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What Yoga Pants Can Teach Us About Civil Liberties     PART 1: Freedom of Speech

Posted: Oct 30, 2016 |Category: Free Speech Category: Right to Petition & Protest Category: Women's Rights

A controversy over yoga pants has a surprising number of lessons to teach about free speech and sex discrimination. This blog looks at the speech issues, while an upcoming blog examines the concerns about sex discrimination that propelled the controversy.

Why the Mattiello-Frias House Race is Different—and it Has Nothing to do With the Candidates

Posted: Oct 24, 2016 |Category: Voting Rights

The electoral race between Speaker of the House Nicholas Mattiello and his Republican challenger Steven Frias has, for obvious reasons, drawn an incredible amount of attention.

ACLU of Rhode Island Position Paper on Question 2, the Ethics Commission Constitutional Amendment

Posted: Sep 21, 2016 |Category: Open Government

In response to questions about the ACLU's position related to Question 2, the ACLU of Rhode Island has issued the following position paper.

The FBI, the ACLU, and the GAO: A Tale of Two Maps

Posted: Aug 18, 2016 |Category: Privacy

As the federal agency tasked with auditing and evaluation of Congressional programs, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) doesn’t like to make mistakes. The “congressional watchdog,” the GAO’s mission is to provide Congress “timely information that is objective, fact-based, nonpartisan, nonideological, fair, and balanced” in order to help Congress fulfill their Constitutional responsibilities. Legislation may be crafted and changed based solely on what the GAO includes in their findings, and the GAO’s legitimacy depends heavily on the infallibility of their reports.

That’s why it’s so shocking that recent work by the ACLU of Rhode Island and other affiliates resulted not only in a public change to a GAO report, but a near-reversal of their original findings.

Amendment Seeks to Expand Warrantless Surveillance Under Patriot Act

Posted: Jul 21, 2016 |Category: Privacy

In the almost 15 years since 9/11, we as Americans are all too familiar with knee-jerk reactions that blossom into policies and laws that seek to “protect” us while trampling on our rights -- all in the name of security.  Case in point, the Patriot Act.  After all of these years, this Act has done more in the way of eroding our rights in the name of security than one can count – and once again, Congress is looking to make it even worse.

The Good and the Bad of the 2016 General Assembly Session

Posted: Jun 28, 2016 |Category: Civil Rights Category: Criminal Justice Category: Free Speech Category: Privacy Category: Students' Rights Category: The "War on Drugs"

When the sun rose and the gavel came down at 6am on Saturday morning, June 18th, the ACLU of Rhode Island was still at the State House, monitoring important civil liberties legislation until the very last moments of the session. We will provide a more detailed review of the legislative session, along with a 2015-2016 voting scorecard, in our next newsletter, and you can check out an expanded list of some of the legislation we monitored last year here. For now, here are some of the highlights - and the lows - of the 2016 General Assembly session.

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Recalling The Gay Pride Parade Case of 1976

Posted: Jun 14, 2016 |Category: Discrimination Category: LGBT Rights

Today, CEO’s of major corporations, entertainers, congresspersons and others visible in our political and social institutions are openly gay and may marry the person of their choice, but in June of 1976, when the RI ACLU undertook to represent gays and lesbians who wanted to have a Pride Parade, political and cultural conditions were radically different. In fact, affectionate and intimate contact between persons of the same sex was criminal.

Your Medications Are Under Investigation

Posted: May 12, 2016 |Category: Police Practices Category: Privacy Category: The "War on Drugs"

The House and Senate Judiciary Committees have each approved dangerous legislation allowing law enforcement access to your prescription information without a warrant.

Help us keep your prescriptions private! Contact your legislator today and ask them to oppose H 7518/S 2713.

 

2015: A Year In Review

Posted: Dec 22, 2015 |

2015 brought many challenges to civil liberties, but thanks to our dedicated supporters and volunteers, we faced them head on and helped protect the rights of all Rhode Islanders. 

Tune In: 2015 Annual Meeting Celebration

Posted: Dec 15, 2015 |

If you weren’t able to attend our October celebration, tune into “Rights of a Free People” throughout December to watch Ms. Smith and RI Coalition for the Homeless executive director Jim Ryczek discuss their work and accept their awards.

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