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Immigrants and marijuana; alleged child sexual abuse at Madison church; Gov. Evers sued over press access; mass shooting claim shot down; gun background checks debated

Of note: This week we highlight our latest story in The Cannabis Question series about the perils immigrants face in using marijuana — even in states where it is legal. The story by Ting-Chia Kan features a Madison-area family torn apart by a conviction for marijuana possession with the intent to deliver, a crime that often does not even involve jail time. After living in the United States for 40 years, Sothy Kum was deported to Cambodia, a country he left when he was 2 years old. His U.S.-born wife and daughter in late July moved from Wisconsin to be with him, leaving behind large extended families who now must travel halfway across the world to see him.

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Advice to immigrants: ‘Do not mess with marijuana’ even where it is legal

Wisconsin Watch August 4, 2019

Even though Gov. Tony Evers has proposed decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana, that would be little protection for noncitizens, experts say. Cannabis remains illegal on the federal level — and any use or possession could result in immigration problems. Despite the wave of marijuana legalization and decriminalization across the United States, Davorin Odrcic, a Milwaukee-based immigration attorney, tells his clients to abstain.“What I generally recommend … is someone to avoid even a citation for marijuana possession,” Odrcic said. Previously from Wisconsin Watch: Blacks arrested for pot possession at four times the rate of whites in Wisconsin

Stolen childhoods: Women allege they were sexually abused as kids at Calvary Gospel Church in Madison

The Cap Times August 7, 2019

A Pentecostal church on Madison’s east side has concealed allegations of sexual assault among its congregants for over 30 years, and continues to perpetuate a culture of fear and control that fosters abuse, former members say. The women who say they were assaulted as children — Debbie McNulty, Rachel Capacio, Rachel Huff and Rebecca Martin Byrd, all of whom agreed to publication of their names for this story — say they were groomed at a young age to accept sexual abuse from men in the church as other adults at the time looked the other way.

Conservative MacIver Institute files federal lawsuit against Tony Evers over press access

The Cap Times August 7, 2019

The conservative MacIver Institute has filed a lawsuit against Wisconsin Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, alleging his office has excluded the outlet from media events. The suit, filed in federal court Tuesday, argues the actions are a violation of their reporters’ First Amendment rights guaranteeing press freedom and free speech, as well as the Fourteenth Amendment’s equal protection clause. 

Pants on Fire: State rep claims mass shootings are down under Trump

PolitiFact Wisconsin August 6, 2019

In the wee hours of Aug. 4, a gunman opened fire on the street in a Dayton, Ohio, entertainment district, killing nine and injuring 27. Later that day, Wisconsin state Rep. Ron Tusler was on Facebook claiming mass shootings are down under President Donald Trump. “Less mass shootings under Trump! His base doesn’t hate anyone,” declared Tusler, R-Harrison, in a since-deleted post. There’s a lot to cover — and a lot wrong — in this seemingly simple claim. PolitiFact breaks it down.

Nearly everyone supports universal background checks for gun buyers. Here’s why Wisconsin is unlikely to make it law.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel August 7, 2019

The vast majority of people in Wisconsin agree on making that policy change, according to 2018 polling by Marquette University Law School. Nationally, 96% of Democrats, 84% of Republicans and 89% of Independents support the measure, according to a recent Marist poll. Despite overwhelming support, the move likely won’t be made here anytime soon. “For any Republican to say ‘I support universal background checks’ would be career suicide,” Clemson University political scientist Steven Miller said. Previously from Wisconsin Watch: Strong public support, pleas from grieving family, fail to move Wisconsin on gun background checks

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