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And for our next act … a look to the stories of 2022 | Local News

• Health care burnout. Will already-strained nurses, doctors and other health workers be able to sustain continued surges in hospitalizations?

• What more will we learn about the strength and durability of immunity derived from infection? And on the topic of immunity, what will our vaccine regimen look like in the future?

• Our flexibility. The most logical, fact-based approach to dealing with the pandemic is to adjust our behaviors based on viral spread. As our susceptibility goes up, so should our precautions. Can we do it?






New York Chief Judge Janet DiFiore administers the oath of office to Kathy Hochul as New York’s governor as her husband Bill Hochul holds a Bible during a ceremonial swearing-in ceremony in the Red Room at the state Capitol.



Harry Scull Jr.



First up, Gov. Kathy Hochul unveils her 2022 agenda with her Jan. 5 State of the State address.

A month later, she, along with her challengers, will be wooing Democratic Party leaders for support in the gubernatorial primary election.

In the meantime, there will be major battles at the Capitol over tax policies, criminal justice and arguments over how to spend billions in stimulus money.






Flurries (copy)

The lights are on and the snow is falling before the Buffalo Bills-New England Patriots game at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, Monday, Dec. 6, 2021.




Watch the money, and watch the politics.

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CBC Radio’s The House: Test your knowledge with our 2021 quiz

Are you ready to test your political smarts?

Host Chris Hall quizzes our panel of journalists on some of the biggest political headlines of the year, in a series of questions prepared by quizmaster Emma Godmere.

Test your knowledge with contestants Elamin Abdelmahmoud, David Cochrane and Katie Simpson by following along with the questions below and compare your answers at the bottom of the quiz.

53:59The House’s 2021 year-end quiz

How many headlines do you remember from 2021? It’s time to test your knowledge with The House’s annual end-of-year quiz! Play along with our panel of journalists as host Chris Hall pitches questions surrounding the biggest political stories from January through to December. 53:59

The Quiz

1. We’re going to kick things off with this audio clue:

Trudeau calls the U.S. Capitol attack ‘an assault on democracy by violent rioters, incited by the current president’

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau criticized U.S. President Donald Trump during a media briefing on Friday with reporters. 3:15

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said: “Violence has no place in our societies, and extremists will not succeed in overruling the will of the people.” What event was he speaking about?

2. Several people identified as participants in the storming of the U.S. Capitol were linked to the Proud Boys, a neo-fascist organization with chapters in Canada and the U.S. A few weeks later, the federal government listed the Proud Boys and 12 other groups as terrorist entities under Canada’s Criminal Code. Name one other far-right group that was added to this list.

BONUS: The government added several more entities to the list later in June. Name one of the far-right groups added at that time.

3. Time for another audio clue from January:

’This is a gut punch for the Canadian and Alberta economies’ says Kenney

What’s the “gut punch” Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is reacting to?

BONUS: U.S. President Joe Biden signed 16 other executive actions and orders on his first day in office. Name one other move he made that day.

4. More major news broke before the month of January was up. Which prominent person resigned from a post, following a workplace review? 

5. Who immediately stepped in to fill the vacancy?

BONUS: How long did this person fill in for?

6. In February, the Commons passed a motion where 266 MPs voted in favour and zero opposed. Two MPs formally abstained, including Marc Garneau, the foreign affairs minister at the time, who said he abstained “on behalf of the Government of Canada.” What was the motion in question?

7. As COVID-19 vaccine deliveries ramped up in February, provinces began opening up vaccine appointments to older age groups through February and March. Name the two former prime ministers who got their first COVID-19 shots in Ottawa at the end of March.

A worker sets up signs for a mass vaccination clinic in Toronto on March 17, 2021. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press)

8. Also in March, the Supreme Court of Canada made a significant ruling. Which federal Liberal program was ruled constitutional?

9. In April, the Conservative Party unveiled its own climate plan, which would scrap the Liberals’ carbon tax but still put a price on carbon for consumers. According to the Conservatives’ plan, the money collected from that levy would be funnelled toward what?

