Drought, Voting Rights of Ex-Felons and Gay Conversion Therapy

By Gabriella Khorasanee, JD on February 07, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

With so many legal issues brewing in the state of California, it's hard to settle on just one. Between the ongoing drought and water shortage in California, new civil rights lawsuits and federal challenges to state laws, there's a lot to talk about. So let's get to it and see what all the headlines are about.

Voting Rights of Ex-Felons

On Tuesday, the ACLU filed a lawsuit in Superior Court in Alameda County seeking declaratory injunctive relief on behalf of ex-felons that fall under new categories of low-level felons under realignment, according to KQED.

In 1974 California rules changed the then-existing rule that ex-felons could never vote, to allow felons to vote after their parole was completed, reports KQED. In 2011, Secretary of State Bowen instructed elections officials to treat low-level felons that were assigned to probation or community service, as ex-felons on parole. The ACLU argues that this directive results in the disenfranchisement of low-level felons the original law was never intended to apply to.

Drought Bill

California's dry and sunny winter is causing political problems. A Republican-sponsored bill that would send water to southern California, brings the risk of harm to endangered species, and environmental protections, among other things, reports the San Jose Mercury News. The "water grab" has been called "dead on arrival in the Democrat-controlled Senate," and has been criticized by Governor Jerry Brown. Maybe instead of bickering, we should all pray for more rain -- it seemed to work last week.

Gay Conversion Therapy Ban Upheld

In August, the Ninth Circuit upheld California's law banning gay conversion therapy, and last week the Ninth Circuit denied en banc review, reports the San Jose Mercury News. The only recourse now is for plaintiffs to petition the Supreme Court for writ of certiorari. And, they can petition all they want, but it won't mean that they'll grant cert. Another similar case is before the Third Circuit, though a decision has not yet been made. Barring a circuit split, we doubt the Supreme Court will grant cert this soon.

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