12-03-2022  2:45 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Tough Oregon Gun Law Faces Legal Challenge, Could Be Delayed

Midterm voters narrowly passed one of the toughest gun control laws in the nation, but the new permit-to-purchase mandate and ban on high-capacity magazines faces a lawsuit that could put it on ice just days before it's set to take effect.

Portland Approves $27M for New Homeless Camps

Public opposition to the measure and the money that will fund it has been heated, with critics saying it will criminalize homelessness and fail to address its root causes.

Portland Settles Lawsuit Over Police Use of Tear Gas

The lawsuit was originally filed by Don't Shoot Portland in June 2020. “Our freedom of expression is the foundation of how we make social change possible,” Teressa Raiford said in a news release. “Black Lives Still Matter.”

Oregon Lawmakers Lift Security Measure Imposed on Senator

Since July 2019, Sen. Brian Boquist had been required to give 12 hours notice before coming to the Oregon State Capitol, to give the state police time to bolster their security and to ensure the safety of people in the Capitol.

NEWS BRIEFS

PBS Genealogy Show Seeks Viewers’ Brick Walls

The popular PBS show “Finding Your Roots” is putting out a nationwide casting call for a non-celebrity to be featured on season...

The James Museum Opens Black Pioneers: Legacy In The American West

This first-of-its-kind-exhibition explores Black history in the West with a timeline of pictorial quilts. ...

Use of Deadly Force Investigation Involving Clackamas County Sheriff and Oregon State Police Concludes

The grand jury’s role was solely to determine whether the involved officers’ conduct warranted criminal charges; questions...

Scientists call for action to help sunflower sea stars

ASTORIA, Ore. (AP) — Scientists along the West Coast are calling for action to help sunflower sea stars, among the largest sea stars in the world, recover from catastrophic population declines. Experts say a sea star wasting disease epidemic that began in 2013 has decimated about...

To address wealth gap, Wash. to consider K ‘baby bonds’

SEATTLE (AP) — Jennifer Bereskin dropped out of high school when she was 17. Her family was homeless, and she needed to get a job to buy food and afford bus fare. Couch surfing with friends in Everett, Lynnwood and Seattle, her dreams of college were put aside. “I was merely...

Missouri holds off Arkansas 29-27 to reach bowl eligibility

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Missouri and Arkansas will be headed to similar bowl games after the Tigers held off the Razorbacks 29-27 on Saturday night, leaving each of the bitter border rivals 6-6 on the season. Only one walked out of Faurot Field with victory cigars. Brady...

Rivalry week should bring SEC bowl forecast into clear focus

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — It’s rivalry week for most of the Southeastern Conference. The Egg Bowl. The Iron Bowl. The Palmetto Bowl. The Sunshine Showdown. Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate. The Battle Line Rivalry. It’s a chance for everyone to either avoid or add to the powerhouse...

OPINION

‘I Unreservedly Apologize’

The Oregonian commissioned a study of its history of racism, and published the report on Oct. 24, 2022. The Skanner is pleased to republish the apology written by the editor, Therese Bottomly. We hope other institutions will follow this example of looking...

City Officials Should Take Listening Lessons

Sisters of the Road share personal reflections of their staff after a town hall meeting at which people with lived experience of homelessness spoke ...

When Student Loan Repayments Resume, Will Problems Return Too?

HBCU borrowers question little loan forgiveness, delays to financial security ...

Tell the Supreme Court: We Still Need Affirmative Action

Opponents of affirmative action have been trying to destroy it for years. And now it looks like they just might get their chance. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Antisemitic celebrities stoke fears of normalizing hate

A surge of anti-Jewish vitriol, spread by a world-famous rapper, an NBA star and other prominent people, is stoking fears that public figures are normalizing hate and ramping up the risk of violence in a country already experiencing a sharp increase in antisemitism. Leaders of the...

Both sides see high stakes in gay rights Supreme Court case

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is being warned about the potentially dire consequences of a case next week involving a Christian graphic artist who objects to designing wedding websites for same-sex couples. Rule for the designer and the justices will expose not only same-sex...

GOP's Duarte takes California Central Valley US House seat

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Republican John Duarte defeated Democrat Adam Gray on Friday in a new California U.S. House district in the Central Valley farm belt that produced the closest congressional contest in the state this year. With virtually all of the ballots counted, Duarte has just...

ENTERTAINMENT

Prince William, like his father, prioritizes the environment

BOSTON (AP) — Prince William capped a three-day visit to Boston by meeting with President Joe Biden to share his vision for safeguarding the environment before attending a gala event Friday evening where he sounded an optimistic tone about solving the world’s environmental problems through...

LGBTQ chorus in Colorado Springs unifies community with song

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — Below the vaulted dome and dark wood beams of a church in Colorado Springs, a gay men's choir rehearsed for a concert that's taken on new meaning after an LGBTQ night club became the site of a shooting that killed five and wounded 17. “There is no...