10. Also in April, at a climate summit held by Biden, the Liberal government unveiled new greenhouse gas emissions targets. Previously, Canada had pledged to reduce emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels by the year 2030. What were Canada’s new targets?

11. Climate change came to the forefront when an unprecedented heat wave and destructive wildfires hit Western Canada earlier this year. The village of Lytton, B.C. — just days before a devastating fire would tear through the area — shattered Canadian heat records for three days in a row. What was the record-breaking temperature recorded in Lytton?

12. Another major story that reverberated throughout the year was the sexual misconduct crisis in the Canadian military. Which top military commander abruptly stepped aside just weeks after being named to the top post because of an investigation into allegations against him?

Admiral Art McDonald became Canada’s new top military commander in January. He was on the job for only a month before stepping aside. (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press)

13. Which military official permanently took over his position?

14. Name the former Supreme Court justice who in April was tapped to lead an external review into sexual harassment and misconduct in the Canadian military.

BONUS: The former Conservative government conducted an external review of sexual misconduct in the military six years ago. Which former Supreme Court justice led that review?

EXTRA BONUS: Can you name the other former Supreme Court justice who this year released a review into Canada’s military justice system?

15. In May, unmarked graves were uncovered at the site of the former Kamloops Residential School in B.C. It was the first of several sites that would be uncovered in the following months. Trudeau announced that flags on all federal buildings would be flown at half mast to honour the children who never returned home, as well as survivors and their families. For how many consecutive days did flags fly at half mast? 

16 Opposition Leader Erin O’Toole said the following one evening, in the House of Commons: “The non-partisan Speaker granted yet another emergency debate because of the Liberal government’s failure to fight for our economic interests, whether at home, whether around the world or even with our closest allies.” What was the topic of this emergency debate?

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole holds a news conference in Ottawa on May 7, 2021. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

17. Also in May, federal Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion released his findings following an investigation under the Conflict of Interest Act into the WE Charity controversy that unfolded the summer before. Which individual was cleared of wrongdoing, and which individual was found to have broken conflict rules?

BONUS: This was not the first ethics probe for Trudeau. How many came before it?

18. In June, Speaker Anthony Rota called a private citizen to the bar of the House of Commons to be officially reprimanded — something that hadn’t been done since 1913. Who was that individual?

19. Why was he being reprimanded by the Speaker of the House?

20. Also in June, the prime minister nominated a new member of the Supreme Court of Canada. The nomination — and subsequent appointment — was a first for the country’s highest court. Name the new justice and the reason why the appointment was a first.

21. On what date was half of Canada’s total population fully vaccinated against COVID-19? 

22. The prime minister appointed several new senators over the summer. Two of them were coming off mayoral terms. Senator Bernadette Clement, selected in June, was the mayor of which Ontario city? And Senator Karen Sorensen, appointed in July, was mayor of which Alberta town?

23. In early July, the Assembly of First Nations elected a new national chief — RoseAnne Archibald. What position did she hold prior to becoming national chief?

24. Also in July, Mary Simon was announced as Canada’s 30th governor general — and the first Indigenous person to serve in the role. Later in the month, at her installation ceremony, she shared her Inuk name is Ningiukudluk. What did Simon say her Inuk name means in English?

Gov. Gen. Mary Simon gives her address after she took the oath to become the 30th governor general of Canada in Ottawa on July 26, 2021. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

25. The federal Green Party had a tumultuous year, which involved infighting, leadership challenges and ultimately winning one less seat than it captured in the 2019 election. One of the biggest blows came when MP Jenica Atwin crossed the floor to the Liberals in June. Before Atwin, who was the last MP to cross the floor in the House of Commons?

BONUS: Which riding did the MP represent, and what was the election result in that riding on Sept. 20?

26. Another major story was unfolding as Trudeau announced Canadians would be heading to the polls a few weeks later. The same day he called the election, the Taliban swept into Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan. Slightly more than a week later, U.S. forces had officially withdrawn from the country. When did Canada end its military involvement in Afghanistan? 

