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Killexams : ACT Section questions - BingNews Search results Killexams : ACT Section questions - BingNews Killexams : Respect for Marriage Act doesn’t revoke tax-exempt status for churches against same-sex marriage

The Respect for Marriage Act explicitly says the IRS cannot revoke churches’ tax-exempt status if they don’t allow same-sex marriages, contrary to online claims.

Credit: FotoCat -

Congress passed the Respect for Marriage Act (RFMA) on Thursday, Dec. 8, sending it to President Joe Biden’s desk to be signed into law. 

The legislation ensures that the federal government recognizes marriage regardless of race, ethnicity or sex, and requires all states to recognize marriages conducted legally in other states. 

Lawmakers introduced the bill after Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ concurring opinion in Dobbs vs Jackson Women’s Health, the ruling that overturned the federal right to an abortion, called into question the legitimacy of the court’s previous ruling that legalized same-sex marriage. 

In the weeks leading up to the legislation’s passage, some people online have claimed that the RFMA allows the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to revoke the tax-exempt status of churches that don’t allow same-sex marriages. 

A VERIFY viewer on TikTok also asked the team about the bill’s provisions regarding churches’ tax-exempt status. 


Does the Respect for Marriage Act say the IRS can revoke tax-exempt status for churches that are against same-sex marriage?



No, the Respect for Marriage Act doesn’t say the IRS can revoke tax-exempt status for churches that are against same-sex marriage. 


The text of the RFMA explicitly says the IRS cannot revoke the tax-exempt status of religious or other charitable organizations if they refuse to perform same-sex marriages. 

Section 7(a) of the bill reads in part that “nothing in this act” may be used to “deny or alter any benefit, right, or status of an otherwise eligible person or entity,” including “tax-exempt status” or tax-treatment.” 

Churches and other religious organizations are “generally exempt from income tax and receive other favorable treatment under tax law,” the IRS says.

A bipartisan group of senators added the language about tax-exempt status through an amendment to the bill. In a statement published on Nov. 15, before the claims were shared on social media, the senators said in part that “a church, university, or other nonprofit’s eligibility for tax-exempt status is unrelated to marriage, so its status would not be affected by this legislation.”

The bill’s protections for same-sex marriage don’t apply to private businesses or organizations, such as churches, either. They only apply to state and federal governments and government officials.

The text of the RFMA says it applies to those “acting under the color of State law.” That’s a legal expression referring to the government or government officials, Dale Carpenter, a professor and constitutional law expert at Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law, told VERIFY. 

There have been numerous other claims about the RFMA besides this one, including that it requires churches to perform same-sex weddings, or provide services for these ceremonies. That’s not true, Carpenter said.  

The bill says that “consistent with the First Amendment to the Constitution,” nonprofit religious organizations are not “required to provide services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges for the solemnization or celebration of a marriage.”

“Any refusal under this subsection to provide such services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges shall not create any civil claim or cause of action,” the bill reads. 

For a more in-depth explanation of what the bill does and doesn’t do, click here.

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Fri, 09 Dec 2022 05:46:00 -0600 en-US text/html
Killexams : After six weeks of Emergencies Act testimony, questions remain about legal advice and redactions

No redactions have evoked as much frustration as the government’s claim of solicitor-client privilege, which it used to hide legal advice it received before invoking the Act

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OTTAWA — After six weeks and 76 witnesses, including the prime minister and much of his cabinet, public hearings on the use of the Emergencies Act are done, but some crucial questions remain.

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What did the government hide behind document redactions, and what was the key legal advice cabinet leaned on to invoke the act?

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Friday, Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms lawyer Rob Kittredge asked the final witness, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, if he thought it was normal that the government had redacted as “irrelevant” information about an offer by the United States for tow trucks.

“Wouldn’t you say that discussion of tow trucks was relevant to the discussion we’re having here today,” Kittredge asked, noting that newly unredacted portions of the documents were provided to lawyers barely one hour earlier.

