Civil Rights

Inmates file suit after state orders them back to prison from COVID-19 release

BY: - August 9, 2022

Two inmates within the Minnesota correctional system filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the state’s Department of Corrections, seeking to stop the agency from ordering 18 inmates back into prison.  During the pandemic, the DOC released 158 inmates because of their susceptibility to COVID-19 due to underlying health conditions, through a conditional medical release program, which […]

Members of U.S. Senate committee consider bipartisan changes to Electoral Count Act

BY: - August 3, 2022

WASHINGTON — Lawmakers and legal experts at a U.S. Senate hearing on Wednesday outlined the need to pass legislation clarifying an archaic election law so that the peaceful transfer of presidential power is ensured. The Electoral Count Reform and Presidential Transition Improvement Act, a bipartisan bill being pushed by 16 senators, was proposed after the […]

Election officials at U.S. Senate hearing describe threats, spread of misinformation

BY: - August 3, 2022

WASHINGTON — Democrats on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday explored how to combat violent threats lodged against election officials, while Republicans questioned why the Department of Justice isn’t doing more to investigate threats against crisis pregnancy centers and Supreme Court justices. During a hearing on protecting election officials, Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Polite […]

Biden to sign order on out-of-state abortion access

BY: - August 3, 2022

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden will sign an executive order Wednesday that aims to help pregnant patients cover the cost of travel to access abortion health care, a senior administrative official said. The executive order does not protect access to abortion, which was overturned in late June by the conservative majority of the Supreme Court […]

Experts warn of election ‘havoc’ across the U.S. if North Carolina case succeeds

BY: - July 28, 2022

WASHINGTON —  Legal experts on Thursday warned lawmakers on the U.S. House Administration Committee that if the U.S. Supreme Court upholds a North Carolina case that embraces a fringe election theory, it would undermine future elections across the country. “To be blunt, it would be extraordinary destabilizing,” said Carolyn Shapiro, a law professor at the […]

GOP support for same-sex marriage protections builds in U.S. Senate

BY: - July 27, 2022

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate appears on track to send President Joe Biden a bill in the coming weeks that would guarantee same-sex and interracial couples can marry, even if the Supreme Court overturns the landmark cases that enshrined those rights.  “I think we’re very close,” Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins said Tuesday of efforts […]

Voting sign in 4 languages

Election administration explained: Reconciliation

BY: - July 27, 2022

This is part of an occasional series on election administration. Read part 1, “Who does what?” Part 2, “Who can vote in Minnesota?” Part 3: “How and why polling places are computerized.” Part 4: “How absentee voting works.”  Election workers count. Not just in the figurative sense of mattering, but in the literal sense of one, two, three. […]

‘Defund the police’ slogan and anti-cop violence debated at U.S. Senate hearing

BY: - July 26, 2022

Republicans on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee and law enforcement witnesses at a Tuesday hearing blamed recent violence against officers on anti-police rhetoric, while Democrats distanced themselves from the “defund the police” slogan and said an oversupply of guns made law enforcement jobs more dangerous. Republicans on the panel raised complaints about general attitudes toward […]

Tyson asks U.S. Supreme Court to shield it from COVID-19 lawsuits in Iowa courts

BY: - July 26, 2022

Faced with court rulings that say a Trump administration directive doesn’t protect Tyson Foods from liability caused by workers’ deaths due to COVID-19, the food giant is now asking the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh in on the matter. Arguing that recent court rulings against the company will have “drastic consequences for the next national […]

Appellate court sides with unions in dispute over refund of fees

BY: - July 25, 2022

By winning the case, the unions  prevented a wave of nonunion workers seeking refunds for pre-Janus fair share fees, which could have put a strain on public sector union finances.

State elections officials struggle with paper shortages, harassment, insider threats

BY: - July 22, 2022

MADISON, Wis. — Elections officials from 33 states, gathered for a conference under tight security, warned that the next few election cycles will be affected by paper shortages and the potential for threats from inside elections offices. The meeting of the National Association of State Elections Directors this week was held with stringent security precautions, […]

State: Prosecutors not handing over key material to defense attorneys

BY: - July 20, 2022

A recent state Human Rights Department report said Minneapolis and Hennepin County prosecutors do not turn over negative information about police officers that could be helpful to the defense, despite a constitutional requirement to do so.