Saturday, July 4, 2015

Sweeping reforms made for child protection services

Steve Eckert and A.J. Lagoe, Investigative Reporter 12 a.m. EDT July 1, 2015


ST. PAUL, Minn. - Reforms in Minnesota's child protection system go into effect Wednesday, July 1, including a requirement that all complaints to child protection be forwarded to police for possible investigation.

The new measure comes in the wake of reports of multiple child protection failures including the case of eight adopted special needs children who were allowed to live in filthy conditions. They lived in deplorable conditions in a Richfield house for years despite state mandated visits from a nurse and warnings reported to Hennepin County Child Protection.


Children lived in filth despite warnings to officials

KARE 11 first reported the story in April, showing images of bare mattresses stained with animal feces and urine, junk-filled rooms and mold-covered bathrooms.

The Davies' house was declared 'Unsafe for Human Occupancy' by the city of Richfield in February 2015 (Photo: Permission granted to KARE 11 by photographers)

New records indicate a report of alleged physical abuse of the children was received by child protection, but it was not forwarded to local police. That is something the new law is designed to change.

"Something definitely could have been done earlier," said Andrew Davies, now 20, the oldest of the children. He grew up in the home and says the problems went beyond a filthy house.

"I was abused," he told KARE 11's A.J. Lagoe. "Slapped around. Got like nails in the back of my neck. Even got thrown down the stairs one time."

The children were finally removed from the home and placed in protective custody in January, after Andrew called a family friend for help. Local building officials inspected the house and declared it "unsafe for human occupancy."

In February Andrew filed a formal child maltreatment report, claiming that his adult, adopted sister Erin Davies, the mother of two of the adopted children and a state-paid caregiver for the others, "physically abused" most of the children. He claims she threw a "bucket of hot cleaning water" at them, clawing their necks and slapping them "across the face." He also reported that she was "not giving the kids their medications" and, instead, "using them herself."

Erin Davies has not responded to KARE 11's attempts to discuss the allegations with her.

Andrew's report was far from being the first time CPS was warned the kids were at risk. Someone else made a report in 2010 that "a child was maltreated," but a copy of a child protection letter about the case shows that Hennepin County "determined child protective services are not needed."

Before that, there were other reports.

A woman who is a "mandated reporter" – meaning she's required by law to report suspected abuse she sees – told KARE 11's Lagoe that she made several official reports about the Davies house, once after scraping a dead cat off the floor of a child's bedroom.

"You made reports to child protective services?" asked Lagoe.

"I have. I have in the past, yes," said the woman, who asked that we not use her name.

"It's dead animals, it's animal feces," she recalled. "It's so much more than you could ever just think of."

Her warnings, she says, were ignored.

Child protection records aren't public, so it's hard to know what happened behind the scenes. But Hennepin County told KARE 11 that if a report is "screened in" or opened for investigation it's automatically forwarded to local law enforcement.

So KARE 11 went to Richfield, where the Davies house was located, and asked the police department if CPS ever forwarded any of those reports to them. The answer was no.

That tells us child protection likely "screened out" the reports and never bothered to actually investigate if the kids living there were in danger.

In fact, that's what has been happening to most child protection complaints. State data shows Hennepin County, which received more than 15,000 child protection reports last year, screened out nearly two-thirds of them. A review of the most recent federal data shows that in 2013, more than 70% of child abuse reports were screened out in Minnesota, without any protective action. That was the third highest rate in the country.

"I think most of us in the child welfare area would say there were too many cases screened out over time," said Rex Holzemer, Hennepin County's Assistant Administrator for Human Services.

Holzemer says the underfunded, understaffed system has in essence been running a triage system.

"Neglect compared to a sexual abuse case or a physical abuse case - especially a gross physical abuse case - is gonna fall to a lower priority," he said.

Hennepin County commissioned a recently completed report on their child safety system. It didn't mention any specific cases, but concluded child neglect has been "a low priority." The study concluded that reports of abuse and neglect were being screened out on "questionable grounds."


Child Protection cases closed on 'questionable grounds'

The issue of screened out reports exploded onto the headlines last year following the death of Eric Dean, a 4-year-old Pope County boy killed by his father's fiancé, Amanda Peltier.

Despite 15 warnings that he was being abused, Poe County Child Protection did not intervene.

In the wake of the little boy's death, Governor Mark Dayton appointed a special Governor's task force to recommend reforms. During a public hearing this spring, the filthy house in Richfield was one of the cases cited by witnesses.

In addition to statewide reforms, the Hennepin County Board plans to vote next week on a plan to add nearly 100 new workers to the local child protection staff.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Expunging or sealing records Article


Setting Aside Convictions and Restoring Civil Rights


Re-entering one’s community after the completion of a prison sentence is very challenging. Success can be difficult for many reasons. This article addresses one of the steps a person with a felony conviction might take towards overcoming barriers to successful community re-entry. The article provides information about setting aside both felony and misdemeanor convictions, restoring civil rights and restoring gun rights, based on Arizona law.

The outcome of any case depends on the unique facts in that case, the laws at the time of conviction, new laws that may apply, and the individual decision-making of the parties involved including the defendant, attorneys, victims, the Court, and any other interested persons. Since the outcome of a case depends on many different things, this article is intended as information only. It is not legal advice. An attorney can provide additional information and legal advice. Therefore, questions about an individual situation should be discussed with an attorney.

What is expungement? In Arizona, expungement means the same as “set aside.”

What is “set aside”? Set aside means to cancel or revoke a judgment or order. Usually, the original record is modified or changed. The original is still available.

What is the difference between an expungement and a set aside?

Generally, something expunged, no longer exists. It is gone. It is wiped out. On the other hand, usually something “set aside” is not destroyed but it is not the same as the original. The original has not vanished. It is not wiped out. In the case of a criminal record, the original may still be available for use.

Can expungement and set aside have the same meaning?

Yes. The two terms can be very confusing. One reason for the confusion is that these terms are interchangeable sometimes. In other words, even though they are defined differently, they can also mean the same thing.  Sometimes a record that is “set aside” is called an expunged record. Sometimes a record that is expunged is not wiped out and is actually set aside and can be used again. Note that in Arizona, expungement means the same thing as “set aside.”

What does expungement and set aside have to do with criminal convictions?

Expungement and set aside are tools that persons convicted of crimes might be able to use to lessen the negative impact of their criminal conviction and criminal record.

Does every state view expungement and “set aside” in the same way?

No. Each individual state decides what expungement and/or set aside means in its state.  States may look to one another to see how laws are defined, but each state makes its own decision about expungement and setting aside criminal convictions. This article only addresses Arizona law.

How does Arizona view expungement and “setting aside” convictions?

In Arizona, expungement has the same meaning as setting aside. Expungement does not wipe out the conviction. The record of conviction is not destroyed. For the protection of the public, a conviction may be used to deny certain kinds of employment, licenses, permits, certificates as well as used against a person in future criminal cases, even though the conviction was set aside or expunged.

In Arizona, after a conviction is expunged or set aside, does a person have to disclose the expunged conviction on a job application or in a job interview?

A person whose conviction has been set aside or expunged must disclose the conviction if the employment application asks whether the person has a prior conviction. An applicant must report previous conviction of an offense, if asked about prior convictions during a job interview. However, the applicant should also report that the conviction “has been vacated (or set aside) and the charges dismissed.” The court uses this language in setting aside a conviction.

Where are Arizona’s laws about expungement and setting aside a conviction?

Arizona does not presently have an ‘expungement’ statute.  The laws about setting aside a conviction are presently found in A.R.S. §§ 13-904 – 912 . A.R.S. § 13-907  permits a person convicted of a felony to request a "set aside" of a felony conviction under certain circumstances. The statutes use the term “set aside the judgment.” An application to have your conviction set aside may use the language “vacate judgment and dismiss charges.” In this situation, “setting aside a conviction,” means the same thing as “vacating judgment and dismissing the charges.”

What does a criminal record show when a conviction is set aside or expunged?

The law does not require that a conviction be removed from a person’s criminal record. It is required that the record show that the conviction has been set aside. When a conviction is expunged or set aside in Arizona, a records check will probably show the original charge and conviction. However, it should also show that the judgment was vacated and that an order of dismissal was entered.

