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CA Legislature Passes Bill That Allows Inmate Firefighters to Continue in Profession After Release

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*Inmate firefighting crews, made up of more than 2,000 inmate firefighters per year, have helped extinguish many of the biggest wildfires in California.

However, once they’re released, they cannot serve in that profession under current law because of their criminal records.

Now, AB 2147, a law that would lift that restriction, has been sent to Gov. Gavin Newsom to sign after passing both the State Senate and Assembly on Aug. 30. The bill allows nonviolent offenders who’ve participated in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations’ fire camps to have their records expunged after release.

In California, previously incarcerated persons are often turned away from fire departments because of their conviction records and state licensing rules, even if they fought fires while incarcerated. Currently, it takes years to get their records expunged, which would allow them to obtain Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) certification.

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Inmate Firefighter - YouTube

“AB 2147 ensures that formerly incarcerated people who have successfully participated as incarcerated firefighters have a pathway to meaningful employment,” said Assemblymember Eloise Gomez Reyes (D – Grand Terrace), the bill’s author. “These individuals have received valuable training and placed themselves in danger to defend the life and property of Californians. Due to their service to the state of California protecting lives and property, those individuals that successfully complete their service in the fire camps should be granted special consideration relating to their underlying criminal conviction.”

The bill comes to Gov. Newsom during a particularly strong wildfire season, which has collectively burned 1.48 million acres and has seen multiple lightning complex fires — all complicated by unprecedented heatwaves across the state.

Because of the intensity and scale of the fires, Gov. Newsom declared a state of emergency on Aug. 18. The next day, he announced that the state’s resources to fight wildfires were stretched thin.

Allowing previously incarcerated persons to be firefighters also gives them the chance to get well-paying jobs, Reyes has argued, pointing out that steady and meaningful employment would lower recidivism rates. Inmate crews are paid between $2 and $5 a day, with a $1 per hour increase while fighting a fire.

“Those that have served on the fire lines deserve a second chance,” tweeted Reyes on Aug. 30.

 

 

 

 

source:
California Black Media

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Black Celebrity Gossip - Gossip

Teyana Taylor Retires from Music After Saying She Feels ‘Underappreciated’ as an Artist

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*Teyana Taylor appears to have announced her retirement from the music industry. 

The singer took to Instagram on Friday to share Spotify’s year-round stats of her “2020 Artist Wrapped,” and thanked her fans for their support.  She also called out the music industry for making her feel “super under appreciated as an artist.”

She writes: “I ain’t gone front in times of feeling super under appreciated as a artist, receiving little to no real push from the ‘machine,’ constantly getting the shorter end of the stick, being overlooked … I’m retiring this chapter of my story with the comfort that i can depart with peace of mind seeing that all the hard work & passion put in was indeed loved & supported somewhere in the world!”

Taylor continues, “All hustlers have the understanding that when one door closes another will open.”

Check out the full post below.

READ MORE: Kerry Washington and Newcomer Ariana DeBose Star in ‘The Prom’ from Netflix WATCH

Taylor also called out the Grammys for the lack of women nominated for the Best R&B Album category: “Y’all was better off just saying best MALE R&B ALBUM,” she tweeted, “cause all I see is dick in this category.”

Drake has also chimed in on the outcry over the 2021 Grammy nominations after The Weeknd called out the Recording Academy for being “corrupt.”

The lineup of 2021 Grammy nominees was revealed late last month, and The Weeknd received zero nominations, even though, as TMZ points out, his single, “Blinding Lights,” topped the charts and his album, “After Hours,” hit to #1.

The Weeknd responded to the diss in a tweet hours after the nominees for the 63rd Grammy Awards were announced on Tuesday.

“The Grammys remain corrupt,” he wrote. “You owe me, my fans and the industry transparency…”

Drake also made time to speak out about how the annual music awarda show is having a “disconnect” from recognizing “impactful music.” 

“I think we should stop allowing ourselves to be shocked every year by the disconnect between impactful music and these awards and just accept that what once was the highest form of recognition may no longer matter to the artists that exist now and the ones that come after,” Drake wrote on his Instagram story. 

