Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Posts Tagged ‘ALEC’

Yes, “Stand Your Ground” Law Played A Role In Trayvon Martin’s Killing And Aftermath

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 15, 2013

Media Matters has the details:

In fact, Florida’s self-defense laws set the framework by which Zimmerman was tried, setting the standard by which the jury would have to determine if Martin’s death resulted from the justifiable use of force. Indeed, the jury instructions in the case specifically mention that “If George Zimmerman was not engaged in an unlawful activity and was attacked in anyplace where he had a right to be, he had no duty to retreat and had the right to stand his ground” and use deadly force. 

From the instructions

In deciding whether George Zimmerman was justified in the use of deadly force, you must judge him by the circumstances by which he was surrounded at the time the force was used. The danger facing George Zimmerman need not have been actual; however, to justify the use of deadly force, the appearance of danger must have been so real that a reasonably cautious and prudent person under the same circumstances would have believed that the danger could be avoided only through the use of that force. Based upon appearances, George Zimmerman must have actually believed that the danger was real.

If George Zimmerman was not engaged in an unlawful activity and was attacked in anyplace where he had a right to be, he had no duty to retreat and had the right to stand his ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he reasonably believed that it was necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.

Former State Sen. Dan Gelber, who was a leading opponent of Stand Your Ground’s enactment, noted on his blog that those instructions differed widely from the instruction that would have been read to a jury before that law took effect. At that time, jury instructions would have stated:

“The defendant cannot justify the use of force likely to cause death or great bodily harm unless he used every reasonable means within his power and consistent with his own safety to avoid the danger before resorting to that force.

The fact that the defendant was wrongfully attacked cannot justify his use of force likely to cause death or great bodily harm if by retreating he could have avoided the need to use that force.”

Florida’s Stand Your Ground law also had ramifications on the case before the trial began and will continue now that it has concluded.

By the way, the SYG laws also will likely keep Trayvon’s family from getting justice even in a civil court:

Attorneys for Mr. Martin’s family said they are considering filing a civil lawsuit against Mr. Zimmerman, though they haven’t made a decision. “We’re still trying to make sense of the verdict in the criminal case,” said Benjamin Crump, a lawyer for the family. “We’ll be talking about our options going forward in the coming days.”

Such a case would face high hurdles, legal observers say. Mr. Zimmerman can seek immunity from civil lawsuits under Florida’s so-called Stand Your Ground law–something his attorney said he planned to do. “In effect, there will be no civil suits,” said Tamara Lave, a University of Miami law professor. “If there is a civil suit filed, it will be dismissed, and future ones will be barred.”

But of course that’s exactly why ALEC and their NRA pals pushed these SYG laws.

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Goodhue And Hubbard Join List Of Minnesota Counties Worried About Cost, Effects Of Photo ID Amendment

Posted by Phoenix Woman on September 17, 2012

Add Goodhue and Hubbard Counties to the list of Minnesota counties whose elections officials are worried sick about the cost and the effects of the Photo ID amendment the state GOP shoved onto the November ballot.

From Goodhue County, via the Red Wing Republican Eagle — and emphases are mine:
Read the rest of this entry »

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The Strib Finally Joins Outstate Minnesota Papers In Noticing The Huge Costs And Problems Of ALEC’s Voter ID Amendment

Posted by Phoenix Woman on September 9, 2012

I was pleasantly surprised this week to see that the StarTribune had finally, nearly six months after papers in Greater Minnesota first sounded the alarms, deigned to notice what a mess the proposed ALEC “Voter ID” voter suppression amendment would make of both elections and county budgets. Despite my misgivings, a friend of mine tried posting variations of the following over in the comments sections at the Strib, but for some reason — possibly a reluctance to credit my friend Sally Jo Sorensen with anything, much less the story of the year — those comments never made it past the Strib’s comment minders. So here is what the StarTribune won’t tell you:

—–

Glad to see that the StarTribune is finally on this story.