What are the benefits of having a felony conviction set aside?

For someone convicted of a felony, a set aside can be very important because it has the effect of releasing the defendant from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the conviction with some exceptions. (See A.R.S. §§ 28-3304 – 3308). Although there is a priorfelony conviction, the record also indicates that the person successfully completed all court requirements and the Court vacated the judgment and dismissed the charges. This has the effect of putting the felony offense in a person’s past as long as there are no present or future convictions. The focus moves to the present and to positive attributes, rather than on past transgressions.

What are the benefits having a misdemeanor conviction set aside?

For someone convicted of a misdemeanor, the benefits of a set aside are less because misdemeanor convictions do not impose the same restrictions on constitutional rights that a felony does. In addition, a misdemeanor does not carry the same stigma in the community as a felony conviction. Further, there may not be the same barriers to employment and housing. However, some misdemeanor convictions, such as drug convictions, can present obstacles to employment and housing so a set aside may be helpful.

Who might be able to set aside a conviction in Arizona?

A set aside may be available if a person was convicted of a felony in an Arizona Superior Court and that person has an absolute discharge from probation or prison. If a person is convicted of a misdemeanor in a Justice or City Court and successfully completes all court orders, that person might be eligible to have the conviction set aside.

                A set aside is not available to a person convicted of a criminal offense:

    1. Involving the infliction of serious physical injury,

    2. Involving the use or exhibition of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument,

    3. For which the person is required or ordered by the court to register as a sex offender, A.R.S. § 13-3821

    4. For which there has been a finding of sexual motivation under A.R.S. § 13-118

    5. In which the victim is a minor under 15 years of age, or

    6. In violation of A.R.S. § 28-3473, any local ordinance relating to stopping, standing or operation of a vehicle or title 28, chapter 3, except a violation of §28-693 or any local ordinance relating to the same subject matter as A.R.S. § 28-693.

What happens if the Court grants a person’s request to set aside a conviction?

If the Court grants the application to set aside a conviction, the Court will set aside the judgment of guilt. The Court will dismiss the accusations or the information (the document that charges a person with a crime). Then the Court will order the person’s release from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the conviction, except:

  1. The penalties and disabilities imposed by the department of transportation under A.R.S. §§ 28-3304, 28-3306, 28-3307, 28-3308 or 28-3319, except that the conviction may be used if the conviction would be admissible had it not been set aside;

  2. The set aside conviction may be pleaded and proved in any subsequent prosecution of that person for any offense or

  3. It may be used by the department of transportation to enforce A.R.S. §§ 28-3304, 28-3306, 28-3307, 28-3308 or 28-3319 as if it had not been set aside.

When might a person be eligible to get their civil rights restored after a felony conviction?

A felony conviction results in the suspension of some civil rights which may include the right to vote, hold public office, serve on a jury, and possess firearms. Usually, these civil rights are not suspended for misdemeanor convictions so this process may not apply. Again, the laws change so look at current law and the laws in place when the person was convicted and consider speaking with an attorney.

A person might be able to have civil rights restored if that person has an absolute discharge from probation or if it has been at least two years since that person’s absolute discharge from prison. While the restoration of civil rights may be available to felony offenders convicted in a County Superior Court in Arizona or in federal court, Arizona Courts do not have the authority to set aside convictions or restore guns rights to persons convicted in federal court.

Will a person’s gun rights be restored as part of restoring civil rights?

Whether a person’s gun rights are restored may depend upon the date of conviction, any court-ordered terms and that person’s criminal and social history record. The laws may be different now from the laws in place when a person was convicted. Therefore, look at the laws from the time of conviction. If the law is different now, then find out which laws apply to an individual case.

Requests to restore civil rights and restore gun rights are separate orders, but the requests can be submitted to the Court at same time as the request to set aside the conviction.

How does a person apply to have a conviction set aside, civil rights restored and gun rights restored?

To restore these rights, a person would file a request with the Superior Court in the county where the conviction occurred. For a federal conviction, a person would submit an application to the Superior Court in the county where that person lives. Instructions for setting aside a conviction, restoring civil rights, and restoring gun rights can be found at the following websites:

If the county in which the person was convicted does not have these forms online, contact the Clerk’s Office in the county where the conviction occurred to see which forms could be used. Contact information for County Superior Court Clerks can be found at
Remember that the instructions and the legal forms may use the “set-aside” language used in the statutes or it may use the words “vacate the judgment of guilt.” The words in the statute, “set aside judgment,” have the same meaning as the words used in the instructions and on the form “vacate judgment of guilt and dismiss charges”.

What happens after a person submits the application to set aside a conviction, to restore civil rights and to restore gun rights?

The Court will review the application and may grant the request, deny the request, set a hearing or set orders the Court believes is appropriate in the person’s case. For questions about the hearing, call the Court that set the hearing or contact an attorney.

What can a person do if the Court denies the request?

If the Court denies the request, a person can file a request for reconsideration, depending upon the reason for the denial. Instructions and forms for requesting a reconsideration can be found on the Courts’ websites. A person planning to request a reconsideration may want to discuss the request with an attorney before filing it.

List of Detention Camps, Temporary Detention Centers, and Department of Justice Internment Camps


Permanent detention camps that held internees from March, 1942 until their closing in 1945 and 1946.

Amache (Granada), Colorado Opened August 24, 1942. Closed October 15, 1945. Peak population 7318. Origin of prisoners: Nothern California coast, West Sacramento Valley, Northern San Joaquin Valley, Los Angeles. 31 Japanese Americans from Amache volunteered and lost their lives in World War II. 120 died here between August 27, 1942 and October 14, 1945. In April, 1944, 36 draft resisters were sent to Tucson, AZ Federal Prison.

Gila River, Arizona Opened July 20, 1942. Closed November 10, 1945. Peak Population 13,348. Origin of prisoners: Sacramento Delta, Fresno County, Los Angeles area. Divided into Canal Camp and Butte Camp. Over 1100 citizens from both camps served in the U.S. Armed Services. The names of 23 war dead are engraved on a plaque here. The State of Arizona accredited the schools in both camps. 97 students graduated from Canal High School in 1944. Nearly 1000 prisoners worked in the 8000 acres of farmland around Canal Camp, growing vegetables and raising livestock.2

Heart Mountain, Wyoming Opened August 12, 1942. Closed November 10, 1945. Peak population 10,767. Origin of prisoners: Santa Clara County, Los Angeles, Central Washington. In November, 1942, Japanese American hospital workers walked out because of pay discrimination between Japanese American and Caucasian American workers. In July, 1944, 63 prisoners who had resisted the draft were convicted and sentenced to 3 years in prison. The camp was made up of 468 buildings, divided into 20 blocks. Each block had 2 laundry-toilet buildings. Each building had 6 rooms each. Rooms ranged in size from 16' x 20' to 20' x 24'. There were 200 administrative employees, 124 soldiers, and 3 officers. Military police were stationed in 9 guard towers, equipped with high beam search lights, and surrounded by barbed wire fencing around the camp.

Jerome, Arkansas Opened October 6, 1942. Closed June 30, 1944. Peak population 8497. Origin of prisoners: Central San Joaquin Valley, San Pedro Bay area. After the Japanese Americans in Jerome were moved to Rohwer and other camps or relocated to the east in June, 1944, Jerome was used to hold German POWs.

Manzanar, California Opened March 21, 1942. Closed November 21, 1945. Peak population 10,046. Origin of prisoners: Los Angeles, San Fernando Valley, San Joaquin County, Bainbridge Island, Washington. It was the first of the ten camps to open -- initially as a processing center.

Minidoka, Idaho Opened August 10, 1942. Closed October 28, 1945. Peak population 9397. Origin of prisoners: Seattle and Pierce County, Washington, Portland and Northwestern Oregon. 73 Minidoka prisoners died in military service.

Poston (aka Colorado River), Arizona Opened May 8, 1942. Closed November 28, 1945. Peak population 17,814. Origin of prisoners: Southern California, Kern County, Fresno, Monterey Bay Area, Sacramento County, Southern Arizona. 24 Japanese Americans held at Poston later lost their lives in World War II. Poston was divided into three separate camps -- I, II, and III.

