The reworked bill, which passed the House and now will go back to the Senate doesn’t repeal the Racial Justice Act – it merely guts it to the point that the effect will be the same.
The groundbreaking law, much derided by prosecutors and “law-and-order” politicians, recognizes that the death penalty has not always been applied equally in North Carolina. a Michigan State University study showed a strong correlation between the race of the victim and jury composition and the likelihood that a murder defendant was sentenced to death.
In 2009, North Carolina became only the second death penalty state in the nation to offer condemned murderers a chance to prove that race played a factor in their sentences. it is neither a guarantee of success nor a Get out of Jail Free card. Success results in a commuted sentence of life without parole.
So far, the only case to make it to a hearing was successful, and the judge found conclusive evidence that race indeed played a role in sentencing the defendant to die. he will instead spend the rest of his longer life expectation in prison.
As “amended,” the bill would restrict what factors can be considered in examining claims under the Racial Justice Act. The most damaging changes would no longer allow a judge to consider statewide statistics on the exclusion of black jurors or the race of the victim, which numerous studies have concluded significantly affect a jury’s life-or-death decision. those studies show that the death penalty is more often imposed if the victim is white.
The Honorables may as well throw out the whole law – which would be a travesty, but at least it would be honest. by limiting statistics to the judicial district in which the case was heard, the Honorables would make it virtually impossible for an inmate to win a case, says Ty Hunter, senior counsel for the N.C. Center for Death Penalty Litigation.
North Carolina isn’t Texas. Capital cases are not that common, so individual districts don’t have enough cases to establish a trend. however, looking across the state, the role of race in determining death sentences is clear.
Much has been made of the fact that nearly all death row inmates have appealed under the act, including whites. And that does present, as Hunter calls it, a “public relations problem.” But in the American legal system, people are free to go to court under the laws of the land. Judges weed out the cases that don’t hold water.
However, excluding black jurors more than whites are excluded does not pose a problem only for defendants of color. a jury is supposed to represent a cross-section of the community. Using peremptory challenges to ensure a whiter, more middle-class jury unfairly excludes people from other backgrounds and experiences – who may view the facts through a different lens.
In other words, that exclusion may affect the fates of white as well as black defendants.
That is a valid concern, and one of the best reasons for North Carolina to have taken the courageous step of passing the law in 2009. it is also the reason that the General Assembly should not kill it, in either spirit or in deed. And if they do, Perdue should again exercise her power of the veto.
Game Change, by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin and narrated By Dennis Boutsikaris, had Washington shaking even before it went on sale. it reveals some shocking information about the 2008 presidential campaign. the authors went out of their way to find out the back story and gossip from numerous angles on the candidates and on others around them. Senator Harry Reid, leader of the Senate, was singled out for racially insensitive words about then Senator Barrack Obama.
The authors leave no one out. They have written about Elizabeth Edwards, John Edwards’s wife, going into tantrums and swearing like crazy about him and his antics. the authors expose more about the Sarah Palin selection and how rushed the process was. Not only was no one in the Republican leadership consulted, but little thought and consideration appears to be given to the choice. the choice was a tactic to knock the Obama campaign off guard and that part worked until Palin self destructed in numerous interviews.
Then Senator Barrack Obama is shown to be heavily staged throughout the campaign. They show the two sides of the man, calm cool and collected when on the stump, profane with flashes of anger off the stump. This #@% would be really interesting if we weren’t in the middle of it.–Barack Obama, September 2008
Hillary and bill Clinton take their lumps too. President Clinton’s inappropriate comments and Obama’s observation that Hillary could not control her husband. the book also covers Obama’s hard sell to get Clinton on board for Secretary of State. the book opens doors into other mysteries from the campaign like Giuliani’s Florida gamble and why he left the race.
When listen to the book it’s like living through the campaign once again, but you get to be the fly on the wall with inside view of what really goes on. you will get insights that will inform you, but also make you angry. This should have come out during the campaign, but the press was not doing its job well. Maybe that’s the most damning insight of all. if you’re a political junkie like me, get the audio book and enjoy the drama.
Listen to the audio sample of the Game Change Audiobook.
TheDigitel will go dark on Wednesday, January 18, 2012 from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. in support of an Internet that is free of corporate and government censorship.
Wednesday is American Censorship Day and aimed at fighting the flawed pieces of legislation that are the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA). they have the power to drastically change the Internet that we hold dear, and are currently under consideration with strong support in both the House and Senate
Sites, like TheDigitel, that link to information and allow a free flow of ideas through our Open Community of contributors and bloggers are in danger. as such, we are proud to stand alongside Internet giants like Google, Facebook, and Reddit, among thousand of others, and with more than one million citizens who have contacted their elected representatives.
