06-19-2024  8:41 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Black Leaders Urge County to Continue Funding Multnomah Mothers Trust

The program has been entirely funded by American Rescue Plan grants, which run out after this year.

‘Feeling Our Age’: Oregon Artist Explores Aging Through Portraiture

64 women were painted and asked to reflect on lives well lived.

Off-Duty Guard Charged With Killing Seattle-Area Teen After Mistaking Toy for Gun, Authorities Say

Prosecutors charged 51-year-old Aaron Brown Myers on Monday in connection with the death of Hazrat Ali Rohani. Myers was also charged with assault after authorities say he held another teen at gunpoint. His attorney says Myers sincerely believed he was stopping a violent crime.

James Beard Finalists Include an East African Restaurant in Detroit and Seattle Pho Shops

The James Beards Awards are the culinary world's equivalent of the Oscars. For restaurants, even being named a finalist can bring wide recognition and boost business.

NEWS BRIEFS

University of Portland Honored with Carnegie Leadership for Public Purpose Classification

UP recognized as one of 25 institutions nationwide committed to advancing leadership in pursuit of justice, equity, diversity and...

The National Civil Rights Museum Announces 33rd Freedom Award Honorees

This is the museum's signature event, which pays tribute to individuals who have shown unwavering commitment to promoting equity and...

Word is Bond, Portland Art Museum, Portland Sneaker Week Announce Juneteenth Celebration Event, June 20

This Juneteenth program uses the shoe as a medium to amplify the creative voices and visions of Black men and their communities ...

Southeast Portland Natural Area Improvements Coming, Funded by Development Fees

Kelly Butte Natural Area trails, park amenities planned ...

Montavilla Pool to Reopen in July After Mandatory Maintenance

The pool will open later this summer due to an upgrade to the pool’s plumbing that required a more complex solution to achieve...

Nurses in Oregon take to the picket lines to demand better staffing, higher pay

More than 3,000 nurses at six Oregon hospitals spent a second day on the picket lines Wednesday carrying signs that say, “Patients over profits” and “We're out to ensure it's safe in there,” as they continued to demand fair wages and better staffing levels. Nurses are...

With pardons in Maryland, 2.5 million Americans will have marijuana convictions cleared or forgiven

Maryland this week became the latest state to announce mass pardons for people convicted of marijuana-related crimes as the nation wrestles with how to make amends for the lives disrupted in the decadeslong war on drugs. Under Gov. Wes Moore's plan, more than 175,000 convictions for...

A Missouri mayor says a fight over jobs is back on. Things to know about Kansas wooing the Chiefs

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A plan in Kansas for luring the Kansas City's two major league sports franchises from Missouri has prompted their hometown's mayor to declare that the move ends a 5-year-old agreement by the states not to poach each other's jobs. The Kansas Legislature has...

Kansas lawmakers to debate whether wooing the Chiefs with new stadium is worth the cost

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas legislators trying to lure the Kansas City Chiefs to their state argue that helping the Super Bowl champions build a new stadium could bring Kansas millions of dollars in income taxes from players and coaches, which are currently going to Missouri. Some...

OPINION

Juneteenth is a Sacred American Holiday

Today, when our history is threatened by erasure, our communities are being dismantled by systemic disinvestment, Juneteenth can serve as a rallying cry for communal healing and collective action. ...

Supreme Court Says 'Yes” to Consumer Protection, "No" to Payday Lenders 7-2 Decision Upholds CFPB’s Funding

A recent 7-2 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court gave consumers a long-sought victory that ended more than a decade of challenges over the constitutionality of the agency created to be the nation’s financial cop on the beat. ...

The Skanner News May 2024 Primary Endorsements

Read The Skanner News endorsements and vote today. Candidates for mayor and city council will appear on the November general election ballot. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

On Juneteenth, monument dedicated in Alabama to those who endured slavery

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Thousands of surnames grace the towering monument, representing the more than 4 million enslaved people who were freed after the Civil War. The Equal Justice Initiative, a criminal justice reform nonprofit, invoked the Juneteenth holiday — the day that...

Pharrell at Louis Vuitton celebrates the diversity of human skin in Paris UNESCO show

PARIS (AP) — With just over a month before the Paris Olympics, Louis Vuitton celebrated the beauty of humans and their skin in a star-studded menswear showcase at the headquarters of U.N. cultural agency UNESCO in Paris. Models wearing garb in all the hues of human flesh paraded around a giant...

Rickwood Field, Willie Mays' first pro park and monument of opportunity and oppression, welcomes MLB

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Gerald Watkins watched Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and other New York Yankees wade through stalks of corn onto an Iowa field in 2021, near the filming site for the 1989 baseball movie “Field of Dreams.” Watkins thought about Rickwood Field, the...

ENTERTAINMENT

Book Review: 'Margo’s Got Money Troubles’ tells a tale of modern love and success

The cover art and title of “Margo’s Got Money Troubles” don’t quite convey the wild ride readers who crack open this new fiction from Rufi Thorpe will take. There’s a reason Apple TV optioned it as a series starring Nicole Kidman and Elle Fanning before it was even published. This is a...

Music Review: Paul McCartney and Wings' oft bootlegged 1974 'One Hand Clapping' deserves applause

The sound of Paul McCartney and Wings' “One Hand Clapping” used to only be heard on bootlegs, or in snippets available on archival releases over the years. But it's new (mostly) complete official release deserves two-handed applause. As aging rockers empty their...