Rohwer, Arkansas Opened September 18, 1942. Closed November 30, 1945. Peak population 8475. Origin of prisoners: Los Angeles and Stockton.

Topaz (aka Central Utah), Utah Opened September 11, 1942. Closed October 31, 1945. Peak population 8130. Origin of prisoners: San Francisco Bay Area.

Tule Lake, California Opened May 27, 1942. Closed March 20, 1946. Peak population 18,789. Origin of prisoners: Sacramento area, Southwestern Oregon, and Western Washington; later, segregated internees were brought in from all West Coast states and Hawaii. One of the most turbulent camps -- prisoners held frequent protest demonstrations and strikes.


Temporary detention centers were used from late March, 1942 until mid-October, 1942, when internees were moved to the ten more permanent internment prisons. These temporary sites were mainly located on large fairgrounds or race tracks in visible and public locations. It would be impossible for local populace to say that they were unaware of the removal and imprisonment of Japanese Americans.

Tanforan Temporary Detention Center

Tanforan Temporary Detention Center, San Bruno, CA

Fresno, California First inmate arrival May 6, 1942. Last inmate departure October 30, 1942. Peak population 5120.

Manzanar, California First inmate arrival March 21, 1942. Peak population (before June 1, 1942) 9666. Before it was leased from the City of Los Angeles, Manzanar was once ranch and farm land until it reverted to desert conditions. Manzanar was transfered from the WCCA to WRA on June 1, 1942, and converted into a "relocation camp."

Marysville, California First inmate arrival May 8, 1942. Last inmate departure June 29, 1942. Peak population 2451.

Mayer, Arizona First inmate arrival May 7, 1942. Last inmate departure June 2, 1942. Peak population 245. Mayer was a camp abaondoned by the Civilian Conservation Corp.

Merced, California First inmate arrival May 6, 1942. Last inmate departure September 15, 1942. Peak population 4508.

Pinedale, California First inmate arrival May 7, 1942. Last inmate departure July 23, 1942. Peak population 4792. Pinedale was the previous site of a mill.

Pomona, California First inmate arrival May 7, 1942. Last inmate departure August 24, 1942. Peak population 5434.

Portland, Oregon First inmate arrival May 2, 1942. Last inmate departure September 10, 1942. Peak population 3676. Portland used the Pacific International Live Stock Exposition Facilities to hold detainees.

Puyallup, Washington First inmate arrival April 28, 1942. Last inmate departure September 12, 1942. Peak population 7390.5

Sacramento, California First inmate arrival May 6, 1942. Last inmate departure June 26, 1942. Peak population 4739. Sacramento used a former migrant camp.

Salinas, California First inmate arrival April 27, 1942. Last inmate departure July 4, 1942. Peak population 3594.

Santa Anita, California First inmate arrival March 27, 1942. Last inmate departure October 27, 1942. Peak population 18,719.

Stockton, California First inmate arrival May 10, 1942. Last inmate departure October 17, 1942. Peak population 4271.

Tanforan, San Bruno, California First inmate arrival April 28, 1942. Last inmate departure October 13, 1942. Peak population 7816. Tanforan is now a large shopping mall by the same name.

Tulare, California First inmate arrival April 20, 1942. Last inmate departure September 4, 1942. Peak population 4978.

Turlock, Byron, California First inmate arrival April 30, 1942. Last inmate departure August 12, 1942. Peak population 3662.


27 U.S. Department of Justice Camps (most at Crystal City, Texas, but also Seagoville, Texas; Kooskia, Idaho; Santa Fe, NM; and Ft. Missoula, Montana) were used to incarcerate 2,260 "dangerous persons" of Japanese ancestry taken from 12 Latin American countries by the US State and Justice Departments. Approximately 1,800 were Japanese Peruvians. The U.S. government wanted them as bargaining chips for potential hostage exchanges with Japan, and actually did use. After the war, 1400 were prevented from returning to their former country, Peru. Over 900 Japanese Peruvians were deported to Japan. 300 fought it in the courts and were allowed to settle in Seabrook, NJ. Efforts to bring justice to the Japanese Peruvians are still active; for information contact Grace Shimizu, 510-528-7288.

Santa Fe, NM

Bismarck, ND

Crystal City, TX

Missoula, MT

Seagoville, Texas

Kooskia, Idaho

Ft. Missoula

Ft. Missoula, Montana Internment Camp

FEMA Executive Orders

Some people have referred to it as the "secret government" of the United States. It is not an elected body, it does not involve itself in public disclosures, and it even has a quasi-secret budget in the billions of dollars. This government organization has more power than the President of the United States or the Congress, it has the power to suspend laws, move entire populations, arrest and detain citizens without a warrant and hold them without trial, it can seize property, food supplies, transportation systems, and can suspend the Constitution. Not only is it the most powerful entity in the United States, but it was not even created under Constitutional law by the Congress. It was a product of a Presidential Executive Order. No, it is not the U.S. military nor the Central Intelligence Agency, they are subject to Congress. The organization is called FEMA, which stands for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Originally conceived in the Richard Nixon Administration, it was refined by President Jimmy Carter and given teeth in the Ronald Reagan and George Bush Administrations.

FEMA had one original concept when it was created, to assure the survivability of the United States government in the event of a nuclear attack on this nation. It was also provided with the task of being a federal coordinating body during times of domestic disasters, such as earthquakes, floods and hurricanes. Its awesome powers grow under the tutelage of people like Lt. Col. Oliver North and General Richard Secord, the architects on the Iran-Contra scandal and the looting of America's savings and loan institutions. FEMA has even been given control of the State Defense Forces, a rag-tag, often considered neo-Nazi, civilian army that will substitute for the National Guard, if the Guard is called to duty overseas.


Though it may be the most powerful organization in the United States, few people know it even exists. But it has crept into our private lives. Even mortgage papers contain FEMA's name in small print if the property in question is near a flood plain. FEMA was deeply involved in the Los Angeles riots and the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake in the San Francisco Bay Area. Some of the black helicopter traffic reported throughout the United States, but mainly in the West, California, Washington, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Colorado, are flown by FEMA personnel. FEMA has been given responsibility for many new disasters including urban forest fires, home heating emergencies, refugee situations, urban riots, and emergency planning for nuclear and toxic incidents. In the West, it works in conjunction with the Sixth Army. FEMA was created in a series of Executive Orders. A Presidential Executive Order, whether Constitutional or not, becomes law simply by its publication in the Federal Registry. Congress is by-passed.

Executive Order Number 12148 created the Federal Emergency Management Agency that is to interface with the Department of Defense for civil defense planning and funding. An "emergency czar" was appointed. FEMA has only spent about 6 percent of its budget on national emergencies. The bulk of their funding has been used for the construction of secret underground facilities to assure continuity of government in case of a major emergency, foreign or domestic.

Executive Order Number 12656 appointed the National Security Council as the principal body that should consider emergency powers. This allows the government to increase domestic intelligence and surveillance of U.S. citizens and would restrict the freedom of movement within the United States and grant the government the right to isolate large groups of civilians. The National Guard could be federalized to seal all borders and take control of U.S. air space and all ports of entry. Here are just a few Executive Orders associated with FEMA that would suspend the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. These Executive Orders have been on record for nearly 30 years and could be enacted by the stroke of a Presidential pen:

EXECUTIVE ORDER 10990 allows the government to take over all modes of transportation and control of highways and seaports.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 10995 allows the government to seize and control the communication media.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 10997 allows the government to take over all electrical power, gas, petroleum, fuels and minerals.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 10998 allows the government to take over all food resources and farms.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 11000 allows the government to mobilize civilians into work brigades under government supervision.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 11001 allows the government to take over all health, education and welfare functions.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 11002 designates the Postmaster General to operate a national registration of all persons.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 11003 allows the government to take over all airports and aircraft, including commercial aircraft.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 11004 allows the Housing and Finance Authority to relocate communities, build new housing with public funds, designate areas to be abandoned, and establish new locations for populations.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 11005 allows the government to take over railroads, inland waterways and public storage facilities.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 11051 specifies the responsibility of the Office of Emergency Planning and gives authorization to put all Executive Orders into effect in times of increased international tensions and economic or financial crisis.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 11310 grants authority to the Department of Justice to enforce the plans set out in Executive Orders, to institute industrial support, to establish judicial and legislative liaison, to control all aliens, to operate penal and correctional institutions, and to advise and assist the President.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 11049 assigns emergency preparedness function to federal departments and agencies, consolidating 21 operative Executive Orders issued over a fifteen year period.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 11921 allows the Federal Emergency Preparedness Agency to develop plans to establish control over the mechanisms of production and distribution, of energy sources, wages, salaries, credit and the flow of money in U.S. financial institution in any undefined national emergency. It also provides that when a state of emergency is declared by the President, Congress cannot review the action for six months. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has broad powers in every aspect of the nation.