Learn more about the problem below.
PROTECT IP / SOPA breaks The Internet from Fight for the Future on Vimeo
The title of the bill is: H. R. 3261 — To promote prosperity, creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation by combating the theft of U.S. property, and for other purposes.
It is also known as The Great Firewall of America.
It was introduced into the US House of Representatives on October 26, 2011 by Lamar Smith (R-TX) and a bi-partisan group of twelve co-sponsors.
It is known as The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and is before the House Judiciary Committee. The bill is designed to expand the ability of the Department of Justice to fight online copyright infringement and counterfeit trafficking. it builds on the Senate bills, the PROTECT IP Act of 2011 and the Commercial Felony Streaming Act of 2011.
It is intended to give the DoJ, or a copyright holder, the ability to take legal action and seek court orders against websites accused of having limited purpose or use other than enabling or facilitating copyright infringement. Actions taken can include demanding that search engines and social networking sites block access to the targeted site, that payment services and advertisers cease doing business with the accused site, and that internet service providers block access to the site through the domain name system.
There is a section designed to increase penalties for selling counterfeit drugs, military materials or consumer goods, and the bill makes unauthorized streaming of copyright material a felony punishable by five years in prison. There is also a provision to grant immunity to internet service providers that volunteer to take action against sites accused of copyright offenses, and makes a claimant liable for damages for knowingly misrepresenting that a website is dedicated to infringing.
PIPA, if passed, will give U.S. corporations and the government the right to seek affirmative legal action with any website that they see as enabling copyright infringement weather of U.S. origin or not. here is a breakdown of all that they will have the power to do.
- Force U.S. internet providers to block access to websites deemed as enablers of copyright infringement
- Seek legal action by suing search engines, blog sites, directories, or any site in general to have the black listed sites removed from their website
- Will be able to force advertising services on infringing websites, and those supporting of them, to remove them from their advertising accounts
- Companies will also have the power to sue any new websites that get started after this bill is passed, if they believe that they are not doing a good job of preventing infringement on your website
Some of the world’s most popular sites could be shut down or seriously changed for the worse due to SOPA and PIPA. Sites like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Reddit, DIGG, MySpace, and Vimeo are just the biggest names. Those at the most risk are the smaller sites, like TheDigitel, that do not have millions in the bank to fight erroneous copyright claims.
Sites would have to censor their users or cease operation since they become liable for everything those users post. Such drastic measures can be taken for just one infringing link. Everyday users could go to jail for five years for posting any copyrighted work. The wording of the law is so ambiguous that simple infractions like posting a video of a karaoke performance, first dance at your wedding, or a cute child singing the newest pop song could result in punishment.
The Senate is scheduled to vote on Tuesday, January 24, 2012, and unless 41 senators block PIPA, it could pass and bring an end to the free and open exchange of ideas on websites. if you oppose, head over to FightForTheFuture.org, fill out the form, and send it to our representatives in Washington.
Fortunately, there has been some recent good news. Thanks to a petition over at WhiteHouse.gov, the Obama administration has stated they will not support SOPA as it currently stands and has threatened a veto. further, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has killed SOPA, stopping all action on it. He hasn’t given a reason why.
You can read the White House response here.
This is a bipartisan issue with support for and against SOPA on both sides of the aisle. This isn’t about right or left. It’s about right, wrong, and most importantly - freedom.
Thank you for your support,The entire Digitel family
- Stopped they must be; on this all depends. -Reddit
- AmericanCensorship.org SOPA/PIPA infographic
Developers in Gilbert will pay about 6 percent less in impact fees after the Town Council last week adopted a new rate structure as mandated by state law.
Senate bill 1525, signed by the governor earlier this year, added restrictions on how municipalities can assess developer fees and what kind of projects on which the money can be spent.
Previously, each community was permitted to assess impact fees for growth-related projects it deemed a “necessary public service.” The new law takes that determination away from municipalities and replaces it with a narrower statewide definition. Cities and towns were given until Jan. 1 to bring their fee structures into compliance with state law.
In September, the council approved a $130,000 contract with Maryland-based consultant TischlerBise to help revise the town’s impact fees.
The new structure reduces the amount assessed for parks, fire, police and government infrastructure by about $1,200 per single-family unit. Impact fees for water and wastewater projects remain unchanged.
