06-21-2018  7:03 pm      •     
The Skanner Report
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NEWS BRIEFS

AG Rosenblum Seeks Info from Oregonians

Oregon Attorney General seeks information on children separated from families at border ...

Community Forum: How Does Law Enforcement Interact With Vulnerable Populations?

Forum will focus on public safety and examine mental health and addiction issues ...

King County Council Recognizes Juneteenth

The Metropolitan King County Council recognizes a true 'freedom day' in the United States ...

Unite Oregon Hosts ‘Mourn Pray Love, and Take Action’ June 20

Community is invited to gather at Terry Schrunk Plaza at 6 p.m. on World Refugee Day ...

MRG Foundation Announces Spring 2018 Grantees

Recipients include Oregon DACA Coalition, Kúkátónón Children’s African Dance Troupe, Komemma Cultural Protection Association ...

Washington, other states plan to sue over family separations

SEATAC, Wash. (AP) — Washington, California and at least nine other states are planning to sue the Trump administration over its separation of immigrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border, saying the president's executive order halting the practice is riddled with caveats and fails to...

Oregon allows rancher to kill a wolf after calves attacked

ENTERPRISE, Ore. (AP) — Oregon wildlife managers have issued a permit that allows a rancher in Eastern Oregon to kill a wolf after three of his calves were injured by the predators last week.The Department of Fish and Wildlife said Thursday they confirmed that the calves were hurt by wolves...

Infant found at Seattle encampment in protective custody

SEATTLE (AP) — A 5-month-old infant found at a Seattle homeless encampment is in protective custody as police investigate child neglect.Seattle Police said Thursday on its blog that the child was removed in late May from an unsanctioned homeless encampment where people were reportedly using...

Washington, other states plan to sue over family separations

SEATAC, Wash. (AP) — Washington, California and at least nine other states are planning to sue the Trump administration over its separation of immigrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border, saying the president's executive order halting the practice is riddled with caveats and fails to...

OPINION

How Washington’s 'School Achievement Index' Became School Spending Index

New assessment categorizes schools not by quality of education, but level of funding officials believe they should receive ...

Black Mamas Are Dying. We Can Stop It.

Congresswoman Robin Kelly plans to improve access to culturally-competent care with the MOMMA Act ...

Hey, Elected Officials: No More Chicken Dinners...We Need Policy

Jeffrey Boney says many elected officials who visit the Black community only during the election season get a pass for doing nothing ...

Juneteenth: Freedom's Promise Still Denied

Juneteenth is a celebration of the de facto end of slavery, but the proliferation of incarceration keeps liberation unfulfilled ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

3 men face hate crimes charges in Minnesota mosque bombing

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A grand jury added federal civil rights and hate crimes violations to the charges three Illinois men face in the bombing of a mosque in suburban Minneapolis, prosecutors announced Thursday.The new five-count indictment names Michael Hari, 47, Michael McWhorter, 29, and Joe...

Intel CEO out after consensual relationship with employee

NEW YORK (AP) — Intel CEO Brian Krzanich resigned after the company learned of what it called a past, consensual relationship with an employee.Intel said Thursday that the relationship was in violation of the company's non-fraternization policy, which applies to all managers. Spokesman...

Governor orders probe of abuse claims by immigrant children

WASHINGTON (AP) — Virginia's governor ordered state officials Thursday to investigate abuse claims by children at an immigration detention facility who said they were beaten while handcuffed and locked up for long periods in solitary confinement, left nude and shivering in concrete...

ENTERTAINMENT

Koko the gorilla used smarts, empathy to help change views

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Koko the gorilla, whose remarkable sign-language ability and motherly attachment to pet cats helped change the world's views about the intelligence of animals and their capacity for empathy, has died at 46.Koko was taught sign language from an early age as a scientific...

Directors Guild says industry is still mostly white and male

NEW YORK (AP) — A new study by the Directors Guild of America finds that despite high-profile releases like "Get Out" and "Wonder Woman," film directors remained overwhelmingly white and male among the movies released last year.The DGA examined all 651 feature films released theatrically in...

