MLK’s Environmental Justice Legacy Threatened By Trump Administration Cuts

It was a stormy night in Memphis, Tennessee, and Martin Luther King Jr. wasn’t feeling very well. He had a slight fever and a sore throat, and felt exhausted after the trip to the city that would see him die. But he got up from his bed at the Lorraine Motel and joined hundreds of striking sanitation workers gathered at the Bishop Charles Mason Temple. Public garbage collectors were demanding equal rights and accusing the city of neglect and abuse. It was April 3rd 1968, the night before his assassination, and the third time he had traveled to Memphis to support the strike.

Federal Judges Uphold PA’s Congressional Map In Gerrymandering Case

 

KEYSTONE CROSSROADS - A panel of federal judges upheld Pennsylvania’s congressional district map as constitutional in a 2-1 split decision on Wednesday. In the majority decision, Chief Judge D. Brooks Smith ruled that the plaintiffs’ claim is a political question inappropriate for the courts. “The structural change Plaintiffs seek must come from the political branches or the political process itself, not the courts,” wrote Smith. In the case, a group of about 20 Pennsylvania voters from around the state claimed lawmakers intentionally rigged the map to favor Republicans over Democrats in an effort they believe violated the U.S. Constitution. Their argument hinged on a novel interpretation of the Elections Clause, which grants state legislatures the power to set rules regarding the time, place, and manner of congressional elections.

Upcoming Deadline To Recertify Pistol Permits Causes Confusion

WRVO (SYRACUSE) - By the end of next month, New York State residents that were issued pistol permits before January 2013 will have to recertify their permits with state police. The provision, which is part of the state’s 2013 SAFE Act, has caused confusion among local residents. Oswego County Clerk Mike Backus said every day, his office receives calls or people come in and ask about the deadline to recertify pistol permits. “We've had a significant amount of people that have called confused about this, unsure of what they need to do,” Backus said. "We’re happy to answer any of those questions that we can and direct folks.

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Lawsuit Challenging PA’s Congressional Map Begins In State Court

KEYSTONE CROSSROADS  -- Testimony in a fast-tracked lawsuit alleging gerrymandering got underway in Pa. Commonwealth Court Monday. The case could force a new state congressional map before the 2018 midterm election. Eighteen registered Democrats -- one from each congressional district -- claim Pennsylvania's map was drawn unfairly by state GOP leaders to advantage Republicans.  Congressional maps have to follow certain rules, such as distributing equal numbers of voters between districts. Advocates for fairer congressional maps say it's also a best practice to avoid dividing counties and municipalities when drawing district boundary lines.

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Increased Training Could Prevent Some Fatal Police Shootings

State Police troopers recently resolved a stand-off with an armed man in Dauphin County by taking him for mental health treatment. Credit NEW YORK STATE POLICE / FACEBOOK

An increase in training may have kept the situation from turning tragic. About a quarter of people shot and killed by police nationwide are suffering from a mental illness, according to a database maintained by The Washington Post. Oftentimes, the blame is placed on a lack of training. State Police Corporal Adam Reed said an emphasis has been placed on training troopers to better recognize mental health issues.

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PA Gerrymandering Trial Offers Insights into Secretive Legislative Processes

KEYSTONE CROSSROADS - On day three of the federal trial contesting Pennsylvania’s congressional map, key Republican staffers testified that partisan data was used during the 2011 redistricting process. Behind the scenes, a dispute over the depositions of House Speaker Michael Turzai (R-Allegheny) and Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson) has bubbled up in court documents. In the case, a group of Pennsylvania voters claim they have been harmed by partisan gerrymandering and are calling for a new map in time for the 2018 congressional midterm elections. At the time of the last redistricting in 2011, Scarnati held his current leadership role and Turzai was majority leader in the House. In the lead-up to the trial, there was fierce debate over whether and to what extent the two leaders would participate.