JULY 2014

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"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." 
First Amendment 
of U.S. Constitution


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Ed Markey's Hate-Speech Bill Earns Him the Top Spot in the 2014 Muzzle Awards

U.S. Sen. Ed Markey doesn't seem like your typical enemy of free speech. Progressive and amiable, the Massachusetts Democrat is known mainly for speaking up on behalf of liberal causes such as fighting climate change and preserving funding for public broadcasting. Earlier this year, though, Markey sponsored a bill to monitor so-called hate speech on television, radio and the Internet. [More]

After Deaths of Two Children, Records Request Exposes Deficiencies at Vt. DCF

I submitted requests under Vermont's public records law to both the Department for Children and Families and Vermont State police, asking for the number of times DCF reported child abuse to police. To me, this seemed like a simple request. DCF responded, however, that it "does not track the data you requested for analysis." DCF's commissioner, Dave Yacovone, said the department's I.T. system just isn't set up to do so. [More] 
Privacy Interests in Sexual Assault Case Shouldn't Trump Public's Right to Know

For months, the Kennebec Journal received tips about a police officer in Hallowell, Maine, alleging she was sexually assaulted by the chief of her department. The Maine State Police, according to the tips, began a criminal investigation last year into the officer's allegation. I confirmed those tips and wrote a story last month in which the state police acknowledged the investigation, but wouldn't release many more details. [More] 
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