27. Once Trudeau called the election on Aug. 15, opposition party leaders were quick to react. What three-word phrase did NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh use to describe the call Trudeau made?

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh responds to questions during a news conference in a park in Winnipeg on Aug. 26, 2021. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

28. Conservatives released their platform on Day 2 of the campaign. What was the title of the document, and the photo emblazoned across the front?

29. Which Liberal candidate had a “manipulated media” warning tagged onto a tweet, which featured an edited video of O’Toole?

30. Which provincial premier waded into the federal election, telling reporters that the stance of certain party leaders was “worrisome” and suggesting a minority government would be the ideal result for him?

31. Trudeau’s campaign was met with protestors on several occasions, but at one particular stop, gravel was thrown at him. Where did this occur?

32. During a stop at Toronto’s city hall, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh pitched renaming the riding of Toronto–Danforth to what?

33. On Sept.r 20, Canadians elected a Parliament that looked pretty similar to the last one, but there were still several ridings that changed hands. Name two ridings, plus the winning candidates, that flipped on election night.

BONUS: Two of the ridings that flipped featured returning politicians. Name the two MPs who returned to the House of Commons after losing previous elections.

34. In several ridings, results weren’t known for a few days after election night. A few even faced judicial recounts. In one case, the judicial recount led to a different result than what was originally reported. By how many votes did Bloc candidate Patrick O’Hara lose to Liberal Brenda Shanahan in a judicial recount in Châteauguay–Lacolle?

BONUS: Name the former Liberal cabinet minister who once narrowly won her Edmonton riding by 12 votes, back in the 1990s.

35. Just days after Canadians headed to the polls, an even bigger news story broke late on a Friday evening. Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor were released from prison in China and were finally flying home. For how many total days were the two Michaels detained?

Former diplomat Michael Kovrig embraces his wife, Vina Nadjibulla, following his arrival on a Royal Canadian Air Force jet after his release from detention in China at the Toronto international airport on Sept. 25, 2021. (Cpl. Justin Dreimanis/DND-MDN Canada/Reuters)

36. While the release of the two Michaels was a positive moment in the Canada-U.S. relationship, the two countries hit a rough patch again as Biden and Trudeau were preparing to meet at the North American Leaders Summit in Washington in November. When and where was the last North American Leaders Summit held?

37. As Canadian, Mexican and American leaders met in Washington, a proposed electric vehicle tax credit for American-built cars proved to be a new sticking point — as Canadians raised concerns that the move could squeeze Canada out of the EV market. In U.S. dollars, what does the tax credit for American-made EVs top out at?

38. Trudeau unveiled his new cabinet on Oct. 26. Several Liberal ministers have been kicking around cabinet since 2015, but only one minister has held the exact same portfolio since day one. Which minister has been matched with which same portfolio through all this time?

39. The first bill to make it through Parliament and receive royal assent this session was C-4 — the bill to ban conversion therapy. Which MP moved a motion in the House to fast-track the bill through the Commons in early December?

40. In recent weeks, the conversation around the pandemic has been dominated by the Omicron variant. On what date did the WHO switch to the Greek alphabet to name COVID-19 variants?

Answers

1. The Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

2. Three other far-right groups were added to the list at that time: Atomwaffen Division, The Base, Russian Imperial Movement.

(BONUS: Three Percenters, Aryan Strikeforce)

3. The cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline

(BONUS: Other executive actions and orders included reversing the U.S. withdrawal from the World Health Organization, rejoining the Paris climate agreement and removing the Trump administration’s restrictions on people entering the U.S. from seven Muslim-majority countries.)

4. Gov. Gen. Julie Payette.

5. Chief Justice Richard Wagner.

(BONUS: Six months, from Jan. 23 to July 26.)

6. The motion labelled China’s persecution of Uighurs a genocide. 

7. Jean Chrétien and Joe Clark.

8. Federal carbon tax.

9. Personal low carbon savings accounts.

10. 40-45 per cent.

11. 49.6 C.