Britney Spears' massive pop songs to land on Broadway, again

NEW YORK (AP) — A stage musical about woke princesses that uses hit songs by Britney Spears will land on Broadway this summer. "Once Upon a One More Time," featuring Spears' tunes, including “Oops!… I Did It Again,” “Lucky,” “Stronger” and “Toxic,” will start...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Polynesian pride: Three-day canoe voyage in mid-Pacific

RAPA NUI, Chile (AP) — The causes are worthy, the course is daunting – almost 500 kilometers (about 300 miles)...

Defeated election conspiracists seek to lead Michigan GOP

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Republicans who lost their races for Michigan's top three statewide offices after...

Messi scores again, Argentina into World Cup quarterfinals

AL RAYYAN, Qatar (AP) — Lionel Messi was pushed into the middle of a joyous post-match huddle as Argentina’s...

AP PHOTOS: Residents face new reality in retaken Kherson

KHERSON, Ukraine (AP) — When Ukraine wrested back Kherson from Russian occupiers nearly a month ago, it was a...

Russia rejects -a-barrel cap on its oil, warns of cutoffs

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russian authorities rejected a price cap on the country's oil set by Ukraine’s Western...

Thousands protest in South Korea in support of truckers

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Thousands of demonstrators representing organized labor marched in South Korea’s...

By Nedra Pickler of the Associated Press

By NEDRA PICKLER of The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) – Appeals court judges are expressingconcern about whether to overrule Congress' determination that some southern states and other jurisdictions still must have federal election monitoring to protect minority voting rights.

Alabama's Shelby County is challenging a requirement under the Voting Rights Act that governments with a history of discrimination obtain federal approval to change even minor election procedures. An attorney for the county argued in federal appeals court in Washington that the South has changed and that extraordinary oversight is no longer needed.

But two of three judges on the panel hearing the case Jan. 19 pointed out Congress renewed the provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act in 2006 after finding that discrimination still exists. A lower court endorsed that finding.

"Why shouldn't we defer to the judgment of Congress?" asked Judge Thomas Griffith, the Senate's former top lawyer and a nominee of President George W. Bush. Judge David Tatel, a former civil rights attorney and appointee of President Bill Clinton, asked similar questions.

Griffith pointed out that lawmakers spent a considerable amount of time weighing evidence of continued racial discrimination and that the Constitution gives the legislature power over decisions that affect the 15th Amendment's protections of voting rights for racial minorities.

"But that can't be without limitation," responded Shelby County's attorney, Bert Rein. He said the numbers of blacks registered to vote and elected to office has increased dramatically since the act was first passed and said those who implemented discriminatory practices in the 1960s are no longer in charge. "The South has changed," he said.

The county, located just south of Birmingham in central Alabama, sued Attorney General Eric Holder in 2010 to stop the monitoring required under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. The provision relies heavily on patterns of past discrimination to determine which state, county and local governments must obtain "preclearance" for election changes as minor as moving a polling place or redrawing school district lines. That clearance can come either from the Justice Department or from a federal court in Washington.

U.S. District Judge John Bates ruled against the county and upheld the law in September after reviewing 15,000 pages of congressional records and deciding that lawmakers were justified in finding that discrimination still existed in the covered jurisdictions.

The judge pointed to several examples of outright discrimination across the South since the 1980s, including legislators in Mississippi and Georgia using racial epithets during redistricting debates and reports of harassment of blacks at the polls in Texas and South Carolina.

According to the Justice Department Web site, Section 5 currently applies to the states of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia. It also covers certain counties in California, Florida, New York, North Carolina and South Dakota, as well as some local jurisdictions in Michigan and New Hampshire. Preclearance coverage under the act has been triggered by past discrimination not only against blacks, but also against American Indians, Asian-Americans, Alaskan Natives and Hispanics.

The same three-judge appellate panel, which also includes Ronald Reagan appointee Stephen Williams, is scheduled to hear another challenge to the law brought by North Carolina on Feb. 27.

Justice Department attorney Sarah Harrington argued that Section 5 has stopped discriminatory actions and said its protections are still needed. Although the Voting Rights Act has been called the most successful civil rights legislation in U.S. history, she said, "Things have not gotten better enough. There still continues to be a problem."

But Tatel reminded Harrington that the Supreme Court questioned in 2009 whether Southern states should still need advance approval of voting changes more than 40 years after the law was enacted. In that case, the justices avoided deciding whether the requirement is constitutional, which creates the possibility of the Shelby County or North Carolina cases reaching the high court.
Meanwhile in Wisconsin, a judge has delayed a decision on whether to let a lawsuit challenging Wisconsin's new voter identification law to proceed.  Dane County Circuit Judge Richard Niess on Thursday heard arguments from the League of Women Voters and attorneys representing Gov. Scott Walker and the state's elections board but did not rule.  Niess plans to be back in court to make a decision on March 9.The League of Women Voters say the law disenfranchises eligible voters. But supporters of the law say it helps prevent fraud.   The American Civil Liberties Union and the NAACP's Milwaukee chapter have also filed lawsuits against the law. Those suits are still pending.   The law is scheduled to be in effect for the state's spring primary in February.

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