Latest blog entries - ACLU of North Carolina http://www.acluofnorthcarolina.org/blog/Latest.html Mon, 22 May 2017 11:34:41 -0400 en-gb N.C. House Votes to No Longer Charge 16 and 17 Year Olds as Adults http://www.acluofnorthcarolina.org/blog/n-c-house-votes-to-no-longer-charge-16-and-17-year-olds-as-adults.html http://www.acluofnorthcarolina.org/blog/n-c-house-votes-to-no-longer-charge-16-and-17-year-olds-as-adults.html

RALEIGH — The North Carolina House of Representatives today voted 104-8 to approve a bill that would raise the age of juvenile jurisdiction to 18 for most offenses. North Carolina is the only remaining state in the nation that automatically charges all 16- and 17-year- olds as adults, regardless of the crime.

“Sending kids into the adult criminal justice system puts their safety and future at risk and harms North Carolina’s communities in countless ways,” said Susanna Birdsong, Policy Counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of North Carolina. “This bipartisan House vote is a hugely important step toward fixing this injustice that now exists only in North Carolina. We stand with a broad coalition of North Carolinians in urging the Senate and Governor Cooper to pass this much-needed measure into law and finally do the right thing for North Carolina and its young people.”

House Bill 280 – which has received support from Republican and Democratic leadership, as well as children’s advocates and law enforcement groups – would raise the age of juvenile jurisdiction for misdemeanors and low-level felonies, meaning that 16- and 17-year-olds charged with those offenses would be redirected to the state’s juvenile justice system. The bill’s language was based on a series of recommendations made by a commissioned chaired by North Carolina Chief Justice Mark Martin, who has endorsed the proposal. Senate Leader Phil Berger has also said the issue is a high priority for the state Senate.

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mmeno [AT] acluofnc [DOT] org (Mike Meno) Uncategorized Wed, 17 May 2017 15:48:45 -0400
Supreme Court Declines to Hear North Carolina Voting Case http://www.acluofnorthcarolina.org/blog/supreme-court-declines-to-hear-north-carolina-voting-case.html http://www.acluofnorthcarolina.org/blog/supreme-court-declines-to-hear-north-carolina-voting-case.html

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court has declined to review a federal appeals court decision holding that North Carolina’s 2013 election law —which imposed a voter ID requirement, cut a week of early voting, and eliminated same-day registration — intentionally discriminates against African-Americans. North Carolina has now exhausted all avenues of appeal.

The American Civil Liberties Union and Southern Coalition for Social Justice challenged the law, which was struck down by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in 2016. In early January, the state sought Supreme Court review, but the newly elected governor moved to drop the petition, prompting the legislators who passed the measure to try and intervene.

“This law, enacted with what the appeals court called discriminatory intent and ‘almost surgical precision’ targeting African-American voters, is meeting its much-deserved demise,” said Dale Ho, director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project. “An ugly chapter in voter suppression is finally closing.”

The ACLU, ACLU of North Carolina, and Southern Coalition for Social Justice represented the League of Women Voters of North Carolina, the North Carolina A. Philip Randolph Institute, North Carolina Common Cause, Unifour Onestop Collaborative, and several individuals. 

“We are grateful that the Supreme Court has decided to allow the Fourth Circuit’s ruling to stand, confirming that discrimination has no place in our democracy nor our elections,” said Allison Riggs, senior staff attorney with the Southern Coalition for Social Justice. “This ruling sends a strong message that lawmakers in North Carolina should stop enacting laws that discriminate based on race.”

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mmeno [AT] acluofnc [DOT] org (Mike Meno) Voting Rights Mon, 15 May 2017 09:45:22 -0400
N.C. Senate Passes Sweeping Anti-Immigrant Bill http://www.acluofnorthcarolina.org/blog/n-c-senate-passes-sweeping-anti-immigrant-bill-n-c-senate-passes-sweeping-anti-immigrant-bill.html http://www.acluofnorthcarolina.org/blog/n-c-senate-passes-sweeping-anti-immigrant-bill-n-c-senate-passes-sweeping-anti-immigrant-bill.html

RALEIGH — The North Carolina Senate today passed a sweeping anti-immigrant bill, SB145, that would direct state police to enforce federal immigration law, seek to punish local governments who enact their own policies related to immigration, and defund any UNC institution that limits its role in the enforcement of federal immigration law. 

