Published March, 2018
The PJP Update, Positive Justice Project (March 2018)
Creating Change Workshop Highlights Toolkits and Advocacy Intersections
On January 26, CHLP Staff Attorney Kate Boulton (pictured, second from right) presented at a workshop at Creating Change 2018 in Washington, DC. The workshop, Sex Work and Safe Syringes: HIV Criminalization Advocacy Beyond Non-Disclosure, focused on the intersections between HIV criminalization and the criminalization of sex work and drug use, with co-presenters (left to right) Kate D’Adamo and Sasanka Jinadasa from Reframe Health and Justice and Meghan Maury from the National LGBTQ Task Force. The jointly drafted CHLP/Task Force Toolkits on the intersections between these issues are available online.
Panel on the Relationship between Racial Justice and U=U at National African American MSM Leadership Conference on HIV/AIDS
On January 19, Kate Boulton presented at a workshop at the 2018 National African American MSM Leadership Conference on HIV/AIDS and other Health Disparities in Atlanta, Georgia. The workshop focused on the Consensus Statement on HIV “Treatment as Prevention” and Criminal Law Reform, and the relationship between racial justice and U=U in the HIV criminal reform movement. Co-presenters were Ace Brooks (left) of Friends for Life in Memphis, and Eric Paulk of Georgia’s HIV Justice Coalition.
State Advocacy Working Group Updates
Arkansas HIV Reform Initiative has continued to solidify its vision for advocacy and grow its membership as it convened in February and March. The coalition finalized its name and mission statement, which highlights the need for reform of the state’s stigmatizing and discriminatory laws. Advocates are currently focused on analyzing Arkansas’ HIV-specific laws, as well as distribution of palm cards and other educational materials to expand the Initiative’s membership and identify new stakeholders.
Meetings are held on the second Thursday of the month at 11:00am (CT).
If you would like more information on HIV criminalization in Arkansas or are interested in becoming an advocate with the Arkansas HIV Reform Initiative, please contact Arpita Appannagari at [email protected].
Californians for HIV Criminalization Reform has released a new fact sheet, which is an FAQ that covers how the law was successfully modernized and the impact of modernization on communities of PLHIV in California.
If your organization is interested in supporting ongoing efforts by California advocates, please contact Brad Lundahl at [email protected] or 323-848-9801 for additional information.
Neither of the bills filed during this legislative session (SB 546 and HB719) will be moving out of committee. The Florida coalition convened twice in February and is now focusing on strategic planning for 2018. The Coalition will support education and advocacy efforts throughout the state in 2018, building up community and stakeholder support for the modernization of Florida’s HIV criminal laws.
Meetings are held on the third Thursday of the month at 1:00pm (ET).
If you or your organization is interested in supporting HIV criminal reform efforts in Florida, please contact Kamaria Laffrey at [email protected].
The Georgia HIV Justice Coalition convened in February and March to discuss ongoing legislative activities related to mandatory testing for HIV and viral hepatitis. HB 737 was introduced in the Georgia legislature on January 24 and went to committee on February 5. The bill proposed the authorization of mandatory testing of an arrestee for HIV or viral hepatitis when a law enforcement officer alleges some kind of “significant exposure” from that individual during the course of a lawful arrest. The bill ignored the availability and effectiveness of universal precautions and postexposure prophylaxis to protect police and other first responders from occupational exposure to infectious disease.
Rather than move forward with HB 737, the Georgia House introduced House Resolution 1320 on February 24, which creates a “House Study Committee on High Risk Exposure to HIV and Hepatitis B and C.” The committee’s mandate is to study the issue of first responder exposure to infectious disease and issue any specific findings or recommendations that it develops before the end of the year. The Georgia HIV Justice Coalition is strategizing about the optimal approach for engagement with the committee.
If you are interested in joining the Georgia HIV Justice Coalition, please contact Johnnie Kornegay at [email protected] and visit the coalition’s website for additional information.
HIV Modernization Movement-Indiana is hard at work to prepare for its role as Host Committee for the HIV is Not a Crime III National Training Academy. The conference will take place June 3-6 at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. Registration is now open, click here.
If you are interested in information about HIV criminalization or participating, supporting or endorsing HMM-Indiana, visit the website or contact Carrie Foote at [email protected].
Louisiana Trans Advocates, Forum for Equality, and the Equality Federation hosted an HIV Policy Summit in Baton Rouge on March 1, where the Louisiana Coalition on Criminalization and Health (LCCH) was able to present and have a face-to-face meeting. CHLP National Community Outreach Coordinator Arpita Appannagari attended the summit, which included 50 attendees from around the state, including many PLHIV and others who represented AIDS Service Organizations, Ryan White Planning Groups, and LGBTQ organizations. Most attendees were new to the issue of HIV criminal law reform, and the LCCH was able to grow its membership.
