Thursday, February 28, 2013

Thursday Must Read: Californians Support Same-Sex Marriage; Voting May Become Tougher for Minorities in Red States

By Robert Gammon
Thu, Feb 28, 2013 at 9:56 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. A strong majority of California voters — 61 percent — now supports allowing same-sex couples to get married in the state, the Mercury News reports, citing a new Field Poll. The support for gay marriage is the highest ever recorded in a state poll, and represents a major shift in the public’s attitude since state residents voted in 2008 for Prop 8, California’s anti-gay-marriage law. The poll results also show that if the US Supreme Court decides this year to uphold Prop 8, then state voters appear ready to overturn the measure at the ballot box.

2. Access to voting may become even more difficult for minorities in Republican-controlled states if the US Supreme Court overturns the federal Voting Rights Act this year, The New York Times reports. The high court could throw out the landmark civil rights law, and if it does, it will give states and jurisdictions in the South and elsewhere the green light to erect more barriers to voting.

3. Governor Jerry Brown is proposing to effectively gut California’s open records law by allowing cities and counties to refuse public records requests made by citizens and journalists on the grounds that they’re too costly to deal with, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports (via Rough & Tumble). Under current law, the state is required to reimburse local governments for the costs of fulfilling public records requests, but the Brown administration says it will no longer do so.

4. Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates and other city officials are considering whether to relax restrictions on chain stores in the Telegraph Avenue area in an attempt to revitalize the struggling business district, the Chron reports. Bates and others also are considering adding nightclubs to the area, and turning several thoroughfares, including Telegraph, into two-way streets to slow down traffic and encourage pedestrians.

5. And Private Bradley Manning has pleaded guilty to supplying classified documents to WikiLeaks, but denies the more serious charges that he “aided the enemy,” the Guardian reports. Manning’s admission could result in a twenty-year jail sentence. But he could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted of the more serious accusations against him.

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