Weekly Rights Review: Questioning Right to Work, Defending Patients’ Rights to Medical Marijuana

April 05, 2013

Are Michigan's labor unions beating against a locked door? In your civil liberties update for the week, a big step towards invalidating the so-called Right-to-Work law and we're fighting for Michiganders access to both medical marijuana and justice. 

This week's action alert warns that sure, analog has a warmer sound... but unless we take action our Fourth Amendment rights might not go digital. Read more and take action below.

Democracy Beats Against a Locked Door
Politicians made a mad dash to pass the so-called ‘right-to-work’ law last year, and in their enthusism they may have broken a law or two. We've filed a lawsuit seeking to invalidate the law, since by denying citizens access to the Capitol building they violated the Open Meetings Act and a couple of pretty important constiutional amendments.

Earlier this week, an Ingham County Circuit Court judge heard the State's arguments for dismissing our lawsuit, but the judge said "no way." Check out the full story on this important case here.

A Step Toward Gideon's Promise
The principle that both poor and rich folks are equal in our justice system has no greater protection than the guarantee that defendants who cannot afford a lawyer will have one provided.

However, Michigan’s public defense system has burnt out from overwork and a lack of resources, leaving poor defendants to navigate our courts without proper legal aid.

In 2007, we filed a class action suit against the State to hold them to our constitutional promise of true justice. The State has repeatedly stalled the case by arguing they have immunity to such a suit, but this week – for the second time – the decision came down that no such immunity exists. Hopefully now our state will stop dragging its feet and we will progress toward a respectable system of criminal defense.

One Toke Over the Line
Although 63% of Michigan voters approved the Medical Marijuana Act in 2008, a few officials in the city of Wyoming decided to ignore patients' rights and the voters' will to prosecute medical marijuana patients through a city ordinance.

We filed suit on behalf of patients and caregivers, challenging the city's ban on medical marijuana in court. In 2012, the State Appeals Court sided with us and declared the ordinance void. The city appealed, and this week the Michigan Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments in the case.

As the case moves forward, we will continue to erase the stereotypes surrounding drug policy reform and help all patients keep access to the quality care their doctor recommends.

Worst than Transferring Vinyl: Chaning Analog Rights into Digital Privacy 
Think your digital data is protected if you adjust your privacy settings? Think again.

CISPA, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, promises to give the government easy access to your data, collected by companies like Google, Microsoft, Comcast, and Facebook.

While officially intended to prevent malicious hackers, CISPA contains few limits on how and when the government can see what you're up to online. If the past has taught us anything, it's that without restrictions new surveillance tools are abused to spy on the general public.

The ACLU, the EFF, and others have rallied together in criticism of the bill, but Michigan's Representative Mike Rogers and the bill’s co-sponsors have refused to make important changes. Next week, CISPA will work through committee for an upcoming vote before the full House. Get involved and tell President Obama to veto CISPA, or your 4th Amendment analog rights might not go digital.

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