Ohio supreme court judge calls for legalisation of marijuana

May 24, 2017 pdefensepde 1

An Ohio supreme court justice who is considering a run for governor has said it is time for the state to decriminalise marijuana. William O’Neill, the lone Democrat holding an Ohio statewide office, said making marijuana legal was working in Colorado and doing it in Ohio would bring hundreds of millions of dollars in sales taxes. O’Neill announced earlier this year that he was considering stepping down and making a run for governor, but he does not plan on making a decision until the end of the year. In a speech mixed with his analysis of last year’s presidential election and thoughts about problems facing the state, O’Neill said he not only wants to legalise marijuana but also release all non-violent marijuana offenders from prison. Those two things would generate an estimated $350m to both combat drug addiction and create a mental health network run by the state, he told members of the Wayne county Democratic party on Friday night. “The time has come for new thinking,” O’Neill said in his prepared remarks. “We regulate and tax alcohol and tobacco and imprison people for smoking grass.” He said the Democratic party needed new ideas in 2018 if it wanted to knock off Republicans, who control all branches of Ohio government. O’Neill wants the Ohio department of mental health to reopen the network of state hospitals that were closed decades ago and change how the state deals with addiction. “Treat addiction like the disease it is in the name of compassion,” he said. There is already a crowded field lining up on both sides of the governor’s race. For the Democrats, the Dayton mayor, Nan Whaley, as well as former congresswoman Betty Sutton, and former state legislators Connie Pillich and Joe Schiavoni are making runs. The field on the Republican side includes congressman Jim Renacci and the Ohio secretary of state, Jon Husted, while the lieutenant governor, Mary Taylor, and the state attorney general, Mike DeWine, are widely expected to seek the GOP nomination.

FBI investigating stabbing death of black college student as possible hate crime

May 24, 2017 pdefensepde 1

White student who stabbed man was in Facebook group called Alt-Reich: Nation, where members post disparaging material about African Americans and others The FBI is investigating the unprovoked stabbing of a black man at the University of Maryland as a possible hate crime after a white student who belonged to a racist Facebook group was arrested nearby with a knife in his pocket, police said. University of Maryland student Sean Christopher Urbanski was charged with first- and second-degree murder, and first-degree assault. His first court hearing was scheduled for Monday afternoon. Richard Collins III, 23, was stabbed early Saturday while visiting friends at the College Park campus. He had just been commissioned as a second lieutenant in the US army and he would have graduated Tuesday from Bowie State University, police said. The killing was met with shock and fear on both campuses, which are nearby each other in suburban Washington DC. Bowie State, a historically black school, is having its commencement ceremony on Tuesday in the same basketball stadium on the College Park campus where Maryland held its ceremony on Sunday. FacebookTwitterPinterestUniversity of Maryland student Sean Christopher Urbanski was charged with first- and second-degree murder, and first-degree assault. Photograph: AP “If I’m a person of color, I would certainly look at this as something that could happen to me. In fact, I know on Facebook our students are saying that,” said the University of Maryland police chief, David Mitchell. University of Maryland’s president, Wallace Loh, led students and families in a moment of silence for Collins at Sunday’s commencement. He called it a “senseless and unprovoked assault”, the Baltimore Sun reported. “We are still in shock that a young man, so full of promise, should have his life cut short, so suddenly,” Loh said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends, and with the entire Bowie State University community.” Mitchell said he asked for the FBI’s help after learning that Urbanski, 22, belonged to a Facebook group called Alt-Reich: Nation, where members post disparaging material about African Americans and others. “We are here to evaluate that as an ongoing concern with respect to whether or not this was a hate crime,” Gordon Johnson, special agent in charge of the FBI field office in Baltimore, said at a news conference on Sunday evening.

U.S. rejects talks with Hungary over higher education law

May 24, 2017 pdefensepde 1

The United States has no intention of negotiating with Hungary about its new higher education law, which could force a top university founded by U.S. financier George Soros out of the country, the U.S. State Department said on Tuesday. The Central European University (CEU) found itself in the eye of a political storm after Hungary’s parliament passed a law last month setting tougher conditions for the awarding of licenses to foreign-based universities. The law has triggered a series of street protests – the most recent on Sunday – against Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s right-wing government less than a year before a parliamentary election. Orban had proposed talks with the U.S. about the law, saying the reforms were meant to level the playing field for all universities in Hungary. But Tuesday’s response dashed any prospect of a compromise through talks with Washington. “The Government of Hungary should engage directly with affected institutions to find a resolution that allows them to continue to function freely and provide greater educational opportunity for the citizens of Hungary and the region,” the State Department said in a statement. “The U.S. Government has no authority or intention to enter into negotiations on the operation of Central European University or other universities in Hungary,” it said. Orban’s government said it had a clear interest in reaching an agreement “but unfortunately no support for this process has been forthcoming from the U.S. federal government.” Washington again urged Hungary to suspend implementation of the law, but Budapest rejected accusations the reforms were discriminatory or that they threatened academic freedom.

AG Jeff Sessions demands proof ‘sanctuary cities’ complying with immigration law

May 24, 2017 pdefensepde 1

WASHINGTON – The Trump administration will require cities and other local jurisdictions to prove that they are complying with federal law mandating that they share information with federal immigration authorities – or risk losing millions in grant funds. The directive issued Monday by Attorney General Jeff Sessions appears to redefine terms of President Trump’s controversial executive order that would punish so-called “sanctuary cities” that do not fully comply with federal immigration enforcement efforts. The general term describes more than 300 local government that have limited their cooperation with immigration officials. Sessions also said that the order would not put at risk all federal grant money, but would apply only to those funds administered by the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security.