Book Review: 'Swole' explores what masculinity could be in a hyperconnected, TikTok-imaged world

Author Michael Brodeur takes the gym too seriously, and not seriously at all at the same time, in his book “Swole: The Making of Men and the Meaning of Muscles” in an effort to show the readers that the overly online world of hypermasculinity is an illusion and what a man can be is what you...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

The leader of Lebanon's Hezbollah militant group warns archenemy Israel against wider war

BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon’s Hezbollah has new weapons and intelligence capabilities that could help it target more...

On Juneteenth, a journalist honors ancestor at ceremony for Black soldiers who served in Civil War

WASHINGTON (AP) — It was the middle of the night in the summer of 2021 when I finally found the missing piece of...

Rickwood Field, Willie Mays' first pro park and monument of opportunity and oppression, welcomes MLB

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Gerald Watkins watched Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and other New York Yankees wade...

Jihadis from Africa’s Sahel have crossed into Nigeria’s north, a new report says. A lot is at stake

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — Jihadi fighters who had long operated in Africa’s volatile Sahel region have settled in...

Ramaphosa is sworn in for a second term as South Africa's president with help from coalition parties

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Cyril Ramaphosa was sworn in for a second term as South Africa's president on Wednesday in a...

Gang violence in Haiti has displaced nearly 580,000 people, a new UN report says

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Surging violence in Haiti from clashes with armed gangs since March has displaced...

Rachel La Corte Associated Press Writer

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) -- In a decision that could give momentum to other efforts to expand voting to inmates, a federal appeals court ruled that incarcerated felons should be allowed to vote in Washington state.
There's a patchwork of laws across the nation concerning restoration of felons' voting rights, but only Maine and Vermont allow those behind bars to cast ballots.
The 2-1 ruling by a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday overturned the 2000 ruling of a district judge in Spokane. That judge had ruled that Washington state's felon disenfranchisement law did not violate the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and dismissed a lawsuit filed by a former prison inmate from Bellevue.
The two appellate judges ruled that disparities in the state's justice system "cannot be explained in race-neutral ways."
A spokeswoman said state Attorney General Rob McKenna is weighing the state's next step. Spokeswoman Janelle Guthrie said that they could either ask a larger group of judges from the 9th Circuit to reconsider the ruling or go straight to the U.S. Supreme Court. If appealed, it's likely that the state would seek a stay on inmate's ability to vote until the case is resolved.
While the ruling only currently covers Washington state, if it stands, Guthrie said it could be the basis for litigation in any area covered by the 9th Circuit -- Oregon, Idaho, Montana, California, Nevada, Arizona, Alaska, Hawaii, Guam and the Northern Marianas.
Of the more than 18,000 felons currently in state custody who could get their right to vote back under this ruling, 37.1 percent are minorities. Of that group, Blacks make up the largest percentage, at 19.2 percent.
The issues the ruling raises about racial bias in the justice system are not unique to Washington state, said Marc Mauer, executive director of The Sentencing Project, a Washington, D.C., group promoting sentencing reform.
"They are issues that permeate the justice system and are relevant in every state," he said.
Mauer said that an estimated 5.3 million people nationwide are ineligible to vote because of a felony conviction.
Tuesday's court's ruling is "an embarrassment," said Trent England, a policy director at Evergreen Freedom Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington state. "`It flies in the face of precedent," he said. "Not only is felon disenfranchisement constitutional but it's good policy. People who commit the most heinous crimes should be deprived of their voice in our system of government at least for a time."
The lawsuit was filed by Muhammad Shabazz Farrakhan, formerly of Bellevue. He was serving a three-year sentence at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla for a series of felony-theft convictions when he sued the state in 1996.
Ultimately, five other inmates, all members of racial minority groups, joined as plaintiffs.
The lawsuit contended that because nonwhites make up a large percentage of the prison population, a state law prohibiting inmates and parolees from voting is illegal because it dilutes the electoral clout of minorities. That was a violation of the U.S. Voting Rights Act of 1965, the lawsuit said.
An attorney for Farrakhan equated disenfranchisement laws to poll taxes and literacy tests of the past.
"In this case, we have proved that the criminal justice system in this state is biased against African-Americans, and the impact has been a violation of their voting rights," said Larry Weiser, a law professor at Gonzaga University School of Law who is the lead attorney in the lawsuit.
The state contended that the lawsuit should be dismissed because the law was not intended to discriminate against minorities.
David Ammons, a spokesman for the state's head elections official, said that Secretary of State Sam Reed "supports minority rights, but believes it is a rational and reasonable sanction for society to demand that felons lose their voting rights while in prison or under community supervision."
Last year, lawmakers passed a law that allows convicted felons to reregister to vote once they're no longer on parole or probation. Previously, felons who were no longer in Washington state custody but owed court-ordered fines and restitution were not allowed to vote. Under the new law that took effect last July, voting rights could be revoked if a felon willingly fails to make regular payments on those financial obligations.
In her dissent, 9th Circuit Judge Margaret McKeown wrote that the majority "has charted territory that none of our sister circuits has dared to explore," and notes that three other appellate courts -- the 1st Circuit in a Massachusetts case, the 2nd Circuit in a New York case, and the 11th Circuit in a Florida case – "have all determined that vote denial challenges to felon disenfranchisement laws are not cognizable under the Voting Rights Act."
She wrote that since Washington state passed a law changing voting rights just last year, and after the 9th Circuit heard the Farrakhan case, the case should go back to district court.
"It is not our job to consider, in the first instance, the effect this new law has on plaintiffs' case and whether the totality of the circumstances analysis under ... the Voting Rights Act should be different now that plaintiffs' case remains viable only as to currently incarcerated felons," she wrote.
___
The case is Farrakhan v. Gregoire.


The Skanner Foundation's 38th Annual MLK Breakfast