October 22, 2020 | Individual Liberties
Indiana governor faces debate challenges over virus actions
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb took on the conservative criticism over his coronavirus pandemic orders as he faced his two reelection challengers in a televised debate Tuesday night.
Holcomb, a Republican, also faced arguments from Democratic candidate Woody Myers that he’s been too passive in the state’s recent response as Indiana’s has seen steep increases in coronavirus-related deaths, infections and hospitalizations in the time since Holcomb last month lifted nearly all of coronavirus restrictions on businesses and crowd sizes...
October 14, 2020 | Individual Liberties
White House Blocked C.D.C. From Requiring Masks on Public Transportation
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention drafted a sweeping order last month requiring all passengers and employees to wear masks on all forms of public and commercial transportation in the United States, but it was blocked by the White House, according to two federal health officials...
September 22, 2020 | Individual Liberties
How abortion groups on both sides are mobilizing after RBG’s death
The sudden prospect of a 6-3 conservative Supreme Court majority ready to overturn Roe v. Wade is adding new urgency to anti-abortion groups’ efforts to mobilize religious voters in battleground states like North Carolina and Arizona...
September 3, 2020 | Individual Liberties
Governor eases travel quarantine order
SANTA FE – New Mexico’s 14-day quarantine mandate for most incoming travelers, one of the strictest orders of its kind in the nation, is getting a facelift.
Under a revised order issued by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham that takes effect Friday, most individuals entering New Mexico from 36 different states – including Arizona and Texas – and all foreign countries will still be subject to a revised travel quarantine order...
August 17, 2020 | Individual Liberties
Governments have collected large amounts of data to fight the coronavirus. That’s raising privacy concerns
Technology has enabled the world to respond quickly to the coronavirus pandemic — but solutions through mass data collection have also raised questions about privacy rights. Digital check-in systems, wristband trackers and mobile applications are just some examples of the surveillance technology implemented by governments to monitor and track the movement of people as they seek to stem the spread of the virus...
August 6, 2020 | Individual Liberties
Judge sides with Louisiana governor, upholds virus rules
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A Louisiana judge Thursday upheld Gov. John Bel Edwards' statewide mask mandate and bar restrictions as legal and enforceable, rejecting claims from Jefferson Parish business owners that the Democratic governor overstepped his legal authority in enacting the coronavirus rules...
July 22, 2020 | Individual Liberties
Three More Wisconsin Cities To Require Masks In Most Public Spaces
Green Bay, Racine and Superior will soon be among the cities that require masks in businesses and many other public spaces.
All three cities passed ordinances Tuesday night, hours after state health officials announced a single-day record of 1,117 new coronavirus cases.
Green Bay's Common Council approved its ordinance 7 to 5, after several hours of debate. Most of the residents who spoke to the council ahead of the vote opposed the requirement, but Alder Barbara Dorff said the ordinance makes a number of exceptions that should address their concerns...
June 29, 2020 | Individual Liberties
ASU professor says public health protection trumps civil liberties
PHOENIX — In a legal battle between protecting public health and free speech, one Arizona State University professor thinks the former would win.
Some have argued and protested against mandates enforcing masks in public, that they violate the First Amendment and civil liberties...
June 18, 2020 | Individual Liberties
An original ‘Juneteenth’ order found in the National Archives
The National Archives on Thursday located what appears to be an original handwritten “Juneteenth” military order informing thousands of people held in bondage in Texas they were free.
The decree, in the ornate handwriting of a general’s aide, was found in a formal order book stored in the Archives headquarters building in Washington. It is dated June 19, 1865, and signed by Maj. F.W. Emery, on behalf of Union Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger...
June 15, 2020 | Individual Liberties
Justices rule LGBT people protected from job discrimination
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court ruled Monday that a landmark civil rights law protects gay, lesbian and transgender people from discrimination in employment, a resounding victory for LGBT rights from a conservative court.
The court decided by a 6-3 vote that a key provision of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 known as Title VII that bars job discrimination because of sex, among other reasons, encompasses bias against LGBT workers...