General Frank Salzedo, chief of FEMA's Civil Security Division stated in a 1983 conference that he saw FEMA's role as a "new frontier in the protection of individual and governmental leaders from assassination, and of civil and military installations from sabotage and/or attack, as well as prevention of dissident groups from gaining access to U.S. opinion, or a global audience in times of crisis." FEMA's powers were consolidated by President Carter to incorporate: The National Security Act of 1947, which allows for the strategic relocation of industries, services, government and other essential economic activities, and to rationalize the requirements for manpower, resources and production facilities; The 1950 Defense Production Act, which gives the President sweeping powers over all aspects of the economy; The Act of August 29, 1916, which authorizes the Secretary of the Army, in time of war, to take possession of any transportation system for transporting troops, material, or any other purpose related to the emergency; and The International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which enables the President to seize the property of a foreign country or national. These powers were transferred to FEMA in a sweeping consolidation in 1979.


FEMA's deceptive role really did not come to light with much of the public until Hurricane Andrew smashed into the U.S. mainland. As Russell R. Dynes, director of the Disaster Research Center of the University of Delaware, wrote in The World and I, "...The eye of the political storm hovered over the Federal Emergency Management Agency. FEMA became a convenient target for criticism." Because FEMA was accused of dropping the ball in Florida, the media and Congress commenced to study this agency. What came out of the critical look was that FEMA was spending 12 times more for "black operations" than for disaster relief. It spent $1.3 billion building secret bunkers throughout the United States in anticipation of government disruption by foreign or domestic upheaval. Yet fewer than 20 members of Congress, only members with top security clearance, know of the $1.3 billion expenditure by FEMA for non-natural disaster situations. These few Congressional leaders state that FEMA has a "black curtain" around its operations. FEMA has worked on National Security programs since 1979, and its predecessor, the Federal Emergency Preparedness Agency, has secretly spent millions of dollars before being merged into FEMA by President Carter in 1979.

FEMA has developed 300 sophisticated mobile units that are capable of sustaining themselves for a month. The vehicles are located in five areas of the United States. They have tremendous communication systems and each contains a generator that would provide power to 120 homes, but have never been used for disaster relief. FEMA's enormous powers can be triggered easily. In any form of domestic or foreign problem, perceived and not always actual, emergency powers can be enacted. The President of the United States now has broader powers to declare martial law, which activates FEMA's extraordinary powers. Martial law can be declared during time of increased tension overseas, economic problems within the United States, such as a depression, civil unrest, such as demonstrations or scenes like the Los Angeles riots, and in a drug crisis.

These Presidential powers have increased with successive Crime Bills, particularly the 1991 and 1993 Crime Bills, which increase the power to suspend the rights guaranteed under the Constitution and to seize property of those suspected of being drug dealers, to individuals who participate in a public protest or demonstration. Under emergency plans already in existence, the power exists to suspend the Constitution and turn over the reigns of government to FEMA and appointing military commanders to run state and local governments. FEMA then would have the right to order the detention of anyone whom there is reasonable ground to believe...will engage in, or probably conspire with others to engage in acts of espionage or sabotage. The plan also authorized the establishment of concentration camps for detaining the accused, but no trial.

Three times since 1984, FEMA stood on the threshold of taking control of the nation. Once under President Reagan in 1984, and twice under President Bush in 1990 and 1992. But under those three scenarios, there was not a sufficient crisis to warrant risking martial law. Most experts on the subject of FEMA and Martial Law insisted that a crisis has to appear dangerous enough for the people of the United States before they would tolerate or accept complete government takeover. The typical crisis needed would be threat of imminent nuclear war, rioting in several U.S. cites simultaneously, a series of national disasters that affect widespread danger to the populous, massive terrorist attacks, a depression in which tens of millions are unemployed and without financial resources, or a major environmental disaster.


In April 1984, President Reagan signed Presidential Director Number 54 that allowed FEMA to engage in a secret national "readiness exercise" under the code name of REX 84. The exercise was to test FEMA's readiness to assume military authority in the event of a "State of Domestic National Emergency" concurrent with the launching of a direct United States military operation in Central America. The plan called for the deputation of U.S. military and National Guard units so that they could legally be used for domestic law enforcement. These units would be assigned to conduct sweeps and take into custody an estimated 400,000 undocumented Central American immigrants in the United States. The immigrants would be interned at 10 detention centers to be set up at military bases throughout the country.

REX 84 was so highly guarded that special metal security doors were placed on the fifth floor of the FEMA building in Washington, D.C. Even long-standing employees of the Civil Defense of the Federal Executive Department possessing the highest possible security clearances were not being allowed through the newly installed metal security doors. Only personnel wearing a special red Christian cross or crucifix lapel pin were allowed into the premises. Lt. Col. North was responsible for drawing up the emergency plan, which U.S. Attorney General William French Smith opposed vehemently. The plan called for the suspension of the Constitution, turning control of the government over to FEMA, appointment of military commanders to run state and local governments and the declaration of Martial Law. The Presidential Executive Orders to support such a plan were already in place. The plan also advocated the rounding up and transfer to "assembly centers or relocation camps" of a least 21 million American Negroes in the event of massive rioting or disorder, not unlike the rounding up of the Jews in Nazi Germany in the 1930s.

The second known time that FEMA stood by was in 1990 when Desert Storm was enacted. Prior to President Bush's invasion of Iraq, FEMA began to draft new legislation to increase its already formidable powers. One of the elements incorporated into the plan was to set up operations within any state or locality without the prior permission of local or state authorities. Such prior permission has always been required in the past. Much of the mechanism being set into place was in anticipation of the economic collapse of the Western World. The war with Iraq may have been conceived as a ploy to boost the bankrupt economy, but it only pushed the West into deeper recession. The third scenario for FEMA came with the Los Angeles riots after the Rodney King brutality verdict. Had the rioting spread to other cities, FEMA would have been empowered to step in. As it was, major rioting only occurred in the Los Angeles area, thus preventing a pretext for a FEMA response.

On July 5, 1987, the Miami Herald published reports on FEMA's new goals. The goal was to suspend the Constitution in the event of a national crisis, such as nuclear war, violent and widespread internal dissent, or national opposition to a U.S. military invasion abroad. Lt. Col. North was the architect. National Security Directive Number 52 issued in August 1982, pertains to the "Use of National Guard Troops to Quell Disturbances." The crux of the problem is that FEMA has the power to turn the United States into a police state in time of a real crisis or a manufactured crisis. Lt. Col. North virtually established the apparatus for dictatorship. Only the criticism of the Attorney General prevented the plans from being adopted. But intelligence reports indicate that FEMA has a folder with 22 Executive Orders for the President to sign in case of an emergency. It is believed those Executive Orders contain the framework of North's concepts, delayed by criticism but never truly abandoned. The crisis, as the government now sees it, is civil unrest. For generations, the government was concerned with nuclear war, but the violent and disruptive demonstrations that surrounded the Vietnam War era prompted President Nixon to change the direction of emergency powers from war time to times of domestic unrest.

Diana Reynolds, program director of the Edward R. Murrow Center, summed up the dangers of FEMA today and the public reaction to Martial Law in a drug crisis: "It was James Madison's worst nightmare that a righteous faction would someday be strong enough to sweep away the Constitutional restraints designed by the framers to prevent the tyranny of centralized power, excessive privilege, an arbitrary governmental authority over the individual. These restraints, the balancing and checking of powers among branches and layers of government, and the civil guarantees, would be the first casualties in a drug-induced national security state with Reagan's Civil Emergency Preparedness unleashed. Nevertheless, there would be those who would welcome NSC (National Security Council) into the drug fray, believing that increasing state police powers to emergency levels is the only way left to fight American's enemy within.

