Minnesota Legislature Takes Action to Reform Property Forfeiture Laws in Response to Supreme Court Ruling

St. Paul, Minnesota – The Minnesota Legislature is poised to pass new property forfeiture laws in response to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year that declared the state’s current system unconstitutional. The Supreme Court’s unanimous decision in the case of Tyler v. Hennepin County found that the county violated a woman’s constitutional rights by selling her forfeited property for more than the amount she owed in taxes and keeping the surplus. Earlier this year, the state agreed to pay a settlement of $109 million to resolve class action lawsuits filed on behalf of Minnesotans … Read more

Louisiana Legislature Pushes Bills to Curtail Public Records Law, Threatening Transparency and Vigilance

Baton Rouge, Louisiana – The Louisiana Public Records Law, which plays a crucial role in maintaining transparency and accountability in government, is threatened by a wave of bills currently being considered in the state legislature. If these bills pass, they could undermine the public’s access to vital information. Without a strong public records law, there can be no vigilance from citizens, leaving room for potential misconduct and secrecy. One bill of particular concern is Senate Bill 482, introduced by Sen. Heather Cloud. This bill seeks to revive and expand upon former Gov. Bobby Jindal’s “deliberative … Read more

Hong Kong Legislature Fast Tracks Controversial National Security Law, Sparking Concerns over Civil Liberties

HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong’s legislators convened in a special session on Tuesday to resume the debate over a proposed national security law. The legislation aims to grant the government greater power to suppress dissent in the southern Chinese city. This law is seen as the latest move in a broader political crackdown following the pro-democracy protests in 2019 and builds upon a similar law imposed by Beijing four years ago that has significantly silenced opposition voices in Hong Kong. The special session, held a day before the regular legislative sessions, indicates the government’s … Read more

Louisiana Legislature Passes Suite of Punitive Changes, Reignites Debate on Criminal Justice Reform

Baton Rouge, Louisiana – Once known as the “prison capital of the world,” Louisiana had managed to shed that dubious title through criminal justice reforms in 2017. However, the state is now poised to regain that reputation as lawmakers recently passed a suite of punitive changes. These new laws, which are set to be signed by Gov. Jeff Landry, will eliminate the possibility of parole for most new convictions and increase the length of time individuals must serve before being released for good behavior. Additionally, these changes will limit the tools available to local prosecutors … Read more