Greater Minnesota counties and the news media that serve them are in a panic over the huge holes that this vote-suppressing ALEC Amendment will blow in their budgets, which have already been stressed by Republican budget cuts — first by Tim Pawlenty, then by the Republicans in the state legislature.

The Fergus Falls Journal said “no” to it back in March of this year: http://www.fergusfallsjournal.com/2012/03/23/city-voter-id-costly-mandate/

Last month, it was Rice County, which will get socked for $120,000: http://www.bluestemprairie.com/bluestemprairie/2012/08/faribault-daily-news-photo-id-amendment-voting-system-overhaul-could-cost-rice-co-120000.html

Then, it was Kittson County, which has fewer than 5,000 residents, who will somehow have to shoulder $720,000 in extra costs levied by this amendment that does nothing to stop the sort of fraud its creators say it would stop: http://www.bluestemprairie.com/bluestemprairie/2012/09/voter-restriction-amendment-would-cost-kittson-county-730000-mfu-president-doug-peterson-on-amendmen.html

Then the Marshall Independent weighed in against it, asking “Why are we even bothering with this?”: http://www.bluestemprairie.com/bluestemprairie/2012/09/marshall-independent-editorial-slams-voter-suppression-amendment-why-are-we-even-bothering-with-this.html

Now even the deeply conservative McLeod County Chronicle rejects it, stating “Blatant political maneuvering should have no permanent place in Minnesota’s constitution”: http://www.bluestemprairie.com/bluestemprairie/2012/09/mcleod-co-chronicle-editor-on-photo-id-amendment-blatant-political-maneuvering-should-have-no-perman.html

Here’s the irony: When Tim Pawlenty was governor, he vetoed, with the backing of Minnesota Republicans in the legislature, a plan by Mark Ritchie that would actually have dealt more effectively with fraud — and for far less money — than this current Kiffmeyer-backed ALEC-crafted amendment. The reason given? Kiffmeyer said it would cost too much. Seriously: http://www.bluestemprairie.com/bluestemprairie/2012/07/if-mary-kiffmeyer-couldnt-smell-fraud-when-it-was-right-under-her-nose-how-are-we-to-trust-her-and-m.html

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How Much Will The MN GOP’s “Voter ID” Amendment Cost Minnesotans? Between $49 and $139 Million.

Posted by Phoenix Woman on September 5, 2012

In case, after witnessing the walking bounced checks that are Tony Sutton and the Republican Party of Minnesota, you needed any further proof that Republicans in general, and Minnesota Republicans in particular, should never be trusted with Other People’s Money — here you go:

Yesterday, Citizens for Election Integrity Minnesota (CEIMN) and Hamline University professor David Schultz released Cost of Minnesota’s Election Amendment.

[…]

According to group’s press release, the amendment is going to be costly to state and local government:

The report estimates that if the amendment is adopted state and local governments will need to spend between $33 million and $67 million to comply with its likely requirements and that individuals who currently lack a government identification will need to spend between $16 million and $72 million to get the documents necessary for the free ID if they wish to vote.

The proposed amendment would mandate the showing of a government-issued ID when voting. According to Kathy Bonnifield, Executive Director of CEIMN, “The amendment could make significant changes to Minnesota’s elections, affecting mail-in voting,
absentee voting, and Election Day Registration, and introduce provisional balloting.” 

The estimated cost to local governments is between $23 million and $53 million. Counties with mail-in precincts will be impacted at a greater rate than counties that do not have mail-in precincts. For example, the estimated cost to Renville County, with 9,000 registered voters and no mail-in precincts, is between $46,000 and $150,000 while the cost estimate for Roseau
County, with 8,700 registered voters and eight mail-in precincts, is between $200,000 and $300,000.

So, state and local governments will have to spend between $33 million and $67 million, and individuals who don’t currently have what Mary Kiffmeyer would consider proper ID would have to shell out between $16 million and $72 million to get all the documents needed to successfully apply for the “free” ID.

All for something that doesn’t stop the sort of fraud Republicans claim it would stop, but will make it a lot harder for college kids, seniors, and veterans to vote.

You can read the full report here.