“I’m not the one who made these redactions. It’s the professional public service,” Trudeau replied.

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Canadian Constitution Foundation lawyer Sujit Choudhry asked the prime minister, who had just suggested Canadians “read” the Ottawa police’s plan themselves, how they could do that if every page after the third page of the plan had been blacked out.

“You say we should read the plan, we can’t,” Choudhry said to Trudeau. He exhorted the prime minister to instruct government lawyers to lift those redactions “for the sake of transparency for this commission.”

The inquiry is tasked with determining whether the Trudeau government met the legal bar to invoke the exceptional powers of the Emergencies Act on Feb. 14 to end the Freedom Convoy blockades against pandemic health restrictions.

  1. Commissioner Paul Rouleau rests on his hands as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appears as a witnesses at the Public Order Emergency Commission in Ottawa, on Friday, Nov. 25, 2022.

    As Emergencies Act inquiry closes, commissioner says he has the evidence he needs

  2. Justice Minister David Lametti testfied at the Emergencies Act inquiry he felt unsafe being in Ottawa during the Freedom Convoy protests.

    Justice Minister inquired about using Emergencies Act just two days into Freedom Convoy protest

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Despite some party’s frustrations regarding government document redactions and various claims of privilege protections, commission Paul Rouleau said in his closing statement Friday evening that he had everything he needed to fulfill his mandate.

“There were a staggering number of documents produced by the parties in response to the Commission’s requests, including by the federal government. The productions have been of critical importance to the Commission’s mandate and have resulted in a level of transparency that is, if not unprecedented, I’d say it’s virtually unprecedented,” Rouleau said.

“I’m satisfied that I now have the evidence that I need to make the factual findings and to answer the questions” at the core of his mandate, he added.

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But no redactions have elicited as much metaphorical headbanging as the government’s claim of solicitor-client privilege, which it used to keep secret legal advice it received before invoking the Emergencies Act.

A frustration that extends into commission staff itself. On Wednesday, inquiry lawyer Gordon Campbell went so far as to lament the government of Canada’s lack of transparency publicly.

“We would observe that we have from the beginning of this proceeding through till now attempted to find a way to lift the veil that has made such a black box of what has turned out to be a central issue before the hearing,” he said.

“We just regret that it ends up being an absence of transparency on the part of the government.”

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Over the final two weeks of testimony at the inquiry, many lawyers grilled top federal bureaucrats, ministers and staffers about their government’s use of redactions in a large swath of documents, from police plans to political staff’s notes. Most times, they received evasive responses or none at all.

Nearly every time, a government lawyer pipped up to object to the question.

Some redactions are because the information is considered “irrelevant.” In others, it is considered “cabinet confidence” (despite seemingly not relating to a cabinet discussion, lawyers have argued in some cases). Often, they are redacted under the guise that revealing the information could pose a threat to national security.

But the extremely tight deadline under which the commission is operating precludes parties from contesting redactions in court.

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Thousands upon thousands of documents have been submitted to the inquiry, and lawyers complained that some were only provided in the early hours of the morning before a crucial witness. “We’re all in the same boat here,” commission Paul Rouleau stated many times.

In two rulings this week, Rouleau declined an application by Freedom Corp. to force the government to remove redactions from a host of documents. He argued he had no reason to doubt they were made in good faith after having reviewed a few of them himself.

“Canada has reviewed the documents in question and re-assessed whether they constitute cabinet confidences. I have no reason to question the good faith of their review,” he wrote. “Having completed that review, I see no useful purpose in ordering that the redactions be lifted.”

Also in response to the Freedom Corp.’s request, the government of Canada reviewed its own redactions and removed a handful of them proactively.

This week, Freedom Convoy Ottawa organizers lawyer Brendan Miller also criticized the media for not having lawyers participate in the commission and fighting for more documents.