Demi Lovato sings about addiction struggles on 'Sober'

NEW YORK (AP) — Demi Lovato celebrated six years of sobriety in March, but her new song indicates she may no longer be sober.The pop star released "Sober " on YouTube on Thursday, singing lyrics like: "Momma, I'm so sorry I'm not sober anymore/And daddy please forgive me for the drinks...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

No. 1 Sun: Phoenix takes Ayton; Trae Young, Doncic swapped

NEW YORK (AP) — The Phoenix Suns stayed close to home for their first No. 1 pick. The Dallas Mavericks...

Charles Krauthammer, prominent conservative voice, has died

NEW YORK (AP) — Charles Krauthammer, the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and pundit who helped shape and...

ABC orders 'Roseanne' spinoff for fall minus Roseanne Barr

LOS ANGELES (AP) — ABC, which canceled its "Roseanne" revival over its star's racist tweet, said Thursday...

Suu Kyi says outside hate narratives driving Myanmar tension

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — A social media account run by the office of Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi quotes...

Merkel pledges 0 million loan for troubled Jordan

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday promised a 0 million loan to troubled...

Eurozone gets deal to pave way for end to Greece's bailout

LUXEMBOURG (AP) — Eurozone nations agreed on the final elements of a plan to get Greece out of its...

DAVID A. LIEB, Associated Press

They have nicknames like "the dead lizard," ''the praying mantis" and "the upside-down elephant."

The odd-shaped legislative districts that dot many states are no coincidence. The jagged lines often have been carefully drawn by state lawmakers to benefit particular incumbents or political parties. The tactic, known as gerrymandering, is nearly as old as the country itself.

It's also a maneuver that can result in an underrepresentation of minorities in some legislatures. Across the U.S, minorities now comprise nearly two-fifths of the population, yet hold less than one-fifth of all legislative seats, according to an Associated Press analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Congress and the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Federal guidelines require that legislative districts are similar in population and not drawn to deny minorities a chance to elect the candidate of their choice.

But racial gerrymandering can occur in a couple of ways: when minority communities are divided among multiple districts, thus diluting their voting strength; or when minorities are heavily packed into a single district, thus diminishing their likelihood of winning multiple seats.

Federal judges ruled recently that lawmakers illegally packed large numbers of black voters into congressional districts in North Carolina and Virginia. But the U.S. Supreme Court upheld an Arizona map that increased Hispanic percentages in some districts by loading more white voters in others. Lawsuits challenging the redistricting done after the 2010 census still are pending in several states.

Meanwhile, momentum appears to be building to pare back the role of partisan politics in redistricting.

The politically powerful states of California, Florida, New York and Ohio all have overhauled their redistricting processes in recent years. Nebraska lawmakers passed a measure this year to create an independent redistricting panel, though it was vetoed by a governor who cited constitutional concerns. Indiana is studying redistricting changes, and a redistricting initiative will appear on the ballot this fall in South Dakota.

Voters in Illinois also could decide this November on a proposed constitutional amendment that would strip the redistricting responsibility from the Legislature and hand it to a new 11-member citizen panel that would be barred from favoring any political party as it draws the boundaries.

"If you remove the partisan intent, then you make it much easier to draw maps that are fair for everyone, including minority groups," said Dave Mellet, campaign manager for Independent Maps, the organization sponsoring the Illinois initiative.

President Barack Obama also called for redistricting reforms earlier this year, suggesting that bipartisan groups handle the task.

In most places, state lawmakers currently divvy up districts every 10 years, after each census. But commissions are primarily responsible for U.S. congressional redistricting in six states and for state legislative redistricting in 13 states, with varying degrees of political independence.

Some minority lawmakers want to expand the use of special redistricting panels.

An appointed commission "creates the appearance of more fairness, and you'd have more of an opportunity for there to be more diversity if you do it that way," said Delaware state Sen. Margaret Rose Henry, the only black senator in a state where African-Americans comprise more than one-fifth of the population.

An independent commission began handling redistricting in California following the 2010 census as the result of a voter-approved initiative.

The nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California found that the maps produced by the independent commission included six additional Assembly districts where Latinos comprised a majority of residents and one more in the Senate. The maps also created the state's first district where Asian Americans were a majority.

Despite that, the number of Latinos in the California legislature declined from 28 in 2007 to 23 in 2015, according to figures from the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Assemblyman Luis Alejo, chairman of the California Latino Legislative Caucus, cites lower voter turnout and the departure of some Latino incumbents for the decline. He remains a supporter of the independent redistricting commission as "a less political process" and believes Latinos ultimately will benefit from it.

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