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MN Voter ID: Costs Million$, Keeps 1000s Of Legal Voters From Voting, Useless As Anti-Felon Tool

Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 26, 2012

Sally Jo Sorensen passes along the following:

Faribault Daily News staff reporter Joseph Lindberg reports in Pricetag for voter ID in Rice County could surpass $120,000:

If Minnesota voters this November approve a
constitutional amendment requiring a valid photo ID to cast a ballot,
the equipment election officials would use to verify voter data could
cost more than $120,000 in Rice County alone.

Electronic “pollbooks,” a term
that generally refers to hardware and software used to process voter
information, would likely be used at the county’s 31 voting precincts at
an estimated cost of $4,000 each, according to Fran Windschitl, Rice
County auditor/treasurer. . . . .

The county’s cost hinges on how much time the amendment, if passed,
would give counties to process provisional ballots cast by those who
don’t bring ID to the polling place but cast a vote and verify their
personal data later.

Even if a longer time period is approved — other
states range from three to 14 days — and pollbooks aren’t needed, the
staff time to process ballots would be considerable, Windschitl said.

Sorensen goes on to note that back in 2009, when Democrats proposed sensible election reform legislation that, unlike the ALEC-sponsored voter ID amendment, have actually worked to keep felons from illegally voting, and done so far more cheaply and with far less bureaucratic hassle, the Republican then-governor Tim Pawlenty vetoed it.

Now, Rice County isn’t the smallest of Minnesota’s eighty-seven counties, but it’s also not the biggest. Extrapolate Rice County’s experience to the rest of the state, and it’s obvious that we’d be looking at a minimum of $10 million being spent to enforce a law that has as its main effect keeping tens of thousands of legal voters from being able to vote and which would do nothing to stop felons from illegally voting.

Minnesotans shouldn’t be too surprised by this. As we’ve seen from the glacial and sometimes questionable response of the Republican Party of Minnesota to requests for payment by the various counties whose staffs the RPM forced to work overtime on a recount that wound up confirming Mark Dayton’s win, Minnesota Republicans have no problems with sticking the counties of Greater Minnesota with the bills for GOP-caused voting expenditures.

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Pennsylvania’s Vote Chaos Shows Minnesota’s Future If Voter ID Amendment Passes

Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 25, 2012

Anyone wonder what would happen to voting in the State of Minnesota should the ALEC-and-Kiffmeyer-inspired voter suppression (aka “voter ID”) amendment is passed? Here’s a taste, courtesy of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania:

This summer, the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center recruited volunteers to visit PennDOT offices across the Commonwealth and tell us about their experiences trying to obtain free photo ID under the new law. The results of that survey are in our new report, Pennsylvania’s Identity Crisis: Rushed Implementation of Voter ID Law Puts Voting Rights at Risk.

Volunteers visited 43 PennDOT centers in 27 counties across the commonwealth, representing three-quarters of the state’s population. They completed a survey that looked at very simple things: whether there was signage, if forms were available, if there was information that the IDs could be available for free, if volunteers got accurate information. We were surprised just how difficult it was for our volunteers to get the right information and the right forms — and they knew exactly what to ask for.

The report finds that voters are likely to be frustrated in their attempts to secure a free ID from PennDOT. Some volunteers found the offices weren’t open the first time they visited and they had to return another time. There was no signage and limited information in half the sites, and the forms needed to secure a free ID were not available most of the time. In almost half the cases, voters received information that proved to be incomplete or inaccurate from staff at the centers. Problems were as likely to occur in Franklin and Luzerne counties as in Philadelphia or Allegheny County.

Even worse, the Pennsylvania Department of State is rolling out a new form of ID this coming week, and the timing could not have been worse — unless, of course, suppressing voters and turnout is the goal.

We can avoid this hellish mess simply by voting “no” on the voter ID amendment.