Before SB 1525, Gilbert imposed eight types of impact fees on developers for $19,684 per single-family home. For a new subdivision of 500 homes, the developer paid about $9.8 million.
Under the new structure, the developer would pay $9.2 million for the same subdivision, or $18,532 per unit.
Town officials are waiting for TichslerBise to complete a more comprehensive report, which will include updates on specific projects and explore alternative financing methods, according to a town staff report.
According to its website, TischlerBise has calculated more than 700 impact fees/excise taxes throughout North America — more than any firm in the country. none of its interpretations on the use of impact fees have been successfully challenged, the firm claims.
SB 1525 passed the Legislature with support of all six lawmakers from Districts 21 and 22 in Gilbert, despite municipalities’ widespread concerns about its impact. Gilbert Mayor John Lewis had warned it could have a “massive” impact on the way the town funds projects.
The law includes the following under its definition of necessary public service:
Water and wastewater facilities.
Storm-water, drainage and flood-control facilities.
Libraries up to 10,000 square feet.
fire and police facilities, not including administrative vehicles, helicopters or training facilities.
Neighborhood parks and recreation centers up to 30 acres.
The new law includes pools in its definition of a necessary public service, but excludes aquariums, aquatic centers, arenas, arts and cultural facilities, environmental education centers, equestrian facilities, golf courses, lakes, museums, riparian areas and zoos.
The funding sources for several large-scale projects in Gilbert may be in jeopardy because of the new law, including a new riparian preserve in the southern part of town, two aquatic centers and two large parks.
System-development fees make up the largest funding source in Gilbert’s Capital Improvement plan, a document that includes future parks, roads, utilities and public-safety facilities. those infrastructure costs over the next few decades are expected to total about $1.2 billion.
SB 1525 also requires municipalities to appoint an advisory committee with 50 percent of the members from the real estate, development or building industries and one member from the homebuilding industry. Municipal employees or officials may not serve on the committee.
In lieu of forming an advisory committee, a municipality may instead conduct a certified audit every two years and post the audit findings online.
Projects in jeopardy
The following parks projects rely on system-development fees as a major funding source but may no longer be eligible under Senate bill 1525.
Riparian preserve. The riparian preserve would be near Higley and Ocotillo roads in south Gilbert. The town expected to use about $8.5 million in park system-development fees to complete the preserve by 2018. The 140-acre park would double as a water recharge site. The new law specifically excludes water reclamation or riparian areas and wetlands from its definition of a “necessary public service.”
Southwest Activity Center/Field Complex. The land for this site near Greenfield and Chandler Heights roads was purchased using bond debt, but the town planned to use about $17 million in development-fee revenue to complete construction by build-out in 2027. The park would likely include ballfields, sport courts, a lake and ramadas, according to the Capital Improvement plan. At about 80 acres, the park is larger than the 30 acres allowed in SB 1525. Larger parks are allowed, however, if they provide a “direct benefit” to the development where impact fees are being assessed.
Hetchler Park. Located near Queen Creek and Greenfield roads, a 55-acre site is scheduled to become a large park with ballfields, sport courts, concessions, lake, ramadas, play areas and restrooms. nearly $20 million in funding was expected to come from park impact fees. The park may be too large to qualify for impact-fee funding.
Aquatic centers. Gilbert’s CIP includes vague plans for two future aquatic centers, one at a Gilbert Public Schools site and another at a Higley Unified School District site. The aquatic centers were to be funded through $15.5 million in park impact fees. The legislation allows for pools but not aquatic centers.
by Hugh McQuaid | Oct 26, 2011 11:07pm(6) Comments | Log in to Post a Comment Posted to: Business, Health Care, Special Session
in contrast to the partisan ground staked out in the Senate, several legislators in the House on Wednesday said they were still in the process of weighing the proposal to give $291 million in state funds to Jackson Laboratory.
The House gave final passage to the bill, 101 to 41, around 10:30 p.m., but it wasn’t an easy decision for some lawmakers.
Rep. Diana Urban, D-North Stonington, said she had been intending to vote against the measure right up until Wednesday morning. she said the proposal lacked accountability, if Jackson Laboratory failed to produce the jobs promised.
“I wanted to be sure. You’re committing that amount of money there that means you can’t put it someplace else. so if this doesn’t pan out you want to be sure that there’s protection,” she said.
Urban said she let Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration know about her concerns and got a lot of phone calls as a result. she agreed to speak with them Wednesday morning when she expressed her qualms about the proposal’s accountability, transparency, and lack of data and indicators.
