The U.S. Senate is on the verge of making changes to the time and type of criminals that the country incarcerates, reports the New York Times.

As senators work to meld several proposals into one bill, one important change would be to expand the so-called safety-valve provisions that give judges discretion to sentence low-level drug offenders to less time in prison than the required mandatory minimum term if they meet certain requirements.

Another would allow lower-risk prisoners to participate in recidivism programs to earn up to a 25 percent reduction of their sentence. Lawmakers would also like to create more alternatives for low-level drug offenders. Nearly half of all current federal prisoners are serving sentences for drug crimes.

Today’s Question: Do you support reducing the sentences of drug offenders?

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“A performance by the Chicago rapper Chief Keef — or rather, his likeness, beamed live via hologram from California — was shut down by the police on Saturday night in Hammond, Ind., after warnings from the mayor’s office that the performer could not appear, even digitally, promoters said on Sunday,” writes Joe Coscarelli for the New York Times.

Chief Keef, 19, had billed the performance as a “Stop the Killing” benefit concert, meant to raise money for Marvin Carr, a fellow Chicago rapper who died in a shooting this month, and Dillan Harris, a 13-month-old child killed by a vehicle fleeing the scene of that shooting. The rapper opted not to appear in the Midwest in the flesh, citing outstanding warrants for his arrest, stemming from two child support cases.

Today’s Question: Is shutting down Chief Keef’s hologram concert a violation of the First Amendment?

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The Commission on Judicial Selection has forwarded the names of three candidates Gov. Mark Dayton will consider for the vacant seat on the state supreme court, reports MPR News reporter Tim Pugmire.

Here are short bios of the three candidates:

Judge Margaret H. Chutich: Judge Chutich serves as an at-large Judge on the Minnesota Court of Appeals. She previously served as Assistant Dean at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs, as Deputy Attorney General of the Law Enforcement Section with the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office, and as an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Minnesota. After clerking for the Honorable Diana E. Murphy in the United States District Court, Judge Chutich practiced with the law firms of Tanick & Heins and Opperman Heins & Paquin. Judge Chutich is a member of the Minnesota Women Lawyer’s Advisory Council and a former director of the YWCA of Minneapolis.

Judge Natalie E. Hudson: Judge Hudson serves as an at-large Judge on the Minnesota Court of Appeals. Prior to her appointment to the Court of Appeals, she served as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Minnesota in the Criminal Appeals and Health Licensing Divisions. Judge Hudson has also served as the City Attorney for the City of St. Paul, and was the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs at the Hamline University School of Law. She is a member of the American Bar Association’s Judicial Division and is a member of the Minnesota Women Lawyers Advisory Board.

Susan L. Segal: Ms. Segal currently serves as the Minneapolis City Attorney, the chief legal officer for the city, where she manages an office with 65 attorneys and is responsible for all of the City’s legal work and adult misdemeanor/gross misdemeanor prosecution. She was first appointed as City Attorney in 2008. Previously, she was the Chief Civil Deputy for the Hennepin County Attorney, the owner of Susan Segal, PLLC, and a partner at Gray, Plant, Mooty, Mooty & Bennett, PA. Ms. Segal is the Chair of the Hennepin County Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee, a board member of the International Municipal Lawyers Association, and the immediate past President of the Minnesota City Attorney’s Association.

Today’s Question: Who should fill the vacant MN Supreme Court seat?

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