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The ACLU of Utah Activist

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ACLU Continues Fight Against Warrantless Searches of State Drug Database

20 April 2017 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
This article was first published in the Liberty Reporter: 2017 Spring Newsletter >> On March 27, we filed objections to a federal magistrate judge’s recommendation to enforce a Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) subpoena seeking records from the Utah Controlled Substance Database (UCSD). In a separate filing, the State of Utah joined in the ACLU’s objection. The focus of the underlying lawsuit is a state law requiring that any law enforcement agency must first obtain a warrant before accessing UCSD records. Last year, the DEA petitioned the federal court to force Utah to comply with a subpoena to access UCSD records related to a federal criminal investigation, after the state of Utah, in accordance with the law, had refused to turn over the requested records. The ACLU of Utah partnered with the national ACLU’s Speech, Privacy and Technology Project to intervene in the case on the side of the state. The ACLU, also representing Equality Utah, IAFF Local 1696, and two individual Utah residents, asserted the privacy interest of thousands of Utahns whose sensitive prescription records are kept in the UCSD. The ACLU is arguing that the DEA’s refusal to get a search warrant from a judge violates not only Utah law,…

The President’s Corner: Together We Can Create a More Just and Equitable Utah

19 April 2017 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
This article was first published in the Liberty Reporter: 2017 Spring Newsletter >> The past few months have been unlike any other in the national ACLU’s nearly 100 year history.  In these unusual times, I enter my second year as the board president of the ACLU of Utah with an even greater sense of purpose and pride.  Our constitutional rights and freedoms are being challenged by a new President and his appointees, but the ACLU is mounting a strong defense nationwide and here in Utah. Before the 2016 elections, the ACLU of Utah pondered how to increase public awareness of the mission of the ACLU and our role in strengthening civil rights and liberties.  So much has changed since November! Where we used to contemplate how to inform more Utahns about our important work and its impact on their lives, we now discuss how to best inform our rapidly expanding base of members and supporters about our victories, our current campaigns, and when we need them to take action on an urgent policy matter.  It feels like the ACLU has gone from unfamiliar to indispensable in the blink of an eye  Even with unprecedented numbers of supporters at our side, the…

The Directors Chair: May the Torch of Freedom Continue to Light Our Way

19 April 2017 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
This article was first published in the Liberty Reporter: 2017 Spring Newsletter >> Following the 2016 elections the ACLU has seen a massive outpouring of support for our organization and the vital work we do.  Here in Utah, we have welcomed thousands of new, card-carrying members into the ACLU family and now enjoy our largest membership level in our nearly 60 year history!  We have also seen our donors, volunteers, and social media followers grow in number.  When the ACLU launched the People Power movement  in March, we were humbled and proud to see supporter-led events take place statewide, from Logan to Hurricane.  We are even more excited now as these supporters begin to mobilize in their communities. To all of you who have joined, renewed your membership, donated, or supported our fight to defend liberty – we thank you.  We are here for you.  Realistically, we can’t protect the rights and freedoms of Utahns without you.   Make no mistake, threats to equality, liberty and justice are real. Already President Trump has unleashed discriminatory and dangerous policies and orders.  Previous guidance protecting transgender students has been withdrawn, again leaving these vulnerable kids at risk. The misguided and discriminatory travel ban…

Lobbying For Liberty! A Recap of the 2017 Session

19 April 2017 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
This article was first published in the Liberty Reporter: 2017 Spring Newsletter >> The 2017 Utah legislative session has come and gone, and with it new opportunities for YOUR rights to be protected or threatened. Thankfully not so much of the latter transpired. While there were some highs and some lows, looking back we feel pretty good about the way it all went down. We tracked 91 bills, an all-time high for the ACLU of Utah, and actively testified on, or otherwise meaningfully amended, around 35 of those!  While voting rights stands out as a disappointment this session, other areas such as reproductive rights and criminal justice reform shine as places where the ACLU of Utah was able to make a difference. Here is the story of ten great victories, and one big disappointment.   1) Reforms to the juvenile justice system! We worked with our community partners to pass HB 239 Juvenile Justice Amendments, legislation based on recommendations from the state’s Juvenile Justice Working Group. The legislation passed and was signed into law by the Governor. It was stripped of several meaningful provisions that we really liked – due to pressure from the schools, courts and prosecutors – but the remaining…