12. Admiral Art McDonald.

13. Gen. Wayne Eyre.

14. Louise Arbour.

(BONUS: Marie Deschamps.)

(EXTRA BONUS: Morris Fish.)

15. 161 days.

16. Line 5

17. Trudeau was cleared of wrongdoing. Bill Morneau was found to have breached the Conflict of Interest Act.

(BONUS: Two)

18. Then-president of the Public Health Agency of Canada Iain Stewart.

19. For failing to turn over to a Commons committee documents related to the the firing of two scientists from the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg.

20. Mahmud Jamal, first person of colour appointed to the Supreme Court.

21. July 19.

22. Cornwall; Banff.

23. Ontario regional chief.

24. “Bossy little old lady.”

25. Leona Alleslev.

(BONUS: Aurora–Oak Ridges–Richmond Hill; Leona Alleslev lost to the Liberals.)

26. March 2014.

27. “Selfish summer election.”

28. “Canada’s recovery plan:” O’Toole in a dark T-shirt with his arms crossed.

29. Chrystia Freeland.

30. Quebec Premier François Legault.

31. London, Ont.

32. Danforth–Layton.

33. Any two of the following:

  • John Aldag, Liberal; Cloverdale–Langley City; previously a Conservative riding.
  • Parm Bains, Liberal; Steveston–Richmond East; previously a Conservative riding.
  • Lisa Marie Barron, NDP; Nanaimo–Ladysmith; previously a Green riding.
  • Randy Boissonault, Liberal; Edmonton Centre; previously a Conservative riding.
  • George Chahal, Liberal; Calgary Skyview; previously a Conservative riding.
  • Paul Chiang, Liberal; Markham–Unionville; previously a Conservative riding.
  • Blake Desjarlais, NDP; Edmonton Griesbach; previously a Conservative riding.
  • Stephen Ellis, Conservative; Cumberland–Colchester; previously a Liberal riding.
  • Michelle Ferreri, Conservative; Peterborough–Kawartha; previously a Liberal riding.
  • Lisa Hepfner, Liberal; Hamilton Mountain; previously an NDP riding.
  • Wilson Miao, Liberal; Richmond Centre; previously a Conservative riding.
  • Mike Morrice, Green; Kitchener Centre; previously a Liberal riding.
  • Rick Perkins, Conservative; South Shore–St. Margarets; previously a Liberal riding.
  • Anna Roberts, Conservative; King–Vaughan; previously a Liberal riding.
  • Clifford Small, Conservative; Coast of Bays–Central–Notre Dame; previously a Liberal riding.
  • Jake Stewart, Conservative; Miramichi–Grand Lake; previously a Liberal riding.
  • Leah Taylor Roy, Liberal; Aurora–Oak Ridges–Richmond Hill; previously a Conservative riding.
  • Joanne Thompson, Liberal; St. John’s East; previously an NDP riding.
  • Ryan Williams, Conservative; Bay of Quinte; previously a Liberal riding.
  • Bonita Zarrillo, NDP; Port Moody–Coquitlam; previously a Conservative riding.

(BONUS: Randy Boissonault and John Aldag.)

34. 12 votes.

(BONUS: Anne McLellan.)

35. 1,020 days.

36. June 2016 in Ottawa.

37. $12,500.

38. Diane Lebouthillier, minister of national revenue.

39. Conservative MP Rob Moore.

40. May 31.

Your prize, for making it to the finish line

The House‘s prize for finishing the quiz? A playlist of our favourite songs, which we aired on the program in 2021, that you can click on here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=https://www.youtube.com/playlist

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Bail reform discussion bubbles up ahead of new jail push |

The conversation around Oklahoma County’s flawed jail and its proposed replacement has included topics ranging from how tall the new facility should be to what level of security inmates will find themselves in when, or if, it opens someday.

But a main topic of debate has been the question of size. How big is too big, and how much space is really needed? The current facility has seen significant overcrowding. Does that mean decision makers should build a much larger facility? Opponents say a bigger jail will only lead to an increased inmate population and will again become an overcrowded mess. At the same time, if the facility is too small, the expanding OKC metro area could quickly outgrow it, leading to the same problem.

