Antonin Scalia Has a Civil Liberties Debate in Brooklyn

Antonin Scalia. (Photo: Getty)
Antonin Scalia. (Photo: Getty)

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia last night weighed in on some of the most heated civil liberties debates in the country, including the legality of mass surveillance programs.

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Bill de Blasio Signs His First Bill at Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory

Mayor Bill de Blasio signing his first bill into law today. (Photo: Twitter/@BilldeBlasio)
Mayor Bill de Blasio signing his first bill into law today. (Photo: Twitter/@BilldeBlasio)

Mayor Bill de Blasio traveled to the offices of an artisanal ice cream manufacturer in Brooklyn today to sign his first bill: a law that dramatically expands the city’s paid sick day mandate.

“It’s really an extraordinary day, four years in the making,” Mr. de Blasio told reporters and lawmakers gathered at the home of Steve’s Craft Ice Cream, which produces small-batch concoctions featuring creative names like “NOLA ICED COFFEE & DONUTS” and “BKLYN BLACKOUT.” Continue reading “Bill de Blasio Signs His First Bill at Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory”

State Legislature Moves to Ban Novelty Lighters

Some especially cute cigarette lighters. (Photo: Getty)
Some especially cute cigarette lighters. (Photo: Getty)

New Yorkers may no longer be able to buy lighters that look like the Statue of Liberty or that cute cow in the photograph to the left.

The New York State Assembly approved a ban on novelty lighters today, joining the State Senate, which did so last week, and leaving the bill just a gubernatorial signature away from becoming law.

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Protesters and Advocacy Groups Demand Information On NYPD’s Handling Of Occupy Wall Street

occupywallstreetmarch Protesters and Advocacy Groups Demand Information On NYPDs Handling Of Occupy Wall Street
Occupy Wall Street protesters marching in Manhattan in October. (Photo: Getty)

A coalition of Occupy Wall Street protesters and attorneys for civil rights organizations filed a Freedom of Information Law requesttoday asking the NYPD to reveal “all information concerning the policies guiding the law enforcement response to Occupy demonstrations since last September.” The FOIL request is part of efforts to investigate the government response to the protests.

“Assembly and speech rights are core to our democracy. We have been investigating the police treatment of OWS for months, and the policing of OWS has been abusive and unpredictable,” Emi MacLean, an attorney with the Protest and Assembly Rights Project, said in a statement announcing the request. “Mayor Bloomberg has described the NYPD as his army. It is, of course, not an army but a civilian police force. And even armies require some measure of transparency and accountability.”

The NYPD has come under fire for violent arrests that occurred during the Occupy demonstrations that began last September and the subsequent eviction of the protest encampment in Zuccotti Park last November. Organizations teaming up for the FOIL request include; the OWS Archives Working Group, the Global Justice Clinic at NYU School of Law, the Walter Leitner International Human Rights Clinic, the Center for Constitutional Rights and the New York City chapter of the National Lawyers Guild.

Cuomo Applauds Texting-While-Driving Crackdown

andrew cuomo getty1 Cuomo Applauds Texting While Driving Crackdown
Governor Cuomo (Photo: Getty)

Governor Andrew Cuomo approvingly announced today that more and more New Yorkers are getting the book thrown at them for driving under the influence … the influence of Twitter and text messages, that is.

As a result of a new strict New York law banning the practice, since July, almost 119,000 motorists have been ticketed for using handheld devices while on the road.

“Texting while driving is illegal and endangers the lives of New Yorkers across the state,” Governor Cuomo said in a statement. “These tickets should send a resounding message to all drivers: keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel. I thank the State Police and local law enforcement for their dedication to ensuring the safety of the people of the state of New York.”

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Kirsten Gillibrand Says She Shares Concerns Of NDAA Protesters

 Kirsten Gillibrand Says She Shares Concerns Of NDAA Protesters
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand speaking at the ABNY breakfast. (Photo: Hunter Walker)

At last Friday’s ABNY breakfast, The Politicker asked Senator Kirsten Gillibrand about the protests she faced earlier this month over her support for this year’s National Defense Appropriations Act, which contained a provision that would allow the government to indefinitely detain U.S. citizens accused of terrorism. Senator Gillibrand, who voted for two amendments that would have changed the controversial provision, said the concerns of the protesters were “legitimate” and vowed to “keep fighting” for civil liberties.

“It’s a very complex bill, but the provision that people are upset about, I share their concerns,” Senator Gillibrand said.  Continue reading “Kirsten Gillibrand Says She Shares Concerns Of NDAA Protesters”