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Sat, 26 Nov 2022 17:46:00 -0600 en-CA text/html
Killexams : The Respect for Marriage Act Is Also a Victory for Same-Sex-Marriage Opponents

When the Supreme Court declared, in 2015, that the Constitution requires all states to license and recognize same-sex marriages, Justice Antonin Scalia, in dissent, claimed that the content of laws about marriage was not of “special importance” to him. What did matter, he wrote, is “who it is that rules me”—and the Obergefell v. Hodges decision, he lamented, “says that my Ruler, and the Ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine lawyers on the Supreme Court.” What made the Court’s decision so objectionable, in other words, was that Justices, rather than legislators, were dictating rules about marriage.

Conservatives had long made the same objection to the Roe v. Wade decision: that it restrained what a legislature might do regarding the question of abortion. So, when the Court overruled Roe, in June, allowing legislatures to prohibit or regulate abortion as they wished, it was surprising that Justice Samuel Alito’s opinion for the majority took pains to insist that same-sex marriage precedents, though built on the same legal foundation as abortion rights, would be safe from similar overruling in the future. Justice Clarence Thomas, writing separately, offered no such assurance: he stated that the Court should go ahead and reconsider the entire line of Supreme Court precedents, including the right to same-sex marriage. Members of Congress jumped into action to prepare for the possibility that, at some point, this constitutional right would be eliminated, just as the right to abortion was. In short order, the Respect for Marriage Act passed the House in July, and an amended version passed the Senate last week; the House voted its final approval today. The bill requires the federal government and the states to treat a couple as married if the couple was validly married in any of the states—or was married abroad, and could have been married in any of the states. In doing so, it repeals the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996, which defined marriage as “a legal union between one man and one woman” and allowed states not to “give effect to any marriage between persons of the same sex.”

Congress’s purpose is for the Respect for Marriage Act to be in place as a safety net in the event that the Court ever overrules its same-sex-marriage precedents. President Biden celebrated the bill’s passage, saying, “Americans should have the right to marry the person they love.” Senator Tammy Baldwin, who is a lead sponsor, along with Senator Susan Collins, expressed that it would “ease the fear that millions of same-sex and interracial couples have that their freedoms and their rights could be stripped away” by the Court. (Abortion looks to be on a somewhat different path. Federal bills that would protect abortion nationally rather than leaving it to each state to decide—including the Women’s Health Protection Act—have not made significant headway. Thus, we have a patchwork country, in which half the states prohibit abortion while the other half do not—the situation that Dobbs underwrote and unleashed.)

But it is important to recognize that the Respect for Marriage Act of 2022 will not come close to doing what the Court has done with regard to same-sex marriage since 2015, or interracial marriage since 1967. It provides neither a right nor access to same-sex or any other kind of marriage. If Obergefell were to be overruled, even with the Respect for Marriage Act as a fallback, it would result in two classes of marriage in our country: one that is available in every state and another that may be entered into only in some states. Perhaps what is really to be celebrated is Congress managing to pass any law protecting same-sex marriage, even partially. And it is a hopeful sign of more health than dysfunction in our system of government that members of Congress were able to act on their constituents’ disapproval of the Court’s anticipated direction and pass a law addressing it.

Some may even think of the Respect for Marriage Act as a warning to the conservative Justices that the public wants them to keep the constitutional right to same-sex marriage intact. But there is another possibility—that the new statute will prove to the Court that Congress has the capacity and the will to legislate on the matter. Congress also seems to have indicated its view that the states should determine their marriage-licensing laws for themselves, so long as they deliver full faith and credit to other states’ marriages. The message that the conservative Court takes from Congress’s enactment of the law may be the opposite of what liberals want: that the Court should feel comfortable getting out of marriage regulation and leaving it to legislatures. It would not be surprising to see a conservative majority overrule Obergefell while claiming that the Court is simply removing restraints on the democratic legislative processes, and pointing to the Respect for Marriage Act as an example of how the people can speak through their elected representatives.

