The ACLU of Utah Activist
This article was first published in the Liberty Reporter: 2016 Spring Newsletter >> Dear ACLU of Utah supporters: Greetings! My name is Michael Weinholtz and I am honored to serve as the board president of the ACLU of Utah. I assumed this role in January, after serving on the board of directors for two years. I am the former CEO and current Chairman of CHG Healthcare Services. CHG is the largest physician-staffing company in the United States, but is equally known as a business that focuses on making a positive difference in the world through community service, medical missions, and philanthropy. My family and I moved to Salt Lake City for this business opportunity with CHG nearly 20 years ago; and we have fondly called Utah home ever since. My wife, Donna, and I are long-time members of the ACLU and committed advocates for civil rights and liberties. As someone who has led teams and organizations for over 30 years, I have been extremely impressed and inspired by the job that Karen McCreary, our executive director, has done in building an outstanding staff and affiliate. Over the last ten years, Karen has raised the profile of the ACLU of Utah…
It's been a hard fight, but death penalty repeal is making progress in the Utah legislature! We have one last chance to keep the momentum building and abolish the death penalty in Utah.
To power us all through the final week of the Legislative Session, here are some tidbits of GOOD news for our allies, supporters and friends: great bills that have been moving!
If you oppose the use of capitol punishment in Utah, now is the time to take action!
TAKE ACTION: The death penalty is expensive, ineffective and unconstitutional. It's time for REPEAL.
Grabbing the most headlines last week was the LDS Church’s statement on SB107, which suggested that the hate crimes law update would “alter the balance” achieved in last year’s anti-discrimination legislation.
Community activists and advocates have been asking a lot about the TWO bills related to police body-mounted cameras, both being considered by the legislature during this 2016 session: Rep. Dan McCay’s HB300 and Sen. Dan Thatcher’s SB94.
Last week, Senator Todd Weiler's legislation to address Utah's indigent defense crisis finally became public. SB155, "Indigent Defense Commission," is not a bad bill...but it's nowhere near robust enough to address the fact that every day, Utahns appearing in district and justice courts throughout the state, are being deprived of their Sixth Amendment right to legal counsel.
First, the bad news.
So far, medical cannabis and workplace breastfeeding have stolen the spotlight at the Capitol this year, but that's certainly not all that's happening during the 2016 Session.
Utah's criminal justice system is fraught with subterfuge and injustice, from arrest and the judicial process to corrections and the actual sentencing/parole authority.
TAKE ACTION: The death penalty is expensive, ineffective and unconstitutional. Why would we do MORE of it?
Medical cannabis...increasingly long prison stays for Utah inmates...your right to an attorney...oh my!
The 2016 legislative session kicked off yesterday with much ceremony and anticipation, with several controversial issues – medical cannabis, defunding Planned Parenthood and equality in the workplace for Utah’s working moms – receiving attention well in advance of the opening day ceremonies.
The Sixth Amendment guarantees legal counsel to all people who are facing possible jail time on criminal charges, regardless of whether they can afford an attorney. But there’s no question that for many people in Utah there might as well not be a Sixth Amendment at all.