Organizing the People’s Power to Resist

19 April 2017 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
This article was first published in the Liberty Reporter: 2017 Spring Newsletter >> On Saturday, March 11, more then 170,000 activists participated in over 2,200 events around the country to inaugurate the ACLU’s new grassroots volunteer resistance movement.  People Power encourages activists in their local communities to form teams prepared to take action, when necessary.  People Power’s first campaign is Freedom Cities which aims to change policy at a local level through grassroots activism.  It seeks to actively shape how we treat vulnerable communities, how we cherish and safeguard fundamental freedoms, and how we respond as a society to the needs of our families, friends, and neighbors. In Utah, seven People Power events took place around the state. María del Mar González and Jeremy Davies organized a standing-room-only event at the downtown Salt Lake City library and share their story in their own words here. María del Mar: The future is still female. I had never been as excited about a presidential candidate as I was about Hillary Rodham Clinton and I’ve never felt an election result so personally. I cried that night. The next morning I woke up, put on a black pantsuit and decided to get to work.…

Update on Rep. Paul Ray's "Blue Lives Matter (More)" Bill

06 April 2017 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
Governor Herbert didn't veto HB433, "Penalties for Targeting Law Enforcement Officer." But the story doesn't end there. 

HB141 is Dumb. But It's Not As Bad As You Think.

29 March 2017 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
There is some perhaps unintentionally incorrect information circulating about HB141, the "abortion reversal" bill signed by Governor Herbert on March 25.

Criminal Justice Reform on the Hill: Part 3 (The Re-Entry Edition)

24 March 2017 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
Our post-legislative-session blog series continues today with a post about several “re-entry support” bills that passed during the 2017 Legislative Session.

Our 10 Greatest Hits Of The 2017 Legislative Session

24 March 2017 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
That’s a wrap, folks! The clock officially struck midnight on March 9th, bringing an end to the 45 days that we in Utah call a legislative session.  While there were some highs and some lows, looking back we feel pretty good about the way it all went down. 

Voting Rights (Disappointment) on the Hill

23 March 2017 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
Well, you can’t win them all. Sometimes, it can even feel like you LOST them all.

Reproductive Justice on the Hill (Yes, There Was Some!)

21 March 2017 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
Usually reproductive freedom isn’t the most triumphant area of our work on the Hill in Utah. But we’re happy to report that 2017 proved to be a nice exception (or, hopefully, the start of a new trend?)

Criminal Justice Reform on the Hill: Part 2

20 March 2017 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
Our post-legislative-session blog series continues today with another post about criminal justice reform during the 2017 session.

Criminal Justice Reform on the Hill: Part 1

16 March 2017 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
Now that the 2017 Legislative Session has been officially over for one week, we have our wits about us enough to take stock and update you on our work!

Week 4: Updates from the Utah Legislative Session

03 March 2017 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
This weekly compilation is assembled from social media postings by our communications and policy staff during the fourth week of the 2017 Utah Legislative Session.

Is it 1971 Again Already?

02 March 2017 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
We're seeing two bad "Drug Free Zone" bills moving through the legislature. 

Week 5: Updates from the 2017 Legislative Session

26 February 2017 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
This weekly compilation is assembled social media postings by our communications and policy staff during the fifth week of the 2017 Utah Legislative Session.

Protest Posters - from the ACLU of Utah to YOU!

25 February 2017 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
There’s no shortage of protests to attend recently, and therefore there’s no shortage of opportunities to stand for civil liberties with the ACLU of Utah. 

New Immigration Directives: "Recipe for Racial Profiling"

22 February 2017 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
The ACLU of Utah responds to the most recent anti-immigrant directives from the White House.

Let’s end the extreme racial disparities in Utah’s juvenile justice system!

14 February 2017 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
TAKE ACTION TODAY! Ask your legislator to support H.B. 239, Juvenile Justice Amendments, sponsored by Rep. Lowry Snow and Sen. Todd Weiler.

Good Information Is Critical to Exercising Reproductive Rights

03 February 2017 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
Without actual access and factual information, our ability to exercise our reproductive freedoms becomes much less meaningful.