Instead, the question some would like to focus on is how to lower the population of the jail, particularly by not jailing nonviolent low-level offenders. Diversion programs, which send offenders to rehabilitation programs instead of jail, can ease some of that problem. Bail reform could be another tool.

Cash on the barrel head

Currently, the most direct way for someone to get out of the Oklahoma County Jail is to secure the services of a bail bondsman. Typically, bondsmen charge a fee of about 10 percent. So if a judge sets bail at $10,000, a prisoner can pay the bail bondsman $1,000, and the bail bondsman then pays the court the entirety of the bail amount.

If and when the person returns for their court date, the bail bondsman gets the $10,000 back and keeps the $1,000 as a fee for having provided the money. Some bail companies offer payment plans, but those can come with interest rates that are sometimes determined by a client’s credit history and the crime they are accused of committing.

Some arrested individuals are released on their own recognizance, meaning they avoid the need for a bail bondsman.

But for those that can’t afford bondsman services, facing bail often means added time behind bars — not because of the severity of the crime or because of any danger they may pose society, but because they simply do not have enough money.

“Bail reform is definitely needed,” Oklahoma County Chief Public Defender Robert Ravitz told NonDoc. “There are too many people that are in jail who don’t need to be in jail who are not threats to anybody.”

Financial means influence outcomes

People in jail in the United States had a median annual income of about $15,000 prior to their incarceration, according to data from PrisonPolicy.org, an organization that works to raise awareness about over incarceration in the United States. Often, those in a county jail are poorer than those in state prison, and they are much poorer than those who are arrested and able to post bail.

“Imagine two people who commit the same crime and have the same criminal history, and neither one of them is at risk of committing a violent crime — they’re otherwise upstanding citizens — but they get arrested for the same low-level crime,” said Sandra Thompson, a law professor at the University of Houston. “One has money. The other doesn’t. The poor person sits in jail waiting.

“The DA will be willing to let them go if they plead guilty, and the judge might sentence them to time served, but now they have a criminal record. The person who was able to pay (bail) comes to court, and they’re much more likely to have their case dismissed. Research has shown this. So you have two totally different outcomes based on the ability to post bail.”

Thompson has served as an assistant district attorney in New York County and is currently a deputy monitor for the federal consent decree in the settlement of O’Donnell v. Harris County, a federal civil rights lawsuit that has caused Texas’ most populated county to essentially end the practice of requiring detainees accused of low-level, non-violent offenses to post bail in order to be released from jail.

What bail reform means depends on whom you ask, Thompson said. For some, it means ending cash bail altogether. For others, it’s about creating reforms that keep bail in place for some serious offenses, such as assault, while eliminating it for lower-level offenses, such as overdue speeding tickets.

“The phrase has come to mean different things to different people,” Thompson said. “But the conversation has been ongoing for a while. In Kentucky, they abolished for-profit bail bonding by statute in the 1970s. New Jersey did it 10 years ago. It has sort of continued. There has been growing awareness about commercial bonding and money bail. That issue comes up from criminal justice reformers when they look at the overall system and the damaging effects of money in the system, especially at the pretrial stage. It has a devastating impact on the whole system and creates a lot of unfair outcomes that all flow from the first decision of whether to release.”

Thompson said bail reform could still mean financial responsibility for the accused, but without the middleman.

“What it could look like is maybe the use of financial incentives to make sure they return to court, but not necessarily commercial bail bonding,” Thompson said. “There are four states that don’t allow commercial bail bondsmen, so we know there are places where the system can function without them.”

Thompson said the central issue is how to detach the question of whether someone should be in jail from their ability to pay to get out.

“At the end of the day, the question should not be how much money should a person pay, but is this person safe to release,” she said.

Beyond the issue of fairness, reformers also point to evidence that not being able to make bail can have reverberations that are felt for a lifetime. Those who end up in jail for long periods often find themselves in financial ruin, which can increase the risk of recidivism.