In the short run, a national security state would probably be a relief to those whose personal security and quality of life has been diminished by drugs or drug related crime. And, as the general public watches the progression of institutional chaos and social decay, they too may be willing to pay the ultimate price, one drug free America for 200 years of democracy."

The first targets in any FEMA emergency would be Hispanics and Blacks, the FEMA orders call for them to be rounded up and detained. Tax protesters, demonstrators against government military intervention outside U.S. borders, and people who maintain weapons in their homes are also targets. Operation Trojan Horse is a program designed to learn the identity of potential opponents to martial law. The program lures potential protesters into public forums, conducted by a "hero" of the people who advocates survival training. The list of names gathered at such meetings and rallies are computerized and then targeted in case of an emergency.

The most shining example of America to the world has been its peaceful transition of government from one administration to another. Despite crises of great magnitude, the United States has maintained its freedom and liberty. This nation now stands on the threshold of rule by non-elected people asserting non-Constitutional powers. Even Congress cannot review a Martial Law action until six months after it has been declared. For the first time in American history, the reigns of government would not be transferred from one elected element to another, but the Constitution, itself, can be suspended. The scenarios established to trigger FEMA into action are generally found in the society today, economic collapse, civil unrest, drug problems, terrorist attacks, and protests against American intervention in a foreign country. All these premises exist, it could only be a matter of time in which one of these triggers the entire emergency necessary to bring FEMA into action, and then it may be too late, because under the FEMA plan, there is no contingency by which Constitutional power is restored.

Domestic Violence and Gun Rights

If you have been convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence charge in the state of Arizona you cannot get your gun rights back. This applies even if you have had the charge set-aside and dismissed. Here’s why: the Domestic Violence Offender Gun Act that was passed by Congress in 1996. In short, the law states that any person convicted of a domestic violence offense is not allowed to legally possess any firearm or ammunition.

For someone to be able to own and possess a gun after a conviction, they need to have the state court set-aside or expunge the conviction. They will also need to explicitly restore the individual’s right to possess and own a firearm.

There is a process in place for convicted felons to get their gun rights back by getting their conviction set-aside of expunged. There is not a process for individuals convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence. The law has been challenged multiple times and has been upheld by the Supreme Court.

Currently there is no way for an individual convicted of misdemeanor domestic to have their gun rights restored within the state of Arizona. The solution to this problem lies with the state legislature. Arizona legislatures can remedy the problem by adding a provision to the state law allowing domestic violence convicted individuals to own and possess a firearm once their conviction is set-aside.

For answers to any questions that you might have related to gun rights and domestic violence, contact an attorney that is experienced in dealing with domestic violence related defense.

New 2015 laws tackle wages and weed, pet tattoos and tiger selfies

Soon, more Americans will be able to legally light a joint. Workers across the country will see a higher minimum wage. And states will crack down on everything from pet tattoos to cramped hen cages to selfies with tigers.

The new year will usher in thousands of new laws, covering these areas and much, much more.

Grabbing the headlines lately have been the marijuana legalization measures approved on Election Day in Oregon, Alaska and the District of Columbia.

Though marijuana is still considered illegal by the federal government, the two states and D.C. follow Colorado and Washington state in allowing it locally.

But residents there should stick to champagne to celebrate New Year's -- the Alaska measure isn't expected to take effect until February, and the Oregon measure doesn't green-light possession until July 2015. And the Washington, D.C., measure already is getting caught in the congressional grinder, as lawmakers try and block implementation.

On another front, a number of cities and roughly 20 states are raising their minimum wage next year.

The highest is in Oakland, Calif., which raised its citywide wage to $12.25 beginning in March, setting an increase every January based on cost-of-living adjustments. Similarly, San Francisco passed its own incremental hike, starting with a raise to $11.05 on Jan. 1.

Others expecting a wage increase in 2015 include workers in: Alaska ($8.75); Arkansas ($7.50); Nebraska ($8); and South Dakota ($8).

States are tackling issues that go well beyond marijuana and the minimum wage. They include:

Animal tattoos. In New York, a law signed Dec. 15 by Gov. Andrew Cuomo will make it a crime to pierce or tattoo animals.

The only exception will be for markings done under a veterinarian's supervision for a medical reason or identification. But anyone thinking of getting Fido a "ma" tattoo ... should think again. Penalties for violations range up to 15 days in jail and up to a $250 fine.

The law reportedly gained traction after the case of a woman trying to sell "gothic kittens" with piercings, as well as a New Yorker who tattooed his pit bull. The law takes effect in about four months.

Hen cages. In California, a 2008 ballot initiative going into effect on Jan. 1 will restrict the confinement of egg-laying hens, breeding sows and veal calves. The new law will require that they have enough space to move around, and not be kept in cramped cages.

It could be costly for farmers, but animal rights groups are hailing the changes. The Humane Society of the United States says the law goes further than any in the country when coupled with a law signed by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger that extends the space requirements for egg-laying hens to out-of-state suppliers.

Driver's licenses for illegal immigrants. Starting Thursday, California illegal immigrants will be able to apply for a state drivers' license under a 2013 law. Hundreds of thousands of applicants are expected.

Bag ban. Starting in July of 2015, the first part of a controversial plastic bag ban is set to go into effect in California.

In September, Gov. Jerry Brown signed SB270. It would pull plastic bags out of checkout counters at large grocery stores and supermarkets such as Wal-Mart and Target in the summer of next year, and convenience stores and pharmacies in 2016. The law does not apply to bags used for fruits, vegetables or meats, or to shopping bags used at other retailers.

However, business groups trying to overturn the law said Monday they've collected more than enough signatures to put their referendum on the November 2016 ballot. If the referendum qualifies, the nation's first statewide ban on single-use plastic bags will be suspended until voters weigh in, effectively buying plastic bag manufacturers more time.

Fracking bans. In November, voters in Athens, Ohio; Denton, Texas; and California's Mendocino and San Benito counties passed measures banning fracking, a practice in which high-pressure liquid, typically water, is shot through a drill hole in the earth as a means of getting at oil or natural gas. An oil company, Citadel Exploration, which had planned to conduct oil exploration on private lands in San Benito, has already filed a $1.2 billion claim with the county saying that is how much the company will lose from the fracking ban.

Data destruction. A Delaware law takes effect Jan. 1 requiring companies to scrub a host of customer information. It requires all "commercial entities" to take "all reasonable steps" to destroy consumers' personal identifying information that is "no longer to be retained by the commercial entity" by "shredding, erasing, or otherwise destroying or modifying" it -- "to make it entirely unreadable or indecipherable through any means."

Laptop rules. In New York, the state later this week will make it illegal to throw away laptops and other electronics in the regular trash. Instead, consumers must begin recycling old computers, televisions and video game consoles.

Tiger selfies. In New York in February, it becomes illegal to pose for a photo with a lion, tiger or other big cat. The measure, which specifically prohibits contact between members of the public and big cats at animal shows, passed after self-portraits with the animals started becoming more popular online, particularly with some young men on dating sites.

'Yes means yes.' In California, a "yes means yes" standard for sex between college students takes effect on Thursday, requiring "an affirmative, conscious and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity," meaning silence or a lack of resistance can no longer be deemed consent.

Sweet-beverage tax. In November, voters in Berkeley, Calif. passed a one-cent tax on certain sugary drinks, including soda and other beverages such as Snapple and Gatorade. The tax, in effect Jan. 1, will be paid by distributors, not retailers, but it is unclear how or if the higher cost will be passed on to consumers.

Pregnancy accommodation. As of Jan. 1, all employers with one or more workers in Illinois will be violating the civil rights of a pregnant employee if they do not make reasonable accommodations for that employee, or force them to take leave or fail to reinstate them to their position (or an equivalent position) after childbirth.