May 29, 2020 | Individual Liberties
Missouri’s last abortion clinic will stay open after ruling ends contentious year-long legal battle
Missouri has narrowly avoided a return to a time before Roe v. Wade after an independent arbiter ruled that its last operating abortion clinic can continue offering the procedure.
April 17, 2020 | Individual Liberties
Not Every New Yorker is on Board with Cuomo’s Mask Mandate
NEW YORK - For many New Yorkers, wearing a face mask when out in public is something they already do voluntarily.
But when they’re jogging it’s usually mask-less...
April 10, 2020 | Individual Liberties
Apple, Google debut major effort to help people track if they’ve come in contact with coronavirus
Apple and Google unveiled an ambitious effort Friday to help combat coronavirus, introducing new tools that could soon allow owners of smartphones to know if they have crossed paths with someone infected with the disease.
The changes the two companies announced targeting iPhone and Android devices could inject valuable new technological support into contact tracing, a strategy public-health officials say is essential to allowing people to return to work and normal life while containing the spread of the pandemic...
April 7, 2020 | Individual Liberties
A ‘Liberty’ Rebellion in Idaho Threatens to Undermine Coronavirus Orders
SANDPOINT, Idaho — Inside an old factory building north of Boise, a few dozen people gathered last week to hear from Ammon Bundy, the man who once led an armed takeover of an Oregon wildlife refuge.
The meeting, which appeared to violate orders by Gov. Brad Little of Idaho to avoid group gatherings, was an assertion of what Mr. Bundy said was a constitutional right to peacefully assemble. But Mr. Bundy said he also hoped to create a network of people ready to come to the aid of those facing closure of their businesses or other interference from the government as a result of the coronavirus outbreak...
March 26, 2020 | Individual Liberties
Use of surveillance to fight coronavirus raises concerns about government power after pandemic ends
From Israel to South Korea to China, governments around the world are using technology to track the coronavirus outbreak as they race to stem its spread. But how long will it last and is this an infringement of privacy, rights groups have asked.
In China, government-installed CCTV cameras point at the apartment door of those under a 14-day quarantine to ensure they don’t leave. Drones tell people to wear their masks. Digital barcodes on mobile apps highlight the health status of individuals...
March 11, 2020 | Individual Liberties
Your legal rights in a quarantine, explained
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced on Tuesday that the state would create a “containment area” in the city of New Rochelle, hoping to contain the spread of Covid-19, the coronavirus disease. The epicenter of this area is a synagogue believed to be connected to several cases of the disease. For now, the state plans to close gathering spaces near the synagogue.
It is unclear if New York or some other state will resort to more serious measures, such as mandatory quarantines. But can the government quarantine someone against their will?
February 25, 2020 | Individual Liberties
Vaccine debate ramps up one week before vote
PORTLAND (WGME) – CBS 13 saw an incredible response from Monday night’s town hall debate on whether to keep or repeal Maine's new vaccination law.
It's a hot topic that voters will be deciding on in one week.
A "Yes" vote on Question 1 would repeal that new law, and keep religious and philosophical exemptions to vaccines.
February 21, 2020 | Individual Liberties
Florida House sends parental rights abortion bill to DeSantis
TALLAHASSEE — Following emotional debate, a divided Florida House approved a parental consent requirement Thursday for minors seeking abortion — reviving a measure declared unconstitutional 30 years ago by the state Supreme Court.
The bill (SB 404) would force girls under age 18 to get notarized approval from a parent or guardian or, otherwise, seek a hearing and gain consent from a judge before terminating a pregnancy...
January 21, 2020 | Individual Liberties
Va. Senate votes to prohibit conversion therapy, create transgender school policy, repeal gay marriage ban
A suite of LGBT-friendly legislation cleared the Virginia Senate on Tuesday...
January 23, 2020 | Individual Liberties
LGBT bills clear Virginia Senate and head to a friendly House of Delegates
RICHMOND — The Virginia Senate on Tuesday passed a host of LGBT rights bills as Democrats continued to flex their new power in the Capitol.
