Clare Hanusz practices immigration law at Damon Key Leong Kupchak Hastert. A desire to advocate for immigrants after working with refugees in Arizona, spurred Clare to pursue a career in immigration law, and she enrolled in the William S. Richardson School of Law in 1996. Clare worked at Na Loio Loio (now the Hawaii Immigrant Justice Center at Legal Aid) heading up a Neighbor Island immigration project to bring legal services to immigrants in rural and isolated communities. In this episode, Clare and Mark discuss immigration issues in the 2016 Presidential election.
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As a child, A.Z. spent much of her free time writing, hoping one day to become a journalist. She moved one step closer to that dream when she was accepted to numerous universities with journalism programs. But when A.Z., kept anonymous to protect her privacy, applied for a Tuition Aid Grant from the State of New Jersey, she was rejected. Although A.Z. was born and raised in the United States, the state refused her grant application because her parents were “not legal New Jersey residents.” The New Jersey Higher Education Student Assistance Authority had determined A.Z.’s eligibility for aid based on the status of her mother, an undocumented immigrant, rather than on A.Z.’s American citizenship. Without state aid, she could not afford to attend a four-year university. Instead, she attended a community college with no journalism major and juggled a full-time job to pay for school. The ACLU-NJ appealed the state’s decision and on August 8 the State Appellate Division ruled that the State was wrong in denying A.Z. tuition aid.
Proposals addressing those topics were among more than 150 measures appearing on statewide ballots. California led the pack with 17 ballot questions, including one that would require actors in porn movies to wear condoms during filming of sexual intercourse. Another would ban single-use plastic grocery bags.
California was among five states – along with Arizona, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada – voting on whether to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Three others – Florida, Arkansas and North Dakota – decided whether to permit marijuana for medical purposes. Montanans voted on whether to ease restrictions on an existing medical marijuana law.
Collectively, it was the closest the U.S. has ever come to a national referendum on marijuana.
If ‘yes’ votes prevail across the board, more than 23 per cent of the U.S. population will live in states where recreational pot is legal. The jurisdictions where that’s already the case – Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington state and the District of Columbia – have less than 6 per cent of the population.
Another hot-button issue – gun control – was on the ballot in four states, including California, which already has some of the nation’s toughest gun-related laws.
Proposition 63 would outlaw possession of large-capacity ammunition magazines, require permits to buy ammunition and extend California’s unique program that allows authorities to seize firearms from owners who bought guns legally but are no longer allowed to own them.
In Maine and Nevada, a group founded by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg spent millions promoting ballot measures that would require background checks on nearly all gun sales and transfers.
Supporters say the changes would close gaps in the federal system that allow felons, domestic abusers and the mentally ill to buy firearms from private sellers at gun shows and online without a background check.
Washington state had a ballot measure that would allow judges to issue orders temporarily seizing guns from individuals who are deemed a threat.
California was one of three states voting on capital punishment, with two competing measures on its ballot. One would repeal the death penalty, which California has rarely used in recent decades. The other would speed up appeals so convicted murderers are actually executed.
In Nebraska, voters were deciding whether to reinstate the death penalty, which the Legislature repealed last year. Oklahoma residents voted on whether to make it harder to abolish capital punishment.
Among the other topics addressed by ballot measures:
MINIMUM WAGE: Arizona, Colorado and Maine were considering phased-in minimum hourly wages by 2020. In Washington state, where the minimum wage is .47 an hour, voters weighed raising that to .50 an hour by 2020. The federal minimum wage is .25 an hour.
HEALTH CARE: Coloradans voted on a proposal to set up the nation’s first universal health care system. The measure would set up a billion-a-year health care system funded by payroll taxes, replacing the system of paying private health insurers for care and opting out of the federal health care law.
AID IN DYING: Another Colorado measure would allow physicians to assist a terminally ill person in dying. Physician-assisted death is currently legal in California, Oregon, Vermont and Washington. And Montana’s Supreme Court has ruled that doctors can use a patient’s request for life-ending medication as a defense against any criminal charges. Video Rating: / 5
Every Year, the Vermont Bar Foundation supports programs that provide legal services to thousands of disadvantaged Vermonters. Hear why Bar Foundation funding is so essential to this foundation’s grantees. Learn more about this foundation’s work at http://www.vtbarfoundation.org/.
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