'Right to try.' A "Right to Try" law was passed by Arizona's citizens who will now be given access to medications, medical devices and other treatments that have passed first clinical trials but have not yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Eligible patients would have to be terminally ill and have exhausted all other FDA-approved treatments.'s Kelley Beaucar Vlahos and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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The Arizona Legislature passed and Gov. Jan Brewer signed 278 new laws this year. Most of them go into effect Thursday.

The majority of the new laws will have little day-to-day impact on the public, instead addressing state-budget issues, specific industries or regulating state agencies. Here are 10 new laws the public may want to take note of:

Boating: Creates a civil penalty for boaters operating a motorized watercraft who refuse to submit to a drug or alcohol test.

Abortions: Makes it a misdemeanor to help a minor get an abortion in violation of parental-consent regulations; eliminates a requirement that the state Department of Health Services first get a warrant to conduct an unannounced inspection of an abortion clinic during business hours if there is reasonable cause to believe it is violating licensing requirements.

Golf carts: Allows a golf cart or neighborhood electric vehicle to be driven on the roads or along the paved shoulder of a road in age-restricted communities in Maricopa County.

Carrying guns: Residents currently in the military or who have been honorably discharged from the military can qualify for a concealed-weapons permit starting at age 19 instead of 21.

Shooting guns: Counties may no longer prohibit or restrict the legal firing of a gun or use of archery equipment on private property.

Laser pointers: It is now a misdemeanor to knowingly aim a laser pointer at an occupied aircraft. The crime is considered assault if the act renders the pilot unable to safely fly the plane or causes serious injury to anyone on board.

Space flight: Limits a company's liability if a participant signs a liability release agreement and is injured or killed during a space flight.

Nude photos: It is a felony to display or distribute a photo or video of another person in a state of nudity or engaged in specific sexual activities if the subject has not consented to the disclosure.

Lost elderly: The Department of Safety will establish a silver alert notification system, which will issue alerts when a person age 65 or older vanishes under certain circumstances.

Growlers: Microbrewers can now sell growlers made of stainless steel, ceramic or non-porous plastic, in addition to glass.

New Gun Laws Take Effect Friday in Arizona

By Alan Korwin

It’s not a big day-to-day difference for most of us, but a significant difference in the operation of our state — the gun friendliest state in the Union. Thanks to the Arizona Citizens Defense League, and the Arizona State Rifle and Pistol Association, which you should join if you haven’t already, officials cannot create a registry of gun owners, and anti-rights bigots can’t go around destroying public assets just because they hate guns.

When the anti-rights people tell you they don’t want to eliminate guns, just compare that to the gun-destruction program they raced to complete before this new law took effect.

The only reason they stopped collecting guns to destroy is they ran out of anonymous money for buying them, and their time ran out. We passed a law to remove the loophole they found that let them burn up guns held by the police — guns that could have been sold instead through FBI background checks, with the money then used to fight crime.

They rushed to destroy this public property. Their agenda was right there on their sleeves. If Mayor Bloomberg’s money (or whoever, the money was anonymous) didn’t run out, they would still be buying guns to melt. If we didn’t close the loophole, they would still be melting guns. Tell me again — what guns wouldn’t they melt?


HB2326 — §13-3108. Language was tightened to stop officials from continuing to disregard existing law and prevent them from compiling firearm registries of innocent gun owners. (I would have preferred a comitatus law that provided jail time for any official who attempted such a thing. That will have to come later.)


HB2455 — §12-940 et seq., §13-3108. Protection of Firearms in Official Custody. “Property” was redefined in 2013 to include any guns that might come into officials’ possession for any reason. Such guns must be safely kept, honestly valued and handled only as defined by law. If officials take a gun from you, they must give you a detailed receipt, including how to retrieve it. If a gun that is legal to own and worth more than $150 is found and the owner is not known, a description of it must be publicly posted or published.


If it is unclaimed after 30 days, two things can happen. The gun can be sold to a licensed firearm dealer for resale to the public, or a law enforcement agency can trade it to a licensed dealer for anything the agency needs for its own work. In a sale, the money goes to the general fund. In a trade, the police get the goods. Either way, the firearms become available to the public through FBI background-checked sales. See §12-940 et seq. Firearms acquired by various agencies, a public asset in the hands of our government servants, can no longer be destroyed, under this law amended to prevent ongoing abuse of constitutionally protected property, by people who should be acting as honorable employees.

Although there is no time frame on the government agencies acting, they have a vested interest in doing so, because the property is worthless to them while it sits, since they are forbidden from using it for anything else. By trading it in they can use it for gear they need, which can be guns, ammo or anything else an FFL can provide, or they can get cold hard cash for it, which the politicians themselves get to use in the general fund. Politicians will get to decide which option, cash or trade, gets made.

The 30-day period allows rightful owners to claim the property, but it means people will have to be alert, and check the public postings. That typically occurs in the cheapest venue around. In Phoenix, that’s usually the Gila Bend Sun News, which has dirt cheap rates, and the fattest public notice section, which keeps the paper alive.

New AZ Car Seat Law Goes Into Effect TODAY, Aug. 2 New AZ Car Seat Law Goes Into Effect TODAY, Arizona

Are you ready parents? More importantly, are those kids who have been car seat FREE going to be ready to be back in seats starting Aug. 2?
The new car seat law in Arizona, effective Aug. 2, is changing. It will require children ages 5 - 7 and shorter than 4'10" tall to ride in a vehicle in a booster seat. This new law has extended the amount of time a child must be restrained by three years than the previous law.
The new law is aimed to reduce the amount of fatalities among children in our state. It is scary to think about, but the reality is that in Arizona, seven out of nine nine children between ages 5 and 7 who died in a vehicle crash in 2009 were not properly restrained in a booster seat, according to Arizona Department of Health Services.
Here are some important tips about car seats tha parents need to know about:
(The following are required by Arizona State Law)
1. All people riding in the front seat MUST wear a seatbelt regardless of age.
2. All children under the age of 5 years MUST be in a child restraint (car seat).
3. Infants from birth until 1 year old AND less than 20 pounds MUST be positioned in a reclining infant car seat facing backwards.
4. Toddlers from 1 to 5 years AND 20 to 40 pounds MUST be positioned in an upright toddler car seat facing forwards or backwards.
(The following are recommended, but not required by Arizona State Law)
5. Infants are safest in the car when facing backwards for as long as possible. Your child can safely face backwards as long as his/her head is 1 inch below the top of the car seat and there is room for his/her legs.
6. Move your child to a larger car seat before they reach the maximum weight limit. Testing reveals that the mounting clamps can fail in an accident when the child nears the weight limit. If your child reaches the weight maximum for the infant car seat before age 1, he/she must continue to face backwards in the bigger toddler seat at least until after the first birthday.
7. Children from 40-80 lbs. and under 4’9” should be in a booster seat. Automobile accidents are the #1 cause of death among 5 to 8 year olds. They also have a 58% greater risk of injury if they are only wearing a seat belt compared to a booster seat.
8. All children under the age of 13 should ride in the back seat. Never place a rear facing car seat in the front seat if the air bag is activated. Severe injury or death can result.
9. Never reuse a car seat after an accident. Car seats should be replaced every 3-5 years since the Arizona sun destroys the plastic. Never buy or borrow a used car seat for your child unless you are sure of the seat’s history and age.
10. Never drive anywhere for any distance with unrestrained passengers. Never allow children to unbuckle their belts - even for a moment. Never drive with children in the back of a pickup truck.

32 Laws That Came Into Effect for Arizona

Posted: Friday, July 3, 2015 9:05 am

By HOWARD FISCHER Capitol Media Services

PHOENIX — Today you’ll be able to escape speeding tickets twice as often, sell junk food to raise money for school programs and be able to hide your big Lottery win from friends and families, at least for awhile.

And you will no longer need a special motorcycle license to pilot a three-wheeled car — assuming you can find one to drive.

All those changes to state law enacted this past session by the Legislature take effect today.

Lawmakers approved 324 measures. Many are technical and affect only those in selected businesses, like changes to laws about scrap metal dealers and dictating how much banks need to pay in fees to open branch offices.

Others are feel-good bills, like declaring copper to be the official state metal to allowing motorists to obtain a special license plate whose proceeds would be used to provide scholarships to the children of people in the military. And that’s on top of more than 60 special license plates the state already has.

