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Macklemore: "If You Like Being Free Like Me, Get The ACLU Card Today."

Macklemore: "If You Like Being Free Like Me, Get The ACLU Card Today."

By Doug Honig, ACLU of Washington at 12:28pm
Rap superstar Macklemore is urging his fans to get the card "that lets my gay friends marry the hell out of each other." That's the ACLU's legendary membership card. "If you like being free like me, get the ACLU card today," the award-winning rapper advises in a video he launched today.
Washington’s Marijuana Law Is Part of Reforming the Criminal Justice System

Washington’s Marijuana Law Is Part of Reforming the Criminal Justice System

By Mark Cooke, ACLU of Washington & Doug Honig, ACLU of Washington at 4:14pm

Voters in Washington state, along with those in Colorado, made history on Election Day by passing laws that legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana for adults 21 and over. Washington's law, Initiative 502 (I-502), passed with an 11-point margin, sending…

Seattle Becomes First City To Consider Drone Safeguards

Seattle Becomes First City To Consider Drone Safeguards

By Doug Honig, ACLU of Washington at 12:03pm

(Updated below)

A week ago, on a Friday afternoon, a reporter called us with news that the Seattle Police Department (SPD) had received permission from the Federal Aviation Administration to employ two unmanned aerial drones it had purchased.…

DADT on Trial: A "Dynamic" and "Exceptional" Service Member

DADT on Trial: A "Dynamic" and "Exceptional" Service Member

By Doug Honig, ACLU of Washington at 6:05pm

This week, the ACLU of Washington is before the U.S. District Court in Tacoma representing Maj. Margaret Witt, a decorated U.S. Air Force Flight nurse who was dismissed under the  discriminatory and counterproductive policy known as “Don’t…

Washington State Ends its Version of the Poll Tax

By Doug Honig, ACLU of Washington at 3:37pm

(Originally posted in Daily Kos.)

Washington state Gov. Chris Gregoire today is signing a bill that reforms the state's unfair and unworkable system for restoring voting rights. The action eliminates the requirement that citizens with felony convictions pay off all legal financial obligations before regaining their right to vote, and aligns the state with the overwhelming majority of other states in this country who recognize such requirements as being nothing more than a modern-day version of the poll tax.

Under the previous law, citizens with prior felony convictions could not vote until they had completely paid off fees and other costs associated with their sentence, which accrue at an annual percentage rate of 12 percent. An overwhelming majority of felony defendants are indigent at the time of sentencing, and many could never fully pay off their legal system debts — and as a result could not vote.

This system unfairly tied people's right to vote to their financial means. As Gov. Gregoire put it last year, "Once they have served their time, withholding certain rights due to fines becomes a virtual debtors' prison." It also disproportionately impacted people of color — the disenfranchisement rate among African-Americans in Washington is five times that of the general population, and roughly three times as high among Latinos.

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