Friday, August 21, 2009

News roundup: tickets for cursing, public financing for judges, AG says no on DP benefits case and more

A news roundup from the week – good civil liberties articles and issues you don’t want to miss!

Free Speech
The Kenosha News picked up the story about a proposal to allow police to ticket the use of curse words against them.

And there was more coverage of the case of the man in Crivitz who flew his flag upside down. The flag pole got knocked down by angry residents. But then supporters helped to fix it. There was more coverage on NBC 15 and on WBAY-TV.

Fair Elections
The Impartial Justice bill got approval from the state Senate this week, making it one more step closer to becoming law. While public financing of campaigns is often controversial, the big money that influences state Supreme Court elections has made the past few competitive judicial seat races a cause for concern. If judges are to remain impartial, so should their sponsorship. See more about the issue on the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign website.

Lesbian and Gay Rights
Attorney General JB Van Hollen won’t represent the state in the Wisconsin Family Action challenge to the domestic partnership registry. This just means that the governor’s office will hire its own attorneys (special council). Probably will be pricey just to prove that a partnership registry with a handful of benefits isn’t anything even substantially similar to marriage.

Racial Disparity and Public Schools
Here’s a good article that explains “open enrollment” trends in Madison area schools. Open enrollment allows students to transfer to other schools if they are dissatisfied with their district. Civil rights advocates say that open enrollment leads to greater racial segregation and an erosion of Brown v. Board of Education. A quickly increasing number of students living in poverty is cited among violence and negative peer pressure as reasons to switch.

Event: Wisconsin Books to Prisoners Book Sale
Sat. Aug. 29th 12:00 Noon - 5:00 pm Orton Park Festival - near the corner of Rutledge and Few. Wisconsin Books To Prisoners Book Sale! Drop off your donated books and look over our fine collection of reading materials! All proceeds will go towards postage to send new books to those who are eager to read within the WI prison system. WI Books to Prisoners is a project of Rainbow Bookstore. For more details contact Rainbow Books (608) 257-6050.