On February 23, Representative Sherman Mack (R-95) introduced HB 112, which proposes amendments to the Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure Article relating to blood and saliva testing of persons who allegedly may have exposed law enforcement officers to a “serious infectious disease.” The bill contains both original and amended language that does not reflect current scientific knowledge regarding disease transmission risk, and serves to entrench myths and misconceptions about infectious disease and increase related stigma.
On February 28, Representative Edmond Jordan (D-29) introduced HB 275, a bill which proposes various changes to Louisiana’s criminal statute “Intentional exposure to AIDS virus.” (LA. REV. STAT. ANN. § 14:43.5). While the bill proposes some improvements, such as requiring that someone intended to transmit in order to be prosecuted, it also has serious drawbacks, including retention of “HIV exceptionalism,” a misguided emphasis on disclosure as tool for reducing transmission, the criminalization of activities that pose no risk of HIV transmission, and severely disproportionate felony punishment. LCCH is determining how best to work with Rep. Jordan to address its concerns about HB 275.
Meetings are held on the second Wednesday of the month at 11:00am (CT).
If you are interested in information about HIV criminalization in Louisiana or in joining LCCH, please contact Chip Eakins at [email protected].
After extensive work by the Missouri HIV Justice Coalition, two bills (HB 2674 and HB 2675) were filed consecutively on March 1 in the Missouri House of Representatives. While both bills seek to modernize Missouri’s HIV-specific laws, they differ in their approach and specific terms.
HB 2675, filed by Representative Tracy McCreery (D-88), reflects the priorities and advocacy of the Missouri HIV Justice Coalition, including requiring specific intent to transmit, decreasing the punishment from a felony to a misdemeanor, the removal of HIV exceptionalism, and only criminalizing activities that pose a substantial risk of transmission. HB 2675 also removes penalty enhancements for sex workers living with HIV.
HB 2674, filed by Representative Holly Rehder (R-148), represents some of the coalition’s priorities, such as the removal of HIV exceptionalism and more consistency with modern scientific knowledge around HIV. However, the bill has other serious drawbacks, such as retention of penalty enhancements for sex workers living with HIV and felony-level penalties, as well as a less demanding standard for the required mental state (“knowing” exposure rather than acting with the “specific purpose” of transmission).
On March 6, Missouri advocates engaged in a Legislative Advocacy Day in Jefferson City. The coalition will continue education and advocacy activities around the state, centering its work on HB 2674 and HB 2675 and the priorities advocates have identified together.
Meetings are held on the second Friday of the month at 1:00pm (CT).
If you are interested in becoming an advocate with the Missouri HIV Justice Coalition, please contact Ashley Quinn at [email protected] or visit the coalition’s website for additional information.
Equality Ohio and The Equality Federation hosted an HIV Policy Summit on February 26, with presentations and participation by the Ohio Health Modernization Movement (OHMM). Arpita Appannagari attended and, along with OHHM members, presented to an audience of around 50 people—including many PLHIV and other stakeholders new to HIV criminal law reform—on the legal landscape in Ohio, HIV criminal law reform advocacy in the state, and creating a structure and strategic plan to move advocacy forward.
Several members of the coalition met this month with a state senator for the second time to further discuss the coalition’s legislative priorities and strategy for modernizing Ohio’s HIV-specific criminal laws.
Meetings are held on the third Monday of the month at 5:00pm (CT).
If you would like information on HIV criminalization in Ohio or are interested in becoming an advocate with the Ohio Health Modernization Movement, please contact Arpita Appannagari at [email protected].
PJP Tennessee Working Group members continue to travel around the state and engage in community education and advocacy. The group convened in February and discussed the ways in which education and targeted outreach could be conducted with the state health department and other health care workers around Tennessee. Advocates have secured a legislative sponsor interested in introducing a bill in 2019.
Meetings are held on the fourth Thursday of the month at 1:00pm (CT).
If you would like information on HIV criminalization in Tennessee or are interested in becoming an advocate with the PJP Tennessee Working Group, please contact Arpita Appannagari at [email protected].
CHLP’s assistance in criminal cases includes counseling defendants and their families, providing legal and trial strategy support to criminal defense attorneys, identifying and assisting with preparation of medical and scientific experts, drafting sections of court submissions, and submitting friend-of-the-court briefs. CHLP currently is assisting in cases in Missouri, New York and Ohio.
If you are aware of anyone charged in an HIV exposure or transmission case, please refer them to our website, www.hivlawandpolicy.org and/or have them or their lawyer, contact CHLP for assistance at 212-430-6733 or [email protected].
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