Wondering whether the victory of the Respect for Marriage Act may actually be a loss might seem strange, given the exultation of Democratic leaders in Congress over the bill’s passage. But the bill managed to garner the support of twelve Republican Senators for a reason. It includes a section providing that nonprofit religious organizations—everything from churches to faith-based social agencies and religious educational institutions—“shall not be required to provide services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges for the solemnization or celebration of a marriage.” In other words, if a Jewish community center or Brigham Young University has space that it rents out for weddings, it is permitted to refuse to do so for same-sex (or interracial) weddings. When this bill is signed into law, there will be a federal statute that makes a resolution of conflict between religious freedom and gay-rights claims explicit in a way that it arguably was not before, clearly favoring a religious group over a gay couple—even though the conflict involves open questions on the relationship between the First Amendment and antidiscrimination laws. The Court considered, but did not resolve, these questions in a 2018 case about a Christian baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. And this term the Court is considering the free-speech case of a Web designer who does not wish to create wedding Web sites for same-sex couples. The conservative majority looks likely to side with the Web designer. Though that case involves a private business rather than a nonprofit, Congress’s new message approving religious organizations’ refusal to provide services for same-sex marriages makes that result seem more probable.

The idea that the statute offers some protections for same-sex marriage with one hand and meaningfully takes some away with the other was reflected in the comments of Senator Dan Sullivan, Republican of Alaska, who explained that the bill, which he voted for, “is much more about promoting and expanding religious liberty protections than same-sex marriage.” He stated that it “has the strongest religious liberty protections for religious organizations that believe in traditional marriage since the passage of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” the 1993 law that subjected burdens on a person’s free exercise of religion, even if the burden comes from a generally applicable law, to strict scrutiny—the most stringent form of judicial review.

In the Respect for Marriage Act, Congress is stating public values about L.G.B.T. inclusion and about religious freedom. Democratic supporters recognize that it is an important first step to protect marriage equality in the event that the Court overrules its same-sex-marriage precedents. Republican supporters may also see it as a significant step in a march toward codifying permission for religious people to discriminate against L.G.B.T. people. They both appear to be right. ♦

Thu, 08 Dec 2022 08:46:00 -0600 en-US text/html
Killexams : Electoral Count Act of 1887: Part 8—Comparison of H.R. 8873 and S. 4573 Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute

Pending in the U.S. Senate, as of its adjournment for the midterm elections, was S. 4573, Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute, to reform the 1887 Electoral Count Act, as codified in 3 U.S.C. §§1-21 (2000). It was proposed by Senate Rules Committee Chair Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Ranking Minority Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) who is retiring. It would supersede the version of S. 4573 introduced last July by Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) previously discussed in the seven prior New York Law Journal articles in this series. S. 4573 would also amend the Presidential Transition Act of 1963 to ensure its even-handed administration during presidential transitions between Election Day and the January 20 inauguration.

The House of Representatives passed H.R. 8873, the Presidential Election Reform Act, by 229 to 203 on Sept. 21, 2022. The Act has since been delivered to the Senate, but it remains at the desk and has not been referred to a committee at this time.

Thu, 08 Dec 2022 01:03:00 -0600 en text/html
Killexams : TMC writes to EC over Gokhale arrest, questions charges under RP Act

New Delhi, Dec 9 (PTI) The TMC has written to the chief election commissioner, demanding an inquiry into the actions of the Gujarat Police over the arrest of party spokesperson Saket Gokhale, alleging he was being “falsely implicated”.

Hours after he secured bail from a metropolitan court on Thursday, the Gujarat Police arrested Gokhale again in a case related to his tweet about the Morbi bridge collapse tragedy.

The TMC leader had on December 1 tweeted a news clipping about information purportedly obtained through a Right to Information application, claiming that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Morbi after the bridge collapse cost Rs 30 crore.

Soon after, the Press Information Bureau tweeted a ‘fact check’, saying the information was fake. An FIR was registered against Gokhale on charges of forgery and printing defamatory content, and he was arrested on December 6.