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News Roundup: WI Senate Recount, Obamacare-Hating Cons Moving To Canada, Media Depict NFIB Shill As Just A Plain Ol’ Businessman

Posted by Phoenix Woman on June 30, 2012

So much to write about, so little time:

– Add Joe Olivo of Perfect Printing to the list of right-wing and/or business lobby shills the media choose to pretend are just plain old folks with no hidden agenda:

Wow — two news organizations covering the same story scoured the nation for a random small business owner to comment on that story — and they both found the same one! How’d that happen? What are the odds?

Well, as it turns out, Joe Olivo of Perfect Printing turns up quite a bit in public discussions of this and other issues. Here he is testifying against the health care law before House and Senate committees in January 2011. Here he is on the Fox Business Network around the same time, discussing the same subject. Here he is a few days ago, also on Fox Business, talking to John Stossel about the law. Here he is discussing the same subject on a New Jersey Fox affiliate.

[…]

NFIB, you will not be surprised to learn, is linked to the ALEC and Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS, and to the usual rogues’ gallery of right-wing zillionaires.

So Joe Olivo isn’t just some random business owner — he’s dispatched by NFIB whenever there’s a need for someone to play a random small business owner on TV.

It’s time to make a list of these clowns. I know that Olivo’s not the first person whose conservative and/or business lobby ties our allegedly-liberal media doesn’t disclose when choosing to use him or her as their “average person without an agenda” soundbite provider.

– Speaking of clowns, these right-wingers apparently think that moving to a country with socialized medicine is a good way to express their hatred for socialized medicine. (If right-wing drivel of this sort is something you find wildly entertaining, TBogg has come along to harvest some choice examples.)

– In other news, once and future Wisconsin state senator John Lehman (D-Racine) is winning the optional recount that the state Republicans demanded and for which they are paying out of their own pockets, as Lehman’s lead was big enough to avoid triggering a mandatory recount. If control of the Wisconsin State Senate during recess (a recess that Walker can end at any time, just as he did last year) wasn’t such a big deal, why are state Republicans fighting so hard to delay the inevitable turnover to the state Democrats?

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I Was Going To Do Another Post On ALEC And Its Hold On GOP Brains…

Posted by Phoenix Woman on April 1, 2012

…but Sally Jo Sorensen wrote it for me and did a much better job than I could have or would have.

Click here to see for yourself.

Thanks, Sally Jo!

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Voter ID? How About ALEC ID? HF 2972 Would Shine Light On Secretive Group

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 28, 2012

Hat tip to Sally Jo Sorensen for passing this on:

Representative Phyllis Kahn has thrown HF2972 into the hopper, a bill to require legislative meetings:

to be open to the public; model legislation lobbyists and principals, and scholarship fund principals and public officials requirements added; public campaign fund established; political contribution refund amount increased, and money appropriated.

The first part of the bill requires legislative meetings to be open to the public, no doubt a much-needed response to the closed meetings that took place during the government shutdown. For a refresher on the problem, check out Pat Kessler’s Reality Check from last summer: Reality Check: MN Legislators’ Private Shutdown Meetings. And there are some changes to the way campaigns are funded.

But the rest of the bill concerns “model legislation lobbyists and principals, and scholarship fund principals and public officials requirements added;” in short, provisions that will require ALEC’s activities on behalf of model bills to be as transparent as those of lobbyists.

A similar effort, SF 2334, has already been voted down by Senate Republicans, so it’s likely that this bill will meet a similar fate. But if the local establishment media would just turn off the Cone of Silence they have switched on around ALEC, things might go differently.

One wonders how many companies that currently back ALEC would still do so if it were public knowledge that they do — especially as ALEC’s backing of “model bills” that have among other things given us the murder of Trayvon Martin are not things that go well with a company’s efforts to depict itself as a good public citizen.

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Funny How Conservatives Aren’t Saying That Trayvon Should Have Had A Gun Too

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 24, 2012

Markos makes a good point:

Notice that conservatives aren’t arguing that Trayvon should’ve been packing? I wonder why…

Yeah, one would think that these ALEC-crafted “Castle Doctrine” and “Stand Your Ground” laws were meant for both nonwhites and whites, right? Or are these laws all designed to allow for open season by whites against blacks?

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