And there is the perennial tinkering with the state’s criminal code, much of it affecting only those who are lawbreakers.

But in that category fall several bills that could make otherwise law-abiding citizens into criminals.

Consider a new law that makes certain kinds of begging for food or money — or even selling Girl Scout cookies on the street — a crime if the sales pitch is too aggressive.

It makes it a crime for someone to solicit money or sell goods in a public area by knowingly or recklessly making physical contact with another person.

The measure also outlaws approaching or following the person being solicited in a way “to cause a reasonable person to fear imminent bodily harm.” And it bans continuing to solicit after being told to stop.

Another new law aimed at begging makes it a crime to push the crosswalk button if the purpose is not to cross the street but instead to stop traffic to beg or sell something to passing motorists.

That issue of traffic was on the minds of lawmakers this past session on several fronts.

Arizonans who have gotten speeding tickets have been able to wipe them off the books for years by attending defensive driving classes.

These classes are as expensive as paying the ticket. But pursuing the alternative means the citation won’t be reported to insurance companies, meaning no hike in premiums.

What’s changing is that motorists will be able to wipe out one ticket every 12 months, twice as often as now permitted.

The vote came over the objections of insurance industry lobbyists who argued that shielding information on bad drivers will mean good drivers pay more. But a majority of lawmakers sided with those who said the courses, which are now offered both in person and online, have merit in creating better drivers.

Motorcyclists also got legislative attention.

Lawmakers got rid of an antiquated and unenforced provision of law which requires motorcycles be equipped with handrails for passengers. And the same law finally makes “ape hangers” legal, those raised handlebars that are above the shoulders of the operators.

Separately, the law now will read that a passenger can ride on a motorcycle only if the bike is equipped to carry more than one person.

Legislators decided that it will no longer be necessary to have a special motorcycle license to operate three-wheeled vehicles — but only certain types.

The measure was crafted to help Elio Motors, which plans to build a car with two wheels in the front and one in the rear. The change means that more Arizonans would be able to legally operate the vehicle.

As written, though, the change applies only to vehicles if the driver and passengers ride in an enclosed seating area, it is equipped with a roll cage and safety belts, and, unlike a motorcycle, is controlled with a steering wheel and pedals.

Finally, lawmakers decided to formally legalize and regulate “party bikes.”

These are glorified bicycles with at least four that are propelled by an electric motor as well as the eight or more passengers sitting on either side behind the driver who can pedal. Also known as “pub crawlers” or “beer bikes,” they are popular in some commercial neighborhoods with night spots.

Only thing is, they have until now operated in a gray area of the law as they are not technically vehicles even though they operate on the streets. Under the new law, they will be classified as limousines, a category that will legally allow the passengers in back to drink.

Legislators also decided to flex their muscles and impose new limits on the rights of local governments.

For example, one measure bars cities from enacting regulations requiring background checks when guns are sold at city-owned facilities. It is aimed specifically at Tucson, which has such an ordinance.

Since the rule was put in place, gun-show operators have moved their operations to privately owned sites where the city ordinance does not apply. Now, however, they could once again return to the Tucson Convention Center and ignore the city ordinance.

Cities and counties are losing the ability of requiring developers to provide affordable housing as a condition of having a property rezoned or getting other necessary permits. But it does still allow cities to offer incentives to developers to create more affordable housing, like allowing more units to be constructed.

Lawmakers also agreed to block cities from banning plastic bags or charging for their use.

And another new law curbs the ability of counties to require owners of home-based businesses to make various improvements to their property, like installing shelving, display racks or new exterior doors. Business owners also are now permitted to display temporary signs on the property, no larger than 2 feet by 2 feet.

There are several measures that could fall under the category of providing less government regulation.

At issue are year-old federal guidelines that govern what can be sold to students during the day. They must meet certain nutritional requirements for calories, sugar, sodium and fat, with limits on volume and caffeine content for beverages.

Only thing is, the federal definition of what constitutes the school day includes some time afterwards. And that thwarted efforts to sell candy, cup cakes and even snow cones to raise money for special causes. This new state law allows the state school superintendent to grant exemptions.

Also taking effect is an exemption for people who apply makeup from laws that require state licensing of cosmetologists. But practitioners will have to post a sign saying they are not regulated

Thursday, July 2, 2015

7 Ways to Teach Kids What Independence Day Really Means


By Gary Drevitch

Talk with kids about American ideals

Grandchildren love Independence Day. There are hot dogs, beach parties, baseball games, and fireworks. But for young kids, there may also be questions about the significance of July 4th — for starters, What does "Independence Day" mean? As you answer their questions, you can give them some great reasons to love their country, on the Fourth and all year-round. Read on for seven patriotic talking points.



1. What is Independence Day?

The Fourth of July is our country's birthday. When grandchildren ask why, tell them what happened on July 4, 1776. That was the day our country's founders declared independence from Great Britain. This meant they would no longer follow the orders of Britain's king. To do this was extremely dangerous. At the time, Britain had one of the world's strongest armies, and to go against the king was a crime punishable by death. But the king's laws were unfair, so our founders decided it was worth the risk of war to win the freedom to govern themselves. In 1783, the new United States won that war, which we now call the Revolutionary War.


2. Why does the flag have those stars?

At this time of year, American flags are easy to spot. Point one out to your grandchildren. Explain that each part of the flag stands for something. The 50 stars stand for the 50 states. The 13 stripes stand for the 13 British colonies, which declared their independence on July 4, 1776. Tell the children that the flag is a symbol — a way to show the world what we stand for. It also shows that we are connected to one another — that we're on the same team. And because the flag is special, we treat it with respect.


3. What makes our country special?

Tell grandchildren that one thing that makes our country special is that it guarantees us certain rights, or freedoms. Explain how you use these rights every day when you pray (or decide not to), read a newspaper, or meet and talk with friends. Tell kids that you can do these things because our country guarantees us the freedom to practice religion the way we want, say or write what we want, and go where we want. Show older grandchildren how these rights are spelled out in the U.S. Constitution and its Bill of Rights. Ask the kids which rights are most important to them.


4. What does the government do for us?

Take your grandchildren on a tour of their town to show them the role that government plays in their lives. Talk about how many of the things they see represent the values of the people in their community. Explain that adults pay taxes to their local, state, and national government so that, among other things, the government can build and maintain facilities that reflect our values. Education is important to us, for example, so we build schools. Safety is a priority for us, so we put up traffic lights. And we want open places where we can gather, so we set aside space for parks. Children can also see the people who help the community, including police officers, firefighters, crossing guards, librarians, postal workers, and sanitation crews.


5. What does the president do?

Ask your grandchildren to imagine that they have been elected president of the U.S. (Make sure they understand that being a president is very different from being a king or a queen.) What would they do? Give all kids free ice cream? Make the world a peaceful place? Talk about what some of our presidents have done in difficult times; for instance, Abraham Lincoln helped lead a war to keep the country together, when some states wanted it to split in two. If grandchildren want to find out more about our presidents, share a book with them.


6. What can we do for our country?

Tell grandchildren that our country is like a family: Everyone has to pitch in or it doesn't work. As members of the U.S. "family" — in other words, as citizens — we all have certain responsibilities, like going to school, voting, and obeying the law. Discuss how being a good citizen also means taking care of the country, by keeping it clean, looking out for people in trouble, and staying informed about the problems that we face. Of course, actions always have more impact than words, so set an example by dedicating some of your time to volunteering in the community. Find a project that is important to both you and the kids, such as helping out at a school or cleaning up a playground.