He was granted bail by the court in Ahmedabad on Thursday, following the completion of his police custody, but hours later, he was arrested in another case registered by Morbi police.

The TMC, which has sent a three-member delegation to Ahmedabad, asked why Gokhale was being charged under section 125 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 which relates to promoting enmity between classes in connection with an election.

“We would urge you to order an immediate inquiry into the action initiated by the Gujarat Police by falsely implicating Saket Gokhale and to put an end to all such physical, mental harassment inflicted upon him, not to speak of the loss of social and political reputation he is having in the eye of the people.

“We would also request you to take appropriate action against the police officials who would be found guilty in perpetrating such ghastly show of muscle power by misusing the provisions of RP Act in the manner epitomized above,” the letter said.

The letter further said Gokhale has not committed any offence in connection with any election for which provisions under section 125 of RP Act, 1951 can be levelled against him.

It also said that section 125 of the RP Act, 1951 is a bailable section and any person arrested under it has the right to get bail from the police station concerned.

“But in the instant case, Saket Gokhale has been dragged from one case to another and the Gujarat Police arrested him from Jaipur in Rajasthan to take him to Ahmedabad in Gujarat without any jurisdiction and/or legal authority in the first place and then again from Ahmedabad to Morbi Police Station on false and fabricated case,” it said.

The party also questioned why the section was not raised when Chief Minister of Assam Himanta Biswa Sarma reportedly “preached and fanned communalism and hatred towards religious minorities while campaigning in the recently held Assembly Election in Gujarat” or against Paresh Rawal, ex-MP of the BJP, who “preached hatred against the Bengali community while campaigning in the run up of Gujarat Assembly election”.

The party attached news reports of the statements made by the two with the letter.

Gokhale, national spokesperson of the TMC, was arrested by the Gujarat Police from Jaipur on December 6 and taken to Ahmedabad, where he was granted bail by the court on December 8.

However, the party alleged that when Gokhale was leaving the Cyber Crime police station in Ahmedabad, the Gujarat Police again arrested him without any warrant or court order purportedly in connection with another case. PTI ASG IJT

This report is auto-generated from PTI news service. ThePrint holds no responsibility for its content.

Fri, 09 Dec 2022 00:32:00 -0600 en-US text/html
Killexams : Succession right of tribal women: SC directs Centre to consider amending provisions of Hindu Succession Act

Observing that a female tribal is entitled to parity with male tribal in intestate succession, the Supreme Court on Friday directed the Centre to examine the issue and consider amending the provisions of the Hindu Succession Act so as to make it applicable to the members of the Scheduled Tribes.

The top court said when the daughter belonging to the non­-tribal is entitled to equal share in the property of her father, there is no reason to deny such a right to the daughter of tribal communities.

As per Section 2(2) of the Hindu Succession Act, the Hindu Succession Act will not be applicable to members of the Scheduled Tribes.

A bench of Justices M R Shah and Krishna Murari said there is no justification for denying the right of survivorship (a right of a person to property on the death of another having a joint interest) so far as the female members of Scheduled Tribes are concerned. ''It is directed to examine the question by the Central Government to consider it just and necessary to withdraw the exemptions provided under the Hindu Succession Act in so far as the applicability of the provisions of the Hindu Succession Act to the Scheduled Tribes and whether to bring a suitable amendment or not. ''We hope and trust that the Central Government will look into the matter and take an appropriate decision taking into consideration the right to equality guaranteed under Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India,'' the bench said.

The apex court said a female tribal is entitled to parity with male tribal in intestate succession.

''To deny the equal right to the daughter belonging to the tribal even after a period of 70 years of the Constitution of India under which right to equality is guaranteed, it is high time for the Central Government to look into the matter and if required, to amend the provisions of the Hindu Succession Act by which the Hindu Succession Act is not made applicable to the members of the Scheduled Tribe,'' the bench said.

The top court's observations came while dismissing a plea on whether a daughter (belonging to Scheduled Tribes) is entitled to the share in the compensation with respect to the land acquired on survivorship basis under the provisions of the Hindu Succession Act.

