An upcoming State Bar of Arizona program explores the continued barriers to Native American electoral participation.

An upcoming State Bar of Arizona program explores the continued barriers to Native American electoral participation.

Still unsure what barriers prevent or dissuade Native American participation in the electoral process? As we head into election season, the barriers to exercising the franchise—and progress eradicating those barriers—will be addressed in a Phoenix program on Thursday, October 20.

Titled “Political Buy-In: A Look at the Barriers to (and) Participation of Native Americans in Tribal, State and Federal Elections,” organizers at the State Bar of Arizona describe it this way:

“This program will examine both the advances in Native American participation in all levels of elections and the continued barriers to effective participation in the election process. Participants can expect to gain a broad overview of how redistricting efforts, voter ID laws, and language barriers continue to marginalize Native Americans at the polls. The program will also look at possible changes to Native American participation at the federal level.”

A public radio program this week illustrates just how basic some of those barriers can be. In this story, journalist Carrie Jung spoke with Native Americans who face clear and existential obstacles to participating in elections.

Among those barriers are language challenges; traveling large distances, perhaps without a car; and even obtaining a voter ID when you have no formal address.

As Lori Riddle told Jung, “We’re used to giving directions out here by landmarks. There’s a tree. There’s two trees. There’s a big bush with purple flowers on it. [Poll workers have] tried to turn me away on a few occasions, even though they knew me.”

Among the topics to be discussed at the October 20 seminar are:

  • Voting Accessibility Act
  • Voter treatment in the polling places
  • Current lobbying trends in Native American Country
  • Implications of lack of early access voting for Native American voters
  • Constitutional guarantees

Panelists will be:

  • Heather Sibbison, Dentons LLP, Washington, DC
  • Patty Ferguson-Bohnee, ASU Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law
  • James T. Tucker, Armstrong Teasdale LLP, Las Vegas, NV
  • Mary O’Grady, Osborn Maledon PA, Phoenix

The seminar chair will be Virjinya Torrez, Assistant Attorney General for the Tohono O’odham Nation.

You can register here.

If you’re wondering why all this still matters in 2016, Patty Ferguson-Bohnee breaks it down as she speaks to KJZZ’s Carrie Jung:

“We’re the first people of the United States. And when people face these roadblocks, sometimes they’re not empowered. And we want to empower people. We’re a democracy.”

Speaker photos are below (click to enlarge).

Radio gives back: KJZZ pastry-winnings being enjoyed in the Arizona Supreme Court.

Radio gives back: KJZZ pastry-winnings being enjoyed in the Arizona Supreme Court.

The other day, as I was enjoying my morning coffee, I was pointed toward a site where … I could watch other people do the same thing.

OK, that was not a very intriguing opening for what is really a very cool endeavor. In the effort, KJZZ, the local public radio station, is soliciting workplace photos that they might republish—and they are willing to sweeten their offer:

“If you’ve ever stood around your office watercooler with your co-workers and found yourself talking about a story you heard on KJZZ, now is your chance to show us—and win. Send us a photo of you and your co-workers around your office watercooler or coffee pot by using the hashtag #KJZZwatercooler on Facebook or Twitter. (If you’d rather email your photo, send it to kjzzsocial@kjzz.org.)”

“We’ll post the pictures on KJZZ.org and our Facebook page, and draw a random winner each week. If you win, we’ll deliver some coffee and treats to your workplace.”

That’s the draw that led me to the photos in this post. They show Arizona’s current Supreme Court clerks gathered to enjoy their pastry winnings.

The vote appears unanimous: Arizona Supreme Court clerks enjoy KJZZ pastries. KJZZ’s Carrie Jung delivers coffee and pastries to the law clerks at the Arizona Supreme Court in downtown Phoenix on June 29, 2015. (Photo by Sky Schaudt - KJZZ)

The vote appears unanimous: Arizona Supreme Court clerks enjoy KJZZ pastries. KJZZ’s Carrie Jung delivers coffee and pastries to the law clerks at the Arizona Supreme Court in downtown Phoenix on June 29, 2015. (Photo by Sky Schaudt – KJZZ)

More photos at the Court, including the sweet treats, are here on the KJZZ Facebook page.

And be sure to follow the station on Facebook here. And pay attention; there may be a muffin in your future. If you and your officemates are conversant in the morning, it may be worth snapping a photo!

For past and future contest photos (and to learn how to submit your own), go here for the Watercooler Photo Contest.

Finally, because we all feel a yawning absence on Change of Venue Friday, as my post often lacks any law (oh, no!), let me offer one statutory element—from France.

I have read that the shape of your croissant truly matters. Apparently, the straight variety may be made if the only “fat” ingredient is pure butter. If any other fat is used, it must be shaped as a crescent.

A citation, you ask? Here you go.

As one food writer also pointed out, “According to a French law passed in 1998, boulangeries can only legally call themselves boulangers if they make their own fresh bread on site (this is exactly the kind of hard-hitting law-making decisions we need in the rest of the world).”

Have a wonderful—and pastry-filled—weekend.

Last week, I reported that the State Bar of Arizona has issued an ethics opinion that guides Arizona lawyers who may advise clients in regard to the recently passed Medical Marijuana Act.

The complete opinion is here.

The path here has been rocky, to say the least. First, there was some misunderstanding about whether the Bar had taken a position on whether lawyers could assist clients when there was a conflict between a new state law and federal prosecution. Many in the media and the public were dazed and confused. It even led one news outlet to say the Bar’s position obstructed justice.

Following that, the Bar clarified its stance, saying it had not taken a formal position.

Of course, now it has, through its newest ethics opinion.

To add to the education, the Bar will hold a seminar this Thursday on the topic. It’s titled “The Arizona Medical Marijuana Program – Proposition 203 and Beyond.”

According to the preview, “The program will discuss Prop 203, the draft rules, issues related to zoning and employment law and the ethical and criminal issues of the proposition.”

Speakers and their topics will include:

  • Will Humble, Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services: Medical Marijuana: Recreation or Medicine?
  • Karen Clark, Esq., Partner, Adams & Clark, PC: Issues related to Prop 203 from an ethics defense perspective
  • Christopher Mason, Esq., Partner, Fisher & Phillips, LLP: How the new law impacts employment
  • Ryan Hurley, Esq., Partner, Rose Law Group pc: Prop 203 and the draft rules and related zoning issues
  • Patricia Sallen, Ethics Counsel, State Bar of Arizona: Ethical issues (including the State Bar’s position) related to Prop 203
  • Theron M. Hall, III, Esq., The Hall Law Firm: Potential criminal issues related to the proposition

Before the CLE, here is a radio news interview (via KJZZ) with Arizona lawyer Christopher Mason regarding workplace aspects of the new law.