7. What does it mean to be American?

In countries like China or Ireland, most residents share a common culture or ethnicity. But the United States is different. Here, what people share is a common idea — that people should have the freedom to live the way they want, and to work and earn money the best way they can. These freedoms have inspired people from all over the world to come to this country and become "Americans." This is a profound idea many children may never have considered and it might make them feel especially proud of their country, as well as more connected to other Americans of different backgrounds. It can also lead to a discussion about your own family's journey to the United States. Why did your relatives come? Why did they stay? Every family's story is part of the country's story. Make sure your grandchildren know yours









Q: Can law enforcement officers search my home or office?
A: Law enforcement officers can search your home only if they
have a warrant or your consent. In your absence, the police can
search your home based on the consent of your roommate or a
guest if the police reasonably believe that person has the
authority to consent. Law enforcement officers can search your
office only if they have a warrant or the consent of the employer.
If your employer consents to a search of your office, law
enforcement officers can search your workspace whether you
consent or not.
Q: What are warrants and what should I make sure
they say?
A: A warrant is a piece of paper signed by a judge giving law
enforcement officers permission to enter a home or other
building to do a search or make an arrest. A search warrant
allows law enforcement officers to enter the place described in
the warrant to look for and take items identified in the warrant.
An arrest warrant allows law enforcement officers to take you
into custody. An arrest warrant alone does not give law
enforcement officers the right to search your home (but they
can look in places where you might be hiding and they can take
evidence that is in plain sight), and a search warrant alone
does not give them the right to arrest you (but they can arrest
you if they find enough evidence to justify an arrest). A warrant
must contain the judge’s name, your name and address, the
date, place to be searched, a description of any items being
searched for, and the name of the agency that is conducting
the search or arrest. An arrest warrant that does not have your
name on it may still be validly used for your arrest if it
describes you with enough detail to identify you, and a search
warrant that does not have your name on it may still be valid if
it gives the correct address and description of the place the
officers will be searching. However, the fact that a piece of
paper says “warrant” on it does not always mean that it is an
arrest or search warrant. A warrant of deportation/removal,
for example, is a kind of administrative warrant and does not
grant the same authority to enter a home or other building to
do a search or make an arrest


What should I do if officers come to my house?
A: If law enforcement officers knock on your door, instead of opening
the door, ask through the door if they have a warrant. If the
answer is no, do not let them into your home and do not answer any
questions or say anything other than “I do not want to talk to you.” If
the officers say that they do have a warrant, ask the officers to slip
it under the door (or show it to you through a peephole, a window in
your door, or a door that is open only enough to see the warrant). If
you feel you must open the door, then step outside, close the door
behind you and ask to see the warrant. Make sure the search warrant
contains everything noted above, and tell the officers if they are
at the wrong address or if you see some other mistake in the warrant.
(And remember that an immigration “warrant of
removal/deportation” does not give the officer the authority to enter
your home.) If you tell the officers that the warrant is not complete
or not accurate, you should say you do not consent to the search,
but you should not interfere if the officers decide to do the search
even after you have told them they are mistaken. Call your lawyer
as soon as possible. Ask if you are allowed to watch the search; if
you are allowed to, you should. Take notes, including names, badge
numbers, which agency each officer is from, where they searched
and what they took. If others are present, have them act as witnesses
to watch carefully what is happening.
Q: Do I have to answer questions if law enforcement officers
have a search or arrest warrant?
A: No. Neither a search nor arrest warrant means you have to
answer questions.
Q: What if law enforcement officers do not have a search warrant?
A: You do not have to let law enforcement officers search your
home, and you do not have to answer their questions. Law enforcement
officers cannot get a warrant based on your refusal, nor can
they punish you for refusing to give consent.
Q: What if law enforcement officers tell me they will come
back with a search warrant if I do not let them in?
A: You can still tell them that you do not consent to the search and
that they need to get a warrant. The officers may or may not succeed
in getting a warrant if they follow through and ask the court
for one, but once you give your consent, they do not need to try to
get the court’s permission to do the search.


Q: What if law enforcement officers do not have a search
warrant, but they insist on searching my home even
after I object?
A: You should not interfere with the search in any way because
you could get arrested. But you should say clearly that you
have not given your consent and that the search is against your
wishes. If someone is there with you, ask him or her to witness
that you are not giving permission for the search. Call your
lawyer as soon as possible. Take note of the names and badge
numbers of the searching officers.


American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC):
(202) 244-2990
American Immigration Law Foundation (AILF):
(202) 742-5600
American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA):
(800) 954-0254
Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF):
(212) 966-5932
Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR):
(202) 488-8787
Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF):
(213) 629-2512
National Lawyers Guild (NLG):
(212) 679-5100
National Immigration Law Center (NILC):
(213) 639-3900
NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund (NAACP LDF):
(212) 965-2200
National Immigration Project:
(617) 227-9727
Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund (PRLDEF):
(800) 328-2322
South Asian American Leaders of Tomorrow (SAALT):
(310) 270-1855
U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (UCCR):
(800) 552-6843

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Proposed Law Would Let Police Enter Homes Without Warrants And Shoot Dogs

House Bill 1261 not only says police may enter homes without warrants, but they could actually kill a homeowner's pet if the dogs are “not under proper restraint when on the premises of its owner”.

By Jackson Marciana for Counter Current News | March 9, 2015

A new bill has been proposed which would allow police officers to enter any home, regardless of whether or not they have a warrant, if there is a pit bull on the property. Even worse, the bill would allow officers to shoot and kill the dog if only a handful of conditions were met.

The Huffington Post reported that measure would make Mississippi the only state in history with a policy against a specific dog breed.

House Bill 1261 not only says police may enter homes without warrants, but they could actually kill the animal if they determine the dogs are “not under proper restraint when on the premises of its owner” or if they are not wearing vaccination tags and “attempts to peacefully capture the dog have been made and proven unsuccessful.”

The bill is being called the Mississippi Regulation of Dangerous Dogs Act, and proponents say it is intended “create civil and criminal penalties for failing to keep dangerous dogs securely confined and under restraint, and for failing to meet certain requirements designed to protect the public.”

“This bill would make Mississippi the only state in the nation with a statewide policy discriminating against a specific dog breed, and the impact on local communities, animal shelters, and law enforcement would be disastrous,” Chloe Waterman, the senior manager of state legislative strategy for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said.

“Dogs permitted by their owners to run loose, and dogs who attack people or other animals, pose a serious problem to public safety. But breed-specific dangerous dog laws are ineffective, inhumane and costly.”

Kris Diaz, executive director of a group that advocates for breed-neutral legislation, said that “the fourth amendment clearly protects people from such actions.

“This bill effectively removes any protections people have from unreasonable search and seizure, and opens the door to using a dangerous dog claim as a way to scrutinize people for things they couldn’t otherwise get a warrant for.”


Supreme Court Rules That Cops DO NOT Need A Warrant

By Matt Agorist on February 26, 2014


In another devastating blow to freedom, the Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that police don’t need a warrant to search your property. As long as two occupants disagree about allowing officers to enter, and the resident who refuses access is then arrested, police may enter the residence.

“Instead of adhering to the warrant requirement,” Ginsburg wrote, “today’s decision tells the police they may dodge it, nevermind ample time to secure the approval of a neutral magistrate.” Tuesday’s ruling, she added, “shrinks to petite size our holding in Georgia v. Randolph.”

Georgia v. Randolph was a similar case the Supreme Court addressed in 2006, in which a domestic violence suspect would not allow police to enter his home, though his wife did offer police consent. The police ultimately entered the home. The Court ruled in the case that the man’s refusal while being present in the home should have kept authorities from entering.

“A physically present inhabitant’s express refusal of consent to a police search [of his home] is dispositive as to him, regardless of the consent of a fellow occupant,” the majority ruled in that case.

The majority, led by Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., said police need not take the time to get a magistrate’s approval before entering a home in such cases. But dissenters, led by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, warned that the decision would erode protections against warrantless home searches. The court had previously held that such protections were at the “very core” of the 4th Amendment and its ban on unreasonable searches and seizures, reports the LA Times.

According to the AP, Justice Samuel Alito wrote the court’s 6-3 decision holding that an occupant may not object to a search when he is not at home.

“We therefore hold that an occupant who is absent due to a lawful detention or arrest stands in the same shoes as an occupant who is absent for any other reason,” Alito said.

In other words, you have no property rights slave, and we can snoop through your personal belongings if we wish.

The implications for such a Stasi-esque interpretation of the 4th Amendment are staggering. This can and will open the door to even more unscrupulous police behavior. They will only need to say that someone may be in danger, and now they are justified in ransacking your home.

While this doesn’t particularly allow for police to choose and enter any home they wish, it is nothing to be downplayed, especially since Justice Ginsburg, one of their own, even stated that this could lead to even more erosion of what is left of the 4th Amendment.