''Therefore, so long as Section 2(2) of the Hindu Succession Act stands and there is no amendment, the parties shall be governed by the provisions of Section 2(2) of the Hindu Succession Act. ''Therefore, though on equity we may be with the appellant being daughter and more than approximately 70 years have passed after the enactment of the Hindu Succession Act and much water has flown thereafter and though we are prima facie of the opinion that not to grant the benefit of survivorship to the daughter in the property of the father can be said to be bad in law and cannot be justified in the present scenario, unless Section 2(2) of the Hindu Succession Act is amended, the parties being member of the Scheduled Tribe are governed by Section 2(2) of the Hindu Succession Act,'' the bench said.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Thu, 08 Dec 2022 21:56:00 -0600 en text/html
Killexams : Constitutional questions: UCP ministers say proposed Sovereignty Act won't violate the law

Some of the Alberta Sovereignty Act's former critics are now defending it, as questions about its constitutionality continue to swirl.

"We have taken advice of legal experts and lawyers - that was one of the key questions we all had," said Rajan Sawhney, Alberta's minister of trade, immigration and multiculturalism and former UCP leadership rival to Premier Danielle Smith.

"We didn't want anything on the floor that was deemed unconstitutional, we wanted to make sure the rule of law was held, that is what fundamental democracies are based on."

The act, introduced in the legislature on Tuesday, could ultimately deliver the provincial government the right to direct its various arms not to enforce federal rules if they're deemed to be "harmful to Albertans."  

While this could include things such as energy, education and healthcare, many are concerned it could also be expanded to ignore federal laws.

Critics say the province is attempting to ignore the constitution and the courts, which have the final say on the rule of law.

Brian Jean, another former rival-turned-supporter of Smith, says if the federal government doesn't want a fight with Alberta, it shouldn't start one.

"If (the federal government) is going to infringe on our jurisdiction, they're going to have conflict.

"I think business would like a government that sticks up for them, whether its the fertilizer industry, the cow/calf producers, manufacturers," said Jean, Alberta's minister of jobs, economy and northern development.

"The constitution clearly lays out the powers of Ottawa and the powers of the provinces, and as long as the government of Ottawa stays in their lane, they don't have anything to worry about," he said.

Eric Adams, a law professor at the University of Alberta, believes once the Sovereignty Act is passed, it will only be a matter of time before it's challenged.

"Do I think there will be a quiet life for the Sovereignty Act in the back room of some dusty shelf of legislative acts? No, that wouldn't be my best guess," Adams said.

"It's such a significant piece of legislation. It departs markedly from anything we've seen before (and) it's almost inevitable that it finds it way into court."

Many members of the business community, including the Calgary Chamber of Commerce, have criticized the proposed bill, saying its inherent conflict with federal laws could drive business away.

However, Rick Christiaanse, CEO of Invest Alberta, says Alberta's growing economy and work force are the main thing investors are looking at.

"Investors make decisions based on two main criteria," he said.

"Number one is their a market for their product and number two is there work force: they can hire to execute their plans.

"Alberta is incredibly well positioned in both of those regards. We are close to the US and we have excellent access to Asia... and we will continue to build on those strengths."

Thu, 01 Dec 2022 11:50:00 -0600 en text/html
Killexams : Questions over consultations persist as Sask. First Act passes second reading

The Saskatchewan First Act, a bill asserting provincial jurisdiction over natural resources, passed its second practicing at the legislature on Monday.

There was support from both parties, although some MLA’s were not in attendance for the vote.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Sask. Party MLA Jeremy Harrison said the second practicing is the most important stage of debate in the chamber.

“That is where you debate the principle of the bill, that is where you have a vote on the principle of the bill, and that is where if the bill is voted against, it dies,” he said.

While the NDP support some parts of the bill, they do have some concerns.

“Of course we support standing up for Saskatchewan, especially our rights to our resources,” said NDP MLA Nicole Sarauer. “We have some serious concerns about consultations on this bill.”

