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The ACLU of Utah Activist

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VICTORY! Court Tells Utah: Put BOTH Mothers on Birth Certificate...NOW.

16 July 2015 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
On July 15, just two-and-a-half weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark ruling on same-sex marriage, LOVE WON AGAIN in Utah!

As Our Addiction to Incarceration Gets Worse, More Utahns Will Struggle to Find a Place to Live

01 July 2015 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
What does it mean, to “pay your debt to society” after committing a crime?

June 26th: A Historic Day for Equality

29 June 2015 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
Today the Court determined our constitutional guarantees of due process and equal protection prohibit states from excluding same-sex couples from marriage.

Love Wins!

26 June 2015 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
“Words cannot express the happiness we feel in response to the Supreme Court Decision.” ACLU of Utah Plaintiffs Mrs. & Mrs. Roe

ACLU Action on Law Enforcement Abuse of Power

17 June 2015 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
Last Saturday, a committed community activists came together in a sunny multi-purpose room to discuss a not-so-sunny subject: the killing of community members by law enforcement officers.

You may have the RIGHT to an attorney...but in Utah, does it matter?

09 June 2015 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
"Any adult Utahn who watched any television growing up probably knows these words by heart: ‘You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you.’"

Do We NEED to Move the Prison? Wrong Question.

26 May 2015 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
So, if you haven’t heard the news, the ACLU of Utah is supportive of the prison relocation. Well, not EXACTLY.

Pot, People and Prison Relocation: Updates from the Criminal Justice World

20 May 2015 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
The ACLU of Utah works on criminal justice issues all up and down what we call the "criminal justice pipeline" - everything from law enforcement tactics and discipline in school to prison/jail conditions and felon discrimination. That's a lot of work. And it's also a lot of news to pass along to our supporters, allies and partners. So here goes!

Medical Cannabis: It's time, Utah.

20 May 2015 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
Last year, Sen. Mark Madsen’s bill to legalize the use of medical cannabis nearly passed through the Utah Senate – and he has every intention of trying again in 2016. The ACLU of Utah agrees that NOW is the time to allow legal access to medical cannabis to people who are ill and wish to use this particular drug regimen if works for them.

Prison Relocation "Open Houses" for the Public

05 May 2015 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
The Prison Relocation Commission recently announced a series of "Open Houses" in various locations for members of the public to learn more, and ask questions, about the relocation of the primary Utah State Prison facility currently in Draper, Utah.

It's April: What's New with the Prison Relocation?

05 May 2015 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
Plenty has been happening...so let's dive right in with some news on the prison relocation.  Has the New Prison Relocation/Development Commission Started to Meet Publicly? No.  No meeting set yet for the Prison Development (formerly Relocation) Commission. The last official public news was that the same five sites are still up for consideration - as presented in the February 27 PRC meeting - and that there is NO official ranking of those sites. The full presentation by MGT of America from that meeting is posted at the bottom of this post for your information. Does Any CONVENIENTLY Located City Want the Prison? Also No.

Wrapping up the Legislative Session: Criminal Justice "odds & ends"

08 April 2015 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
Here it is, friends, your final installment of select(ed) information from the 2015 legislative session, related to criminal justice reform.

Criminal Justice Re-cap of 2015 Session: Part 3!

24 March 2015 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
Almost there, friends, almost there. This is the 3rd of 4 installments, updating you about mostly good (but some not-so-good) stuff that happened in the area of criminal justice reform during the legislative session. 

Criminal Justice Re-cap of 2015 Session: Part 1!

20 March 2015 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
Going through my notes from the legislative session, I am thrilled to report that there was a TON of progress (and, in a few cases, a little backsliding) in many areas of criminal justice reform.

Criminal Justice Re-cap of 2015 Session: Part 2!

20 March 2015 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
As promised, we re-visit the Legislative Session again today for more news on exciting progress (and some regression, as is the nature of things) in Utah's criminal justice system! 

And all we're talking about is the firing squad?

11 March 2015 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
Besides the firing squad, the prison relocation conversation keeps the spotlight squarely trained on what happens behind bars in Utah - and that is a GOOD thing!

Wait a minute! That's not the reform we approved...

03 March 2015 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
You may have heard, Rep. Eric Hutchings' criminal justice reform bill - HB 348, "Criminal Justice Programs and Amendments" passed its latest hurdle (House committee hearing) with flying colors!

Top 10 Reasons to Support the ACLU of Utah

23 February 2015 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
Reason #10: Defending the Impoverished   Being poor shouldn’t mean that you are at a disadvantage when facing criminal charges, but too often, it does.  The system for providing criminal defense to people who can’t afford a lawyer in Utah is fundamentally flawed, and county-by-county we fall short of what the Constitution requires. We fight for a well-designed and well-funded system of indigent defense in Utah, just as the Constitution of the United States requires. Reason #9: Pushing for Criminal Justice Reform Over 2.3 million people are in American prisons – over half of these for nonviolent crimes. The ACLU of Utah is working on the front lines of criminal justice reform that will dramatically decrease unnecessary incarceration, diminishing the tremendous human cost and financial cost to society. Reason #8: Expanding the Right to Vote for All The ACLU of Utah has worked tirelessly at the Utah State Legislature to protect voting rights in Utah. Last year, we successfully passed legislation establishing a pilot program for election-day registration in counties representing 74% of Utah’s population. We will continue our work to ensure that the right to vote is only expanded and never curtailed. Reason #7: Protecting our Privacy The ACLU…

It’s Time for True Non-Discrimination Protection For All Utahns

23 February 2015 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
Recently, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced that it would support efforts to increase protections for members of the LGBT community in areas such as employment and housing.  This is an important step forward in recognizing that our laws need to ensure that all people- regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity- are treated fairly and protected by the law.

ACLU of Utah Critical of Utah’s Acting As Plaintiff in Lawsuit Seeking to Overturn Relief for Immigrants

23 February 2015 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
This article was first published in the Liberty Reporter: 2015 Winter Newsletter >> The ACLU of Utah is extremely disappointed that the name of the State of Utah has been lent as a plaintiff to a lawsuit that seeks the deportation of “Dreamers” and the parents of United States citizens and legal permanent residents.  Specifically, the suit seeks to force an end to programs known as DACA, which grants relief to certain immigrants who arrived to the United States as children, and DAPA, which grants relief to immigrant parents of United States citizens and legal permanent residents.   The decision for Utah to join this lawsuit directly contradicts the spirit of the Utah Compact and fails to live up to our shared Utah values that treasure children and family togetherness.  In the Utah Compact, signed in 2010, hundreds of community, business and religious leaders committed to several guiding principles in approaching immigration issues, including:  Families: Stating opposition to policies that unnecessarily separate families. Economy: Recognition of the economic role of immigrants. Advocates support of free market policies to maximize individual freedom and opportunity. A Free Society: Recognition that immigrants are part of society. States the need for a “humane approach…