Opinion writer

Ida B. Wells. (Wikimedia Commons)
  • New Hampshire’s legislature tried to require a conviction before police could seize property from people. Police agencies have responded by partnering with federal agencies, which makes the investigations bound by laxer federal laws. The feds then give most of the money back to the local police. This is a procedure that the Obama administration tried to phase out and that Attorney General Jeff Sessions has reinstated. Ironically (or perhaps not), it’s also a direct affront to so-called states’ rights (better known as federalism).
  • Speaking of which, it looks as though Sessions and his Justice Department are going after California as a sanctuary state.
  • The Los Angeles Times editorial board warns against new federal legislation that’s ostensibly aimed at sex trafficking, but that threatens to break the Internet. Related: Sex workers and their advocates say the bill will actually hurt efforts to combat actual sex trafficking.
  • Conviction thrown out after a Texas judge ordered a man to be electrically shocked for refusing to answer questions.
  • Tennessee bill I wrote about yesterday, which would have exempted autopsy reports from the state’s open-records laws, has been dropped in the Senate.
  • Seven months ago, police in Southaven, Miss., went to the wrong house, where they shot and killed Ismael Lopez, a local mechanic. Since then, Lopez’s family hasn’t received an autopsy report or a report by the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation, and the town of Southaven hasn’t even released the names of the officers who killed him. (Attorneys for the family say they did obtain the officers’ names through other means.)
  • Kansas bill would overturn a law that allows drug offenders to be added to the state’s sex offender registry. Yes, you read that correctly.
  • Cheers to my home town of Nashville, which has eliminated the $44 per day “jail fee” it charges to people awaiting trial for misdemeanor offenses.
  • St. Louis prosecutor wants police shootings to be investigated by an independent body. The police union is fighting the idea, of course.
  • New Mexico’s legislature tried to curb the suspension of driver’s licenses due to unpaid court fees. Gov. Susana Martinez vetoed it because … maybe you can figure out her reason. I sure can’t. As the sponsor of the proposal points out, if violent crime in the state is as bad as Martinez makes it out to be, cops and prosecutors would have better things to do than arrest and prosecute people for failing to pay fines stemming from misdemeanors.
  • The New York Times publishes a (much) belated obituary for the late journalist, activist and anti-lynching crusader Ida B. Wells.