The Senate voted to ban conversion therapy on children, repeal the state’s now-defunct ban on same-sex marriage and establish statewide policies for the treatment of transgender students. The chamber also voted to replace “husband and wife” with gender-neutral “parties to the marriage” language in divorce law and make it easier for transgender people to change how their sex is listed on their birth certificates...
January 15, 2020 | Individual Liberties
Tennessee lawmakers OK bill allowing adoption agencies to deny gay couples
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee lawmakers passed a controversial measure this week that protects religious adoption agencies if they choose to discriminate against same-sex couples.
The bill declares that no licensed adoption agency would be required to participate in a child placement if doing so would "violate the agency's written religious or moral convictions or policies."...
January 2, 2020 | Individual Liberties
With Partial Flavor Ban, Trump Splits the Difference on Vaping
In September, President Trump, the first lady and two of his top health officials gathered in the Oval Office to announce they would take what Mr. Trump called “very, very strong” action against the fast-growing epidemic of teenage vaping: a ban on the sale of most flavored e-cigarettes...
December 11, 2019 | Individual Liberties
Mass. Just Lifted Its Ban On Vaping Product Sales. Here’s What You Need To Know
Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration lifted the emergency vaping products sales ban Wednesday during a meeting of the state's Public Health Council. That means some products will again be available for legal purchase, but the retail sale of flavored vaping liquids will remain illegal, under a recently passed state law.
Baker announced the temporary ban in September, citing a lack of information about the cause of a growing number of cases of lung illnesses and some deaths across the country and in Massachusetts. Public health officials have linked the illnesses to vaping...
November 13, 2019 | Individual Liberties
NY law raising age to buy tobacco, e-cigs goes into effect
New York has now raised the minimum age to buy tobacco and electronic cigarettes to 21 years old, from 18.
The law goes into effect Wednesday, Nov. 13.
Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the goal is to prevent addictive cigarette and vaping products from getting to young people.
November 6, 2019 | Individual Liberties
Ohio Senate passes abortion ‘reversal’ and abortion survival bills
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio Senate passed two anti-abortion bills Wednesday, including one that would require physicians to notify patients that an abortion can be reversed -- a procedure that hasn’t been scientifically proven.
The second measure, Senate Bill 208, would require physicians to preserve the life of babies who survive abortions. Critics of that bill say state law already contains such provisions and doctors who violate them face a first-degree felony charge. The law was enacted Sept. 16, 1974...
October 28, 2019 | Individual Liberties
Judge blocks suspension of Maine high school student who posted note in bathroom about ‘rapist’
A federal judge says a Maine sophomore was expressing free speech when she warned classmates about a “rapist” at school through a note in the bathroom.
U.S. District Court Judge Lance Walker has blocked a three-day suspension of 15-year-old Aela Mansmann, who was accused of “bullying” at Cape Elizabeth High School after she wrote a note that read “there’s a rapist in our school and you know who it is” and stuck it to a mirror in the women’s bathroom...
October 22, 2019 | Individual Liberties
Warren and Buttigieg Are Split on Big Tech as 2020 Presidential Race Heats Up
As Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg prepares to take the bench and testify in front of Congress on Wednesday about election security, breaking up big tech, and his proposal for a new cryptocurrency, political operatives are working hard to link up-and-coming 2020 candidate, South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, to the politically controversial figure.
Just hours after a new poll out of Iowa put Buttigieg within a margin of error of 2020 frontrunner Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), news was leaked to Bloomberg that Zuckerberg had sent several resumes to the Buttigieg campaign recommending staff hires—two of whom were brought onboard...
October 8, 2019 | Individual Liberties
‘It is still a crime’: DA explains law after teen only charged with misdemeanor after threatening to shoot up Wilmington movie theater
NEW HANOVER COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - Many reached out to WECT last week when a Wilmington teen was only charged with a misdemeanor after he allegedly made a social media post, threatening to shoot up a Wilmington movie theater.
The 16-year-old was taken into custody Friday and charged with one count of cyberstalking, according to deputies. He was released from jail after posting an unsecured $2,500 bond.
Last year, many juveniles were charged with felonies after making or sharing similar threats.
