a sideview of Rep. Mark Pocan as he speaks into a microphone at a podium

National museum of LGBTQI+ history and culture proposed by Wisconsin congressman

BY: - November 6, 2023

WASHINGTON — Proposed federal legislation could add LGBTQI+ history and culture to the Smithsonian Institution’s museum tapestry. U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, a Wisconsin Democrat, introduced two bills in late October that would begin the process of creating a National Museum of American LGBTQI+ History and Culture. Both bills would need to be signed into law […]

A rainbow flag

In scrapping its LGBTQ-related travel ban, California pivots to ‘hearts and minds’

BY: - October 3, 2023

In September, Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom officially repealed California’s 2016 ban on state-funded travel to states with laws targeting LGBTQ+ people. The idea behind the ban — which applied to bureaucrats, lawmakers, academics and even college athletes — was to use California’s economic heft to dissuade other states from enacting such laws. By that metric, […]

a sign outside Wisconsin's Columbia Correctional Institution

Stifling prison heat used to be just a Southern problem. Not anymore.

BY: - August 15, 2023

While sweltering heat in prisons without air conditioning has long been an issue in the South, (see NC Newsline’s August 14 “Monday numbers” report) extreme heat waves worsened by climate change are expanding the problem into Northern states. In recent years, Michigan, Minnesota, South Dakota, Washington and Wisconsin have seen extreme heat in prisons. Many […]

a stack of books that have been banned from classrooms

School districts struggle to implement new laws on sexually explicit books

BY: - June 14, 2023

RICHMOND, Va. — Although a new Virginia law requires schools to inform parents when sexually explicit materials are used in the classroom, some districts are using that law as the basis to go further and remove certain books from schools altogether. Book ban requests across the state often have cited the Virginia law, which was signed last year by Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin. […]

The NC Legislative Building

ACLU sues over new state law it says puts peaceful protestors in danger of prosecution

BY: - April 11, 2023

The ACLU of North Carolina filed a federal lawsuit against a new state law that is supposed to curb rioting, saying provisions give police discretion to arrest nonviolent protesters.  The law violates both the U.S. and state constitutions and includes provisions that a federal court previously found to be unconstitutional, the ACLU said in a […]

States criticized for spending federal relief funds on tax cuts, prisons

BY: - February 2, 2023

As states plan how they’ll spend the $25 billion remaining in federal COVID relief funds, some also are facing criticism and renewed scrutiny over how they allocated money already received from the American Rescue Plan Act. Of the $198 billion authorized by Congress in 2021, $173 billion already has been appropriated by states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Much of the money went — as it was intended — to deal with the COVID-19 public health emergency...

Are NC district attorneys a roadblock to needed criminal justice reform?

BY: - June 9, 2021

Lawmakers, civil rights groups and researchers say DAs often thwart necessary change Jim Woodall made a promise to the family of Eve Carson, the UNC-Chapel Hill student body president who was murdered in 2008. Laurence Alvin Lovette Jr., 17 years old at the time, was convicted of first-degree murder for killing Carson after a robbery attempt.

“Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act” advances, setting up veto fight

BY: - May 11, 2021

An abortion-related bill is on its way to the Senate floor this week — and likely headed for a veto. Senate Bill 405, the “Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act,” was reported favorably out of the Senate Rules committee Monday night. Under the measure, doctors who fail to provide care for an infant born after a […]

Senate committee revives previously vetoed proposal to mandate sheriffs’ cooperation with ICE

BY: - March 9, 2021

Black sheriffs from state’s largest counties renew their opposition Despite drawing sharp criticism from sheriffs and community members, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill today that would remove the discretion of local sheriffs when it comes to cooperation with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The most current version of Senate Bill 101 would require […]

Youth Justice Project seeks racial reform in use of suspensions, school resource officers in Durham

BY: - January 14, 2021

Nicholas Brown, a junior at Jordan High School in Durham, has had the uncomfortable experience of being followed to class by School Resource Officers hired by the district who are supposed to make students and staff feel safe.  Brown, 16, wasn’t doing anything wrong, just moving from one class to another to attend a study session or to take a teacher-approved restroom break. 

Immigration advocates push Biden to not just bring back DACA but to expand it

BY: - November 30, 2020

Dreamers looking for bold action from a new administration President-elect Joe Biden said last week he would send to the U.S. Senate a bill that would lay out a path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented people living in the United States within his first 100 days in office. In the interview with NBC’s Lester Holt, Biden built on an early promise to reinstate an Obama-era program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA...

NC prison termed “deadliest of all federal facilities” for COVID-19 in new lawsuit

BY: - October 27, 2020

With the aid of a major international law firm, a pair of civil rights organizations sought immediate assistance today for inmates endangered by the COVID-19 pandemic at a North Carolina federal prison. As the release below from the ACLU of North Carolina spells out, the plaintiffs say the federal prison complex in Butner has become […]