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Black Celebrity Gossip - Gossip

House Passes Bill to Decriminalize Marijuana {VIDEO]

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*The House of Representatives has approved legislation to decriminalize marijuana on the federal level and seek to “address the devastating injustices caused by the War on Drugs.”

In a vote of 228-164 on Friday in the Democratic-led House agreed to remove marijuana from the schedule 1 classification of narcotics. It’s doubtful the bill will pass the Republican-led Senate, however.

The bill, co-sponsored by Democratic representatives Earl Blumenauer and Barbara Lee, also seeks to expunge the records of nonviolent drug offenders. It would use tax from legal marijuana sales to fund rehab clinics and programs that support marijuana entrepreneurship in urban communities. 

“This is an opportunity to strike a blow against the failed war on drugs, that has literally destroyed hundreds of thousands of young Black lives,” Blumenauer said, ahead of the vote. 

“We’re not rushing to legalize marijuana. The American people have already done that. We’re here because Congress has failed to deal with a disastrous war on drugs and do its part for the over 15 million marijuana users in every one of your districts,” he added. “It’s time for Congress to step up and do its part. We need to catch up with the rest of the American people.”

READ MORE: NBA Players Will Not Be Tested for Marijuana Next Season: Report

Recreational marijuana use is fully legal in 15 states plus the District of Columbia. 

Before the bill was passed, Republicans spoke out in opposition, claiming marijuana is a gateway drug.

“Marijuana is one of the most abused substances on this planet,” Rep. Greg Murphy argued. “Legalizing weed would create revenue from taxes, but at what cost? Do we then start legalizing cocaine? Marijuana is a gateway drug — make no mistake about that. It undoubtably leads to further and much more dangerous drug use.”

Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler argued, “For far too long, we have treated marijuana as a criminal justice problem instead of as a matter of personal choice and public health. Whatever one’s views are on the use of marijuana for recreational or medicinal use, the policy of arrests, prosecution and incarceration at the Federal level has proven unwise and unjust,”, he said, per revolt.com. “I have long believed that the criminalization of marijuana has been a mistake, and the racially disparate enforcement of marijuana laws has only compounded this mistake, with serious consequences, particularly for communities of color.”

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Kerry Washington and Newcomer Ariana DeBose Star in ‘The Prom’ from Netflix WATCH

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Kerry Washington and Ariana DeBose

*Kerry Washington and newcomer/rising star, Ariana DeBose star in the new Netflix film “The Prom.”

The film also includes an all-star cast featuring Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, James Corden, and Keegan-Michael Key.

“The Prom” is a mix of a teen drama and high school musical, with issues that most can relate to and the topics are discussed with festive song and dance.

The film takes place in a small and conservative town in Indianapolis. Emma Nolan, played by Jo Ellen Pellman, has become pretty infamous in the town due to her sexuality.

As if high school wasn’t hard enough, Emma is also dealing with backlash from the community because she wants to go to prom with her girlfriend. But, parents and school officials are not having it. They plan to cancel the prom just to prevent Emma from being herself.

MORE NEWS: NBA Players Will Not Be Tested for Marijuana Next Season: Report

Kerry Washington - Getty

Kerry Washington – Getty

Kerry Washington’s character, Mrs. Green who is head of the PTA, is determined to make sure Emma doesn’t have a same-sex date to prom. When a few broadway stars, who need a good cause to bring more attention to their production, get wind of Emma’s story they make it their mission to fight for her and bring national attention to the issue.

All of the attention doesn’t sit well with Mrs.Green as she feels actors should not be at the forefront of social issues. Both Washington and DeBose are very vocal about political issues, we asked their opinion of people who things actors should remain silent.

“Activism or just civic engagement, that is the responsibility of all of us. Democracies only work when we all show up,” says Washington.

When you have a large platform it is a great advantage to making sure your voice is heard. The Prom not only tackles dealing with a judgemental community but also having to face the judgment of family members.

This film is sure to be a gateway of communication for teens and young adults who have a hard time talking to their parents about their lifestyle choices.

“I really believe this film is going to inspire a lot of young people to take a stand and to stand in their power,” says DeBose 

 “The Prom” streams on Netflix from December 11. 

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