The difference? Those threats were made directly against a school.
September 25, 2019 | Individual Liberties
Maryland Health Officials Prepare For Smoking Age Increase
BALTIMORE (AP) — Maryland’s health department is reaching out to retailers to prepare them for an increase in the age when people can buy tobacco.
Starting Tuesday, the age for buying tobacco products in Maryland will increase from 18 to 21.
The law will also apply to electronic smoking devices and vaping...
September 11, 2019 | Individual Liberties
Trump administration will propose banning flavors used in e-cigarette
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Wednesday his administration will propose banning thousands of flavors used in e-cigarettes to combat a recent surge in underage vaping.
The Food and Drug Administration will develop guidelines to remove from the market all e-cigarette flavors except tobacco, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told reporters during an Oval Office appearance with the president, first lady Melania Trump and the acting FDA commissioner, Ned Sharpless...
August 21, 2019 | Individual Liberties
‘Virtual neighborhood watch’: Baltimore faith group building surveillance network with help from Amazon Ring
A coalition of religious leaders in Northwest Baltimore has secured $15,000 in slots funding to build a network of private surveillance cameras with the help of Amazon's Ring, hoping it will aid police in fighting crime without exposing residents to retaliatory violence...
August 12, 2019 | Individual Liberties
Court rules Facebook users can sue over facial recognition
(FOX NEWS) -- A federal appeals court is allowing a group of users to sue Facebook on claims the social network collected their facial data without consent.
According to Fox News, on Thursday, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit rejected Facebook's efforts to dismiss the ongoing class-action lawsuit, which could potentially require the company to pay billions in compensation...
August 2, 2019 | Individual Liberties
Homeland Security’s Civil Rights Unit Lacks Power To Protect Migrant Kids
The children's lawyer was incensed. Her two tiny clients — one of them blind — had been in a shelter for three months, separated from their mother.
The family had traveled from Mexico to the United States, reaching Nogales, Arizona, on March 1, 2018. Officials at the border found that the mother, Nadia Pulido, had "credible" reasons for seeking asylum from an ex-partner who, she says, beat her and stalked her after their relationship ended...
July 23, 2019 | Individual Liberties
Concord Coach Lines violates passengers’ rights by allowing immigration searches, ACLU says
As immigration agents in major U.S. cities have increased efforts to deport undocumented immigrants, civil rights organizations have ramped up efforts to remind private transportation organizations that complicity in such efforts violates individual civil rights...
July 2, 2019 | Individual Liberties
DNA-testing firms are lobbying to limit your right to genetic privacy
Home DNA testing can be fun. I’ve done it for myself and for my dog. One of us unexpectedly turned out to be 3.1% Italian. The other is mostly Saint Bernard.The less-fun side of the DNA-testing industry is the brave new world of genetic privacy...
June 15, 2019 | Individual Liberties
Trump throws support behind ‘no brainer’ measure to ban burning of American flag
President Trump threw his support behind a new effort to ban burning the American flag on Saturday, challenging a decades-old Supreme Court ruling that established flag burning was a protected form of speech.“All in for Senator Steve Daines as he proposes an Amendment for a strong BAN on burning our American Flag. A no brainer!” Trump tweeted Saturday morning...
May 14, 2019 | Individual Liberties
San Francisco bans facial-recognition technology
SAN FRANCISCO — On Tuesday, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors enacted the first ban by a major city on the use of facial-recognition technology by police and all other municipal agencies.The vote was 8-1 in favor, with two members who support the bill absent. There will be an obligatory second vote next week but it is seen as a formality...
April 15, 2019 | Individual Liberties
Debate on changing Colorado’s vaccine exemption process stretches into the night
Moms and their children paced the halls of Colorado’s Capitol for hours on Monday as they waited to testify about whether the state should change the way it gives vaccine exemptions to parents who claim a personal or religious objection.House Bill 1312 would require parents to visit Colorado’s Department of Public Health and Environment in person the first time they request an exemption and fill out a standardized form instead of giving a written notice of exemption to a school upon registration...