She said she would agree to support the project if it was done under Results Based Accountability, RBA, to ensure the proposals goals were clearly defined and tracked on a regular basis.
“so that I know as we’re moving forward we know what kind of jobs. How are you counting the jobs? what is the trend line looking like?” she said. “I want to be sure that as we’re creating jobs somebody is keeping track of them, that somebody knows what’s going on. That’s what RBA’s all about.”
Urban said she was surprised when the Malloy administration agreed because it allows her to be able to ask those questions. even with an assurance from Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Catherine Smith that the project will operate under the Results Based Accountability parameters, Urban acknowledged she is still uncomfortable with the bill. but she said she expected the bill to pass even without her support.
“Do I expect this to be perfect? no. but the way that I look at this is I could vote no and get nothing or I can vote yes and I get something as far as being sure that the taxpayers have some framework that is based on accountability and transparency,” she said.
Urban wasn’t the only Democrat unsure of how she would cast her vote on Wednesday. new Haven Rep. Patricia Dillon also had questions about whether the proposal would really deliver the jobs it promised. she said she thought the multipliers used to calculate the number of jobs were inflated but said the project may still be worth the risk.
“I think some of the supporters are overstating their case. but some of the opponents are overstating too. so I’ll listen to the debate,” she said.
Rep. Steve Mikutel, D- Griswold, was also weighing the pros and cons of the deal. He asked Rep. Patricia Widlitz, D-Guilford, whether the 6,000 spin-off jobs were a direct result of the lab or included all biomedical job growth in the state. Wildlitz said she understood the figure to represent jobs created as a result of the project.
A few Republicans even indicated they were still considering the bill. Rep. John Hetherington, R – new Canaan, said he was unsure how he would vote on the bill because he was impressed with the lab but didn’t understand why the legislature had to approve the funding before it saw the terms and conditions of the deal.
“I strongly believe that the work they’re engaged in is to be encouraged, holds out great hope for everyone. but I don’t know why the legislature is now being asked to act in advance of the details of the transaction,” he said.
Rep. Prasad Srinivasan, R- Glastonbury, who is a medical doctor, said he would like to see the lab come to Connecticut because the personalized medicine field the lab will be working in will be an increasingly important in the future.
“Personalized medicine is the way of the future. that is the only way we are going to be more effective and contain our costs in managing our patients,” he said.
But Srinivasan, who eventually voted for the measure, had concerns that after receiving the $291 million, the lab would at some point come back to the state for more money. Jackson Laboratory mostly focuses on mice for scientific testing and the transition into the personalized medicine field will take time, he said.
“at what point are we as a state ready to cut our losses,” he asked.
Widlitz said she could not speak for what future General Assemblies might decide to do in that hypothetical situation.
Others were more staunchly against the measure.
House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero questioned Widlitz extensively about the unknowns in the state’s memorandum of agreement with the lab.
He asked what would happen if Jackson Labs failed to meet its very specific jobs goals. Widlitz said that the lab itself set the jobs targets and should it fail to meet the goals the loan would not be forgiven at the end of the 10 year period.
What happens if the company decides to layoff 200 people after the 10 year period?, he asked.
Widlitz said there probably wouldn’t be much the state could do in that case but said lawmakers should look at the bigger picture. The project is a good fit for the state and will provide spin-off jobs and create the kind of environment educated young people want to work in, she said.
“The whole idea of this is something we’ve been lacking. We’ve been lacking something to provide this kind of incentive, this kind of excitement in Connecticut,” she said.
She acknowledged there are risks and unknowns associated with the project but said it’s necessary to take risks.
“we don’t have every single detail. we have to have faith in our leadership, our executive branch. They want this to be successful,” she said.
Cafero said contracts exist because things don’t work out the way people want. He pointed to the 2008 financial meltdown that he said Merrill Lynch executives never saw coming.
“Guess what folks stuff happens. Stuff happens. And its our job to make sure we minimize those risks,” he said.
He suggested the one way the state could do that would be to maintain ownership of the building in case things don’t work out, especially in light of the fact that lawmakers don’t have all the answers. He said he suggested that Malloy’s administration and the lab’s executives, who initially seemed open to the possibility, but Cafero said he was later told that was not an option.
Eight Republicans and one Democrat, broke ranks with their party on the legislation which passed 101-41.
Tags: Jackson Laboratory, mice, Malloy, Fence, House, Republicans, Maine, UConn, Farmington(6) Comments