ACLU

Both sides of the debate on how St. Louis would handle local control of its police department are digging in their heels over issues of public oversight and transparency.

At a Board of Alderman community forum last night, critics argued that language on a proposed ballot initiative would preclude the department from a civilian review board and restrict public access to disciplinary records. 

John Chasnoff is a program director for the ACLU, which supports local control but is suing to block the initiative.

(via Flickr/neil conway)

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed suit against the city of St. Louis, asking a judge to make the city turn over jail records related to inmate grievances.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the suit filed Wednesday accuses the city's corrections division of ignoring repeated requests over the past four months for records under the Missouri Sunshine Law.

The suit seeks an injunction forcing release of the records. It also asks the judge to find the city in violation of the law and to impose civil penalties.

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Some Republicans at odds with Nixon over state's job-creation tax breaks

Some Republican lawmakers are at odds with members of Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon's administration over whether Missouri's job-creation tax breaks have been a success or failure. During a House committee hearing Monday, figures showed a wide gap between the number of jobs anticipated and those actually created by businesses approved for aid under the Missouri Quality Jobs program. 

(St. Louis Public Radio)

The American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri is challenging language on a ballot initiative that would transfer control of the St. Louis Police Department from the state to the city.

ACLU Regional Program Director John Chasnoff says the initiative's summary, as it would appear on the ballot, fails to explain how the new law would restrict public oversight and access to records.

(via Flickr/Neil Conway)

Two lawsuits involving the use of motorized wheelchairs in Missouri prisons have been settled.

Jeffrey Rogers and Andrew Madden are inmates at the Jefferson City Correctional Center.  They had filed suit because state Department of Corrections policy only allowed use of manual wheelchairs, and other inmates were assigned to push them around.  Tony Rothert is with the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

A lawsuit over access to LGBT-related websites at a mid-Missouri public school was heard today in federal court in Jefferson City.

The case involves filtering software used by the Camdenton R-3 school district’s library.  The suit was filed by Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) and is backed by the American Civil Liberties Union.  Tony Rothert, Legal Director of the ACLU of Eastern Missouri, says the Camdenton Schools' library uses filtering software that blocks any mention of sex, not just pornography.

(via Flickr/k763)

A federal appeals court has ruled against a Missouri town's funeral protest ordinance, saying peaceful picketing is protected by the right to free speech under the First Amendment.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday upheld a district court ruling in favor of members of Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan.

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The St. Louis City Justice Center

Talks between the American Civil Liberties Union and the city of St. Louis on an independent panel to oversee the city's jails have stalled.

The talks were prompted by a 2009 ACLU report that alleged abuse and medical neglect at the city's Medium Security Institution (more commonly known as the city workhouse) and at the higher-security City Justice Center.

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