April 9, 2019 | Individual Liberties
NYC Mandates Vaccines in Measles Outbreak, Threatening Fines
A measles outbreak in the Orthodox Jewish community of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, has prompted New York City to declare a public health emergency, requiring residents to be vaccinated with the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine or face a $1,000 fine.The highly contagious and potentially deadly virus has afflicted 285 New Yorkers since October, including 246 children, almost all of them in the tightly knit Orthodox Jewish community, in one of the city’s most dense neighborhoods. Twenty-one have been hospitalized, with five requiring intensive care, said city Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot...
March 29, 2019 | Individual Liberties
Judge Blocks California’s High-Capacity Ammunition Ban
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — High-capacity gun magazines will remain legal in California under a ruling Friday by a federal judge who cited home invasions where a woman used the extra bullets in her weapon to kill an attacker while in two other cases women without additional ammunition ran out of bullets.“Individual liberty and freedom are not outmoded concepts,” San Diego-based U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez wrote as he declared unconstitutional the law that would have banned possessing any magazines holding more than 10 bullets...
March 27, 2019 | Individual Liberties
Inmates deemed ‘dead’ using century-old law in Rhode Island
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Rhode Island is one of the few places where people can still be punished with “civil death” and civil rights advocates want the century-old practice to stop.Inmates serving life in prison are deemed dead, by Rhode Island statute, with respect to property rights, the bond of matrimony and other civil rights, as if their natural death took place when they were convicted.Most civil death laws in the United States have been repealed or successfully challenged in court. Most other countries never adopted the practice.
March 12, 2019 | Individual Liberties
N.C. is a small step closer to making you put down the phone while you drive
A state House bill to ban use of hand-held cellphones and other wireless devices has cleared the first hurdle.
House Bill 144, “Hands Free NC,” was introduced Feb. 25. Among the four primary sponsors is Rep. Jon Hardister, R-Guilford. The legislation incorporates the prohibition on texting while driving that became law in 2009.
The bill cleared the House Transportation committee. The next of four House committee steps is Insurance, followed by Judiciary and then Rules and Operations. The bill, if signed, would go into effect Jan. 1...
March 5, 2019 | Individual Liberties
Arizona Legislature Mulls Bills To Weaken Vaccination Requirements
The measles outbreak in Washington state and elsewhere is prompting some states to look at tightening vaccine requirements for schoolchildren. But not in Arizona. Lawmakers there have been considering bills to make it easier for parents to get exemptions for their kids from the usual childhood vaccinations.
Supporters of the controversial bills being considered in the Arizona Capitol say they are not "anti-vaccine."...
February 26, 2019 | Individual Liberties
Tennessee lawmakers propose raising age for tobacco purchases, Van Huss calls it ‘government intrusion’
Lawmakers in Tennessee are considering whether to follow their neighbor’s example after Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam signed a bill last week to raise the age for tobacco purchases to 21. Senate Bill 1200 and House Bill 1454, recently proposed by Sen. Shane Reeves and Rep. Bob Ramsey, aim to prohibit the sale of tobacco products and e-cigarettes to those under 21. The legislation has drawn the support of the American Cancer Society, whose members described the legislation as “potentially lifesaving public health measures.”...
February 19, 2019 | Individual Liberties
Defenders of raw milk focusing on liberty more than health in Tennessee
A narrative is rapidly emerging in Tennessee against Dr. Richard Briggs bill to close the cow-share loophole that makes raw milk sales legal that otherwise would be illegal. The Tennessee Senate Commerce and Labor Committee has yet to schedule a hearing on the Briggs bill, but what lawmakers are hearing is that Senate Bill (SB) 15 pits community health against civil liberties.
Briggs, is a Republican, a cardiac surgeon and a retired U.S. Army Colonel. He represents Knoxville in the Tennessee Senate, told Ohio television station WTOL Channel 11 that the controversy his bill has caused is like “kicking a hornet’s nest.” Raw milk dairy farmers are fighting for their loophole, saying civil liberties are at stake for both producers and consumers of raw milk. They are calling opposition to the Briggs bill “a liberty issue.”...