“Targeting and singling out undocumented North Carolinians who work, go to school, and contribute to our communities won’t make North Carolina safer, but it will spread fear and confusion while trampling on the rights of immigrants and nonimmigrants alike,” said Sarah Gillooly, Policy Director for the ACLU of North Carolina. “Local governments and the UNC system will needlessly suffer and could be exposed to costly litigation under this misguided proposal. We urge North Carolina House members to reject this bill.”

Among its provisions, Senate Bill 145 would

  • Compel the University of North Carolina system to disclose the immigration status of students to law enforcement upon request, a practice that could violate privacy protections in the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
  • Remove the ability of local law enforcement to use local or community IDs to determine a person’s residency or identity
  • Require the N.C. Department of Public Safety to enforce federal immigration laws through the 287(g) program, turning Highway Patrol officers into immigration agents and creating the only such statewide program
  • Allow the state to withhold a range of tax revenues from local governments that choose to limit their role in the enforcement of federal immigration law.
  • Empower the Attorney General’s office to determine if a local government is in violation of state immigration laws and cut off funding for transportation and other critical projects if a jurisdiction is found in violation.
  • Allow anonymous tipsters to claim that a local government is violating immigration laws, compelling the Attorney General’s office to dedicate resources to an investigation.

 

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mmeno [AT] acluofnc [DOT] org (Mike Meno) Human Rights Wed, 26 Apr 2017 17:31:47 -0400
NCAA Awards Championship Events to North Carolina Despite Anti-LGBT Law http://www.acluofnorthcarolina.org/blog/ncaa-awards-championship-events-to-north-carolina-despite-anti-lgbt-law.html http://www.acluofnorthcarolina.org/blog/ncaa-awards-championship-events-to-north-carolina-despite-anti-lgbt-law.html

RALEIGH, N.C. — The NCAA announced today that they will be returning championship events to sites in North Carolina for the first time since the state passed sweeping anti-LGBT legislation in 2016. The original law, HB 2, was replaced last month by a new law, HB 142, which continues to discriminate against transgender people.

“North Carolina’s new law does nothing to guarantee that LGBT people will be protected from discrimination” said James Esseks, director of the ACLU’s LGBT and HIV Project. “When the NCAA originally withdrew events from North Carolina, they did so because they claimed to care about ‘fairness and inclusion’ for college athletes and fans. It’s a shame to see that those concerns have already fallen by the wayside.”

HB 142 prevents state agencies, public schools, and local governments from adopting policies ensuring that transgender people can access restrooms matching their gender. Without such protections, people cannot fully participate in public life. HB 142 also says that local governments cannot pass ordinances protecting LGBT people — or anyone else — from discrimination in employment or public places until 2020.

Earlier this month, the ACLU filed public records requests with North Carolina cities and universities seeking documentation that could demonstrate how they would guarantee a nondiscriminatory environment for LGBT people if they are selected to host NCAA events. Thus far, none of the cities or universities selected today by the NCAA have responded. 

Last week, the ACLU delivered over 77,000 petition signatures to the NCAA urging the organization to keep events out of North Carolina.

Anti-LGBT legislators have already signaled their intent to build off of the passage of HB 142 to pass laws that more explicitly target transgender people for using restrooms consistent with their gender identity.

“We have yet to see any evidence showing how the NCAA can ensure basic nondiscrimination protections for these events,” said Sarah Gillooly, policy director for the ACLU of North Carolina. “And that’s because a nondiscriminatory environment can’t exist in a state where official policy singles out transgender people and perpetuates the notion that they should not participate fully in public life.”

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mmeno [AT] acluofnc [DOT] org (Mike Meno) LGBT Rights Tue, 18 Apr 2017 12:10:53 -0400