Notes from meeting — July 12, 2014

Posted: July 17, 2014 in Meetings

Meeting of RI Coalition for the Defense of Human and Civil Rights, July 12, Rochambeau Library

  1. Our July 4th weekend protest on Thursday July 3 against NSA spying had 8 or so people, big banners, lots of honks from I-195 drivers.
  2. Discussed Street Gang measure recently passed by the state legislature. The bill adds up to 10 years’ prison time for people who commit felonies for the benefit of a gang. Among the objections are that the definition ofgang is too loose and that even people forced to commit crimes for a gang would be targeted. While many of us lobbied against it, and a group of civilrights advocates confronted Gov. Chafee about it in the State House on July 1, Chafee signed the legislation into law.
  3. Discussed possible affiliation with Restore the 4th. We decided to table our decision until Randall has had a chance to ask the organization for clarification on some of its requirements, as we are not interested in becoming merely a local adjunct to this nationwide group.
  4. We decided that we will prepare a list of questions to send to candidates for statewide office.  Randall will send a preliminary draft to the rest of those at today’s meeting, we will revise them, and then we will send the proposed questionnaire to the rest of the listserv by Friday.
  5. State racial profiling bill was killed this year. Attorney General opposed the parts about reporting info to the public and about juvenile consent. Some police chiefs may have opposed it too, but info is murky on that. Rep. Almeida, the House sponsor, introduced bill late in session. Almeida has a position in House leadership and, on paper, should have had the clout to move bill further, but it got no House hearing.  Almeida is only person of color officially listed in House leadership but unclear if he has that much clout.
  6. Providence racial profiling bill, which is tougher, has lost some of its supporters — originally supported by 8 of 15 City Council members.  Criticized in media for allowing public disclosure of police’s info on gangs (bill tries to protect people form being wrongly listed as gang members and gives them a chance to appeal their inclusion on gang list). Also criticized for power it gives DARE, ONA and PrYSM over police. Bill is not dead and may pass in modified form.  Some Brown students interested.
  7. We are going to try to schedule an August Q & A session with Dawson Hodgson (RI Senator, Republican, North Kingstown) who is running against Patrick Kilmartin for Attorney General. Randall will contact Hodgson.
  8. Meeting with Senator Whitehouse about anti-surveillance legislation: Randall and Chris are interested in a meeting and will try to schedule one.
  9. Our next meeting is scheduled for Saturday, August 16th, at 1 p.m. Location to be determined.  (The length of the meeting will depend upon whether or not Hodgson will be there for part of the time.)
  10. Other agenda topics for August:
    • Decision on affiliation with Restore the 4th
    • Report on progress of candidate questionnaire
    • Q & A with Hodgson?
    • Discussion on whether to support or oppose a possible state constitutional convention
    • Discussion of encryption workshop to be held once college students are back.

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