“They lose their job, if they had a job,” Ravitz said. “The family goes on welfare, and they’re put in a six-by-10 cell with two other people, and they get out about an hour a day, if that. If they weren’t an animal to begin with, when they spend a year in the county jail, they become one.”

Community bail funds aid some prisoners

Community bail funds have been created to help reduce the number of people who are being held pretrial because they cannot afford bail. Those funds, which are managed by organizations like the Bail Project, use money raised from the public and through grants to pay bail costs for detainees who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford it.

Those organizations also remind participants of court dates and in some cases provide transportation to and from court. When their cases end, the funds are returned to the organization. The Bail Project, which was started in 2018, has helped cover costs for more than 20,000 people in 22 states, including Oklahoma.

Groups like the Richmond Community Bail Fund in Richmond, Virginia, can be found on the local level. Last year, former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick pledged $1 million to a community bail fund.

Rep. Meloyde Blancett (D-Tulsa) said programs like the Bail Project are a valuable tool when it comes to managing jail populations and discouraging recidivism.

“They’ve taken this pool of money they raise through grants and personal donations, and they interview detainees in jail,” Blancett said. “They don’t take on every client, because not every client is worthy of help, but the clients they do help, they pay their bail and they provide them with reminders for court dates, and they give them transportation if they need it. They connect them with social services. It’s a true wrap-around program.”

Jail population has declined

While the long saga of problems at the Oklahoma County Jail is atypical, the makeup of its population tracks with most jails of its size across the country. About 80 percent of those held are pretrial detainees, according to the Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Advisory Council, which was founded to identify critical problems within the county’s justice system and jail.

The council has created a six-part plan “to address over-incarceration and issues plaguing the county-wide justice system.” The plan recommends that the criminal justice system should keep low-level offenders out of jail, create alternatives for people with mental illness and substance abuse problems and stop jailing people who can’t pay fines, among other goals.

Combined with a voter-approved change in state law, those efforts have been effective so far. In June 2004, the jail’s average daily population was 2,617. For 2021, the daily average is 1,672, according to CJAC. The organization, which came together in 2015, recently launched a dashboard that reports the jail’s population and other data.

But while the daily average population of the Oklahoma County Jail has declined, those detained within are often inside for months. The average person housed at the jail has been there for 126 days, according to CJAC’s data.

“They don’t have $1,500 or whatever it is, so they sit in jail and basically wait for their court date,” Ravitz said. “The first court date could be within three weeks. Preliminary hearing could be a month to three months, depending on judges’ schedules. If they get held for trial, you’re looking at another six months to a year. I’m talking about somebody who could be potentially innocent of the crime.”

CJAC executive director Tim Tardibono said those who are released on bail generally fare better than those who are not.

“A majority of people in the jail have not yet been convicted of anything,” he said. “They are pretrial. The real question is why are they there awaiting trial when the data shows your chance of a successful defense is much better when you’re out in the community and you can show a judge that you can hold down a job and take care of yourself, and that you’re not a threat to the public.”

Ravitz said expansion of own-recognizance bonds should be another key tool in reducing jail population. Those bonds, often referred to as O.R. bonds, allow for people arrested to be released after signing a written promise to appear in court. They don’t require the services of a bail bondsman.

Ravitz said judges in Oklahoma County have adequate discretion to increase the use of O.R. bonds or lower bail amounts if they wanted to.

“The [District Attorney’s Office] doesn’t even show up in arraignment most of the time in Oklahoma County,” Ravitz said. “The judge is setting bond on his own. I see several people a day that, in my opinion, could be released that aren’t a threat to society that are put in jail. I think the O.R. bond program in Oklahoma County helps. I don’t think they get out near the number of people they should.”

Although he believes reform is needed, Ravitz said he does not see a way to end cash bail entirely.

“I don’t think you can ever eliminate cash bail. I think some of the bondsmen — just because somebody gets out on bail doesn’t mean they’re not likely to do another crime,” he said. “I think some of the bonds need to be supervised more. I agree with the DAs on that. I’m not in favor of totally eliminating cash bail. I don’t think it’s worked in other jurisdictions.”