Sarauer said she is looking forward to the bill going to committee so they can get some answers.

“That’s when we’re actually going to be able to ask officials the questions that we’re hearing from stakeholders that we want the answers to,” she said.

“We aren’t getting those answers at adjourned [second reading] debates.”

Harrison said the NDP could have raised their issues at second practicing but they chose to vote for the bill.

“I’ve actually never heard of a party before, anywhere, saying that, ‘Okay we’re going to support something at second reading, even though we oppose the bill,” he said.

“If they’re going to oppose a bill, they vote against it.”

Sarauer said they are hearing some concerns from stakeholders which they want to be able to talk about.

“That opportunity is with the government, if they’ll allow it, is at the committee level,” she said.

Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Bronwyn Eyre, introduced the bill into the legislative assembly on Nov. 1, 2022.

Tue, 29 Nov 2022 12:30:00 -0600 en text/html
Killexams : Bail reform workshop Wednesday night answers questions surrounding SAFE-T Act

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. – Questions about the Illinois bail and pretrial detention laws drew so many comparisons to a horror movie that several supporters will answer questions in a forum in East St. Louis on Wednesday night.

“Oh yeah, the barber keeps me tight you know,” laughed Brotha Dre, East St. Louis Hub Organizer of Black Men Build.

Dre is proud of his afro and his barber, but he knows the barbershop can also be ground zero for heated debate.

“Some people would like to associate the SAFE-T Act with the Purge Law.”

He was referring to the fictional horror film The Purge from Universal Pictures, in which serious and lethal felonies were temporarily legal. He was also referring to the Safety, Accountability, Fairness, and Equity Today Act and the Pretrial Fairness Act.

Both laws abolish cash bail and state guidelines for judges to decide who to release and who to keep in jail before trial. Both laws take effect January 1, 2023. Dre shared that myths about the law are moving from social media to real life conversations.

“Actually, it was just word-of-mouth hearing the people in the neighborhood talk, particularly in our barbershops,” Dre revealed.

In September 2022, Madison County, Illinois’ State Attorney Tom Haine told FOX 2 and KLPR News 11 that the new laws would hurt public safety.

“Risk to innocent civilians would no longer be a reason for a judge to detain someone who’s charged for the first-time offense of kidnapping, or for the first-time offense of burglary; even second-degree murder, arson.”

“That is so untrue,” said Marie Franklin, a former member of the Illinois Network for Pretrial Justice, which helped push the laws through the Illinois General Assembly.

“You have to show information and show evidence that this person is a threat, and that will deliver the judge the means by which to detain a person.”

Until 1997, Franklin was also an Illinois State Police Trooper. She shared that she conducted a traffic stop, in which the driver had a warrant for outstanding video-rental fees. Decades later, Franklin expressed that stop still haunts her.

“I had to arrest him, because the warrant had been issued, and he had a small child with him. He needed $500 to get out of jail that he did not have – and my hands were tied.”

Black Men Build will host a workshop on the new laws, where Franklin will speak. J.D. Dixon from the social-justice group Empire 13 will also speak. He heard and saw similar comparisons for the bail-reform laws.

“I’ve seen videos,” Dixon shared. “I’ve even heard people in our community call it The Purge Law.”

Justice Quarterly issued a report in 2011. It named Cook County, Illinois, as one of five counties where black detainees could face bail amounts that were thousands of dollars higher than those of white detainees.
The report stated that this left black people waiting longer in jail than whites before trial.

Dixon said that is why he will be at the forum Wednesday night.

“It’s imperative, especially in the Black community, that we know our rights, that we know our laws, that we know the legislation that affects us directly on a daily basis.”

SAFE-T and Pretrial Fairness Acts Workshop

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

7:00 p.m. CST

Trinity United Methodist Church

1411 Missouri Ave.

East St. Louis, MO 62201

Wed, 30 Nov 2022 02:29:00 -0600 en-US text/html
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