February 5, 2019 | Individual Liberties
Marijuana legalization showdown in N.H. State House Tuesday
Supporters of marijuana legalization are expected to pour into the State House Tuesday afternoon, as a bill by Rep. Renny Cushing gets its first public hearing.
Members of the public will have a chance to weigh in on the legislation, House Bill 481, at 1 p.m. in Representatives Hall. New Hampshire is surrounded by states that have legalized cannabis; Cushing’s bill would do the same and apply a tax and regulation scheme on legal sales...
January 25, 2019 | Individual Liberties
Virginia bills would raise tobacco sales age to 21
Bipartisan bills in the Virginia House of Delegates and Virginia Senate seek to raise the age for purchasing tobacco and other nicotine products from 18 to 21 – similar to the state's liquor laws.
The bills also add “nicotine vapor products and alternative nicotine products” in the list of those that are permissible to sell in vending machines. All other aspects of the bill, including penalties for sales under the permissible age, will remain the same...
January 22, 2019 | Individual Liberties
Florida bill would ban abortions if fetal heartbeat detected
A bill filed by a Florida state lawmaker aiming to ban abortion if a fetal heartbeat is detected has led to public outcry from some progressive groups, with one advocate stating it's "among the most extreme" ever filed in the country.
House Bill 235, filed by Republican Florida state Rep. Mike Hill, would make it illegal for women to get an abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected...
January 15, 2019 | Individual Liberties
Woman argues her Fourth Amendment rights were violated: State Court of Appeals rules in case
The Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled Jan. 7 in favor of a 27-year-old Pennington woman regarding a probation condition requiring her to submit random spot check chemical testing by police.
The Court of Appeals agreed, reversing in part and remanding the Crow Wing County District Court's decision regarding Tara Marie Cournoyer on her sentencing on a controlled substance conviction. Cournoyer was sentenced to five years of supervised probation and conditions of her probation includes she is required to submit random spot-check testing at the request of any licensed peace officer, probation agent of correctional officer...
January 9, 2019 | Individual Liberties
Local delegate introduces bill to legalize marijuana in Virginia
PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) -- Portsmouth Delegate Steve Heretick didn't waste any time putting in a controversial bill that he calls the first comprehensive bill for legalizing marijuana in Virginia jistory.
Heretick says he has been an advocate for marijuana reform for the past few years -- and has introduced legislation to decriminalize marijuana in every session since 2015...
December 3, 2018 | Individual Liberties
US government interested in tracking privacy coins, new document shows
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) wants to know if it’s feasible to track transactions conducted using privacy coins…
December 3, 2018 | Individual Liberties
Senators call for data breach penalties, tougher privacy laws after Marriott hack
A slew of Democratic senators are calling for tougher privacy laws — and even steep fines for companies that fail to protect their customers’ data from data breaches — in the wake of Marriott’s admission…
December 3, 2018 | Individual Liberties
Oath agrees to $5 million settlement over children’s privacy online
Oath, the owner of AOL and Yahoo, has agreed to pay about $5 million to settle charges from the New York attorney general that the media company’s online advertising business was violating a federal children’s privacy law…
December 2, 2018 | Individual Liberties
Biden praises rule of law during speech in Las Vegas
Civil and constitutional rights are under “unrelenting attack,” former Vice President Joe Biden said during a speech Saturday at which he remembered former President George H.W. Bush as a man of class and decency…
November 13, 2018 | Individual Liberties
Boston Airbnb regulations prompt federal lawsuit
Apartment-sharing giant Airbnb has sued Boston in federal court to stop the implementation in the new year of rules regulating short-term rentals…
September 25, 2018 | Individual Liberties
Laxalt hails ruling in Elko 4th Amendment case
Can a police officer who stops someone on the street detain that person long enough to check the validity of their identification?
August 3, 2018 | Individual Liberties
COA: 4th Amendment rights not violated by search of home
The Indiana Court of Appeals determined that a man’s Fourth Amendment rights were not violated during a search of his residence because law enforcement had ample reason to believe he was at the residence…
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