Bail industry leery of reform attempts

The bail bond industry is estimated to gross about $2 billion annually in the United States. The industry grew 25 percent from 2009 and 2016 but has since seen a decline, with the number of bail bonds written falling by 10 percent in 2018, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Ken Boyer operates Ken Boyer Bail Bonds and serves as the president of the Oklahoma Bondsman Association. He said the industry has a two-pronged purpose, providing defendants with expert help from someone who backs them financially, while also deploying CLEET-licensed bail enforcers to track down fugitives who abscond from their bail and court obligations.

“Defendants have the right to reasonable bail,” Boyer said. “When a family member hires a bail bondsman for a loved one, they are entering into a partnership of sorts with the bondsman. They know that they will only have to pay a fraction of the amount of sufficient surety set by the judge as bail. They know they are hiring an expert to help their loved one get through a difficult time in their life. They know, due to our American free market system, that the bondsman has a vested interest in making sure the defendant completes his court proceedings. Although occasionally we have to arrest a fugitive, we prefer not to unless they force us to by fleeing.”

Boyer said expanding O.R. bonds is not necessarily the answer to keeping jail populations low. In his experience, those released on O.R. bonds can actually be more trouble than those who pay for his services, something he said he has pointed out to legislators.

“We go to arraignments every day and make note of who appears and who fails to appear,” Boyer said. “Because of this information, I was able to show legislators who may have been considering socialized pretrial release that, in 2019, 62 percent of the people released on their own recognizance failed to appear at this first court date. Seventeen percent of the bail bond clients failed to appear.”

The financial tether between bondsman and defendants also promotes compliance, he said.

“Because of the financial obligation of the bondsman to the court, the defendants on bond are cleared up rather quickly, averaging about two weeks,” Boyer said. “The fugitives released on [O.R.] average about 22 months before being caught in a traffic stop or committing a new crime. The fugitive cannot work until they get their warrant cleared. Crime or sponging off someone that does work is all that is available to them. Bondsmen do walkthroughs with clients who have a warrant they want to clear without being arrested.”

Boyer said he sees clients from all walks of life, and that it’s often a misconception that those who seek out services of bail bondsmen are always poor.

“We do bonds for just about anything someone can be accused of,” he said. “We even get a few clients that want us to substitute a bond for their O.R. release, wanting the help of a professional. Even very wealthy families that could post a cash bail want our help, knowing they want our expertise working for them. The anti-bail folks argument claiming that people sit in jail because they can’t afford bail is absolutely false. Almost always when someone stays in jail it is because they have jumped bond several times in the past, or their record would indicate that they are a significant danger to the public. I have many clients making $20 weekly payments on their bond fee.”

Legislative and other avenues of reform

Transformative change in bail practices would almost certainly need to come from the Legislature, Blancett said. Reform of Oklahoma’s bail laws is something she sees as necessary, but a lack of specific data makes it hard to drill down into the bedrock of the problem or to convince other legislators of the need for bail reform.

“We don’t have a lot of data that tells us what we’re dealing with. Whether it is pretrial or post-conviction, or whatever,” Blancett said. “We need data that tells us how they got in jail and why they’re still there. What percentage are there for fines and fees, and what percentage are there for other nonviolent offenses? How many people are in jail due to negotiations with the DA or some other law enforcement agency because they can’t pay bail? We don’t know this data, so the argument on either side becomes solely based on emotion without hard and fast data, and then you’re always going to have the voices of law enforcement who say if you let people out they’re going to go out and commit murder.”

Blancett said the state would be well served to invest in gathering the necessary data, which has happened in other states.

“Michigan has done really well,” Blancett said. “They pushed through with a bipartisan multi-segment task force that included judges, law enforcement and victims, and they pushed through strategic reforms. They did a one-time analysis working with [Pew Research Center] to gather data. For example, one of those things was the top 10 reasons people are incarcerated in jails in that state, and they found that five of them were traffic related. My point is we don’t know until we get smarter about data. