This Week Online: Civil Liberties in the News 11/14-11/21

November 21, 2014

The ACLU of Michigan is tracking hundreds of legal cases and pieces of legislation that impact your civil liberties at any given moment, covering all concerns from free speech to government abuse. That's why we like to point out a few cases that made the news each week, to keep our members and supporters up to date on threats in your neighborhood.

Christian Nativity scene proposed for Michigan Capitol lawn; will Spaghetti Monster be next? (MLIVE)
Shelli Weisberg of the ACLU of Michigan said the civil liberties group “is fine” with the proposed Nativity so long as the state provides an “open forum” and does not reject other religious or non-religious displays.

New MI Group Aims To Pass Fully Inclusive Civil Rights Amendment (Pridesource)
A broad, bipartisan coalition of organizations, businesses, lawmakers, grassroots activists, members of the LGBT community and concerned residents from across the state have joined together to launch a new statewide grassroots campaign with one clear goal. Freedom Michigan will work to update the state's Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA) to protect Michigan citizens from discrimination.

Coalition ramps up LGBT anti-discrimination push despite long odds in Michigan lame-duck (MLIVE)
With only nine scheduled session days left this year, the Michigan Competitive Workforce Coalition has hired three major lobbying firms and deployed field organizers in key House districts, including Bolger’s, for its new "Freedom Michigan" campaign.

Michigan denies excluding public from right-to-work debate (WZZM)
The ACLU, representing the Michigan Education Association and other unions, earlier argued "there is no question that the Michigan Capitol was closed and locked for more than 4½ hours on Dec. 6," and only reopened after a court order. The lawyers argued "it is undisputed that there was a deliberate and concerted effort to exclude the public from the legislative sessions."

Court Rules Michigan Has No Responsibility to Provide Quality Public Education (Black Press)
In a blow to schoolchildren statewide, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled on Nov. 7 the State of Michigan has no legal obligation to provide a quality public education to students in the struggling Highland Park School District.

How to improve community, police relations (Detroit News)
ALPACT discussions have also affected how local police use tasers and other weapons. A model policy for taser use was developed through the initiative and cooperation of ALPACT attendees from the ACLU and local police agencies.

Black Berrien County Activist Convicted by All-White Jury (Ann Arbor Independent)
An all-white jury in St. Joseph, Michigan has found Rev. Edward Pinkney guilty of five felony counts of forgery stemming from a recall campaign against Mayor James Hightower of Benton Harbor earlier this year. A national campaign involving the Michigan ACLU along with numerous community, academic and religious organizations resulted in a successful appeal that released Pinkney from a state prison after serving one year. He has continued to be a major critic of the authorities in Berrien County.

All Or Nothing When It Comes To Civil Rights (Pridesource)
The response from the LGBT community and Michigan's business community was pretty much unanimous: No deal. We won't support a bill that protects some of our community yet singles out transgender people for discrimination.

Related Issues: