouraged parents and students to sign opt-out forms so that the schools do not have to provide names and addresses of students to the military, as required by law. And they vigorously oppose the district's willingness to accept money from the military for advertising in high school gymnasiums and stadiums."

Visit the ACLU of Wisconsin's resource page regarding student rights and military recruitment.

More cameras in schools plus "behavior coaches" to teach kids how to keep in line

Story on WKOW includes video. Another story was posted on the Channel 3000 website.

* post corrected on 12/13/07. Thanks for the catch Tyler! Hope this update makes the reference more clear to readers.