Crime

Stateline Midwest ~ April 2013

Kansas lawmakers have removed the statute of limitations for prosecuting cases of rape and aggravated criminal sodomy. Rape cases previously had to be prosecuted within five years, The Kansas City Star reports.

Stateline Midwest ~ March 2013

As part of what the American Civil Liberties Union calls “an unprecedented surge of activity” to address the domestic use of drones, legislators in three Midwestern states were considering new privacy protections as of late February.

It’s tough to tell which side is winning the latest round of what has become America’s confusing gun control debate. Legislation has been introduced at the federal level seeking a reinstitution of the expired assault weapons ban and limits on ammunition magazine capacity. Universal background checks for all gun sales—including private sales—is also on the table. But like so many issues in the hyper-divided Congress, real action is taking place not in Washington, but in the states.

Rep. Kelly Cassidy doesn’t have to go far from her office in Springfield to understand the deep division over gun control and gun owner rights in Illinois. Her suitemate inside the state capitol is not only a fellow legislator, but a fellow member of the House Democratic Caucus. She represents a part of Chicago; he represents a part of downstate Illinois. They respect each other and can find agreement on many issues, but not when it comes to what to do about the state’s gun laws. “We live in two different worlds,” she said.

Stateline Midwest ~ January 2013

Rep. Kelly Cassidy doesn’t have to go far from her office in Springfield to understand the deep division over gun control and gun owner rights in Illinois.

Her suite mate inside the state Capitol is not only a fellow legislator, but a fellow member of the House Democratic caucus. She represents a part of Chicago, he a part of downstate Illinois.

They respect one another and can find agreement on many issues, but not when it comes to what to do about the state’s gun laws.

“We live in two different worlds,” she says.

This term the U.S. Supreme Court will hear at least five cases involving Fourth Amendment searches.  Two involve drug sniffing dogs, one involves warrantless blood draws from DUI suspects, and another involves detaining a person who has left the premises before executing a search warrant.  In Maryland v. King the Supreme Court will decide whether the Fourth Amendment allows states to collect and analyze DNA, without a warrant, from people arrested and charged with serious crimes. 

The State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) filed an amicus brief in Maryland v. King, which CSG signed onto, because this case involves a challenge to the constitutionality of a state statute.  In fact, twenty-eight states and the federal government have adopted DNA arrest laws. 

Partly in response to concerns about a new crime known as “swatting,” Michigan legislators have passed a three-bill package that toughens penalties against people who falsely report a crime or medical emergency.

Yesterday, Colorado and Washington made history, becoming the first states to legalize small amounts of marijuana for recreational use.  The measures also call for the establishment of a state regulatory and taxation framework similar to those used for tobacco and alcohol.  Passage of the measures set up a potential showdown with the federal government, which still categorizes marijuana as a controlled substance.  

Colorado voters approved ...

Voters in three Western states – Colorado, Oregon, and Washington – will decide today whether to legalize the recreational use of marijuana by adults 21 and over, while also establishing a state regulatory and taxation framework similar to those used for tobacco and alcohol.  Passage of these measures would set up a showdown with the federal government, because the drug would still be illegal under federal law.

Stateline Midwest

Over the past year, in nearly every Midwestern state, legislatures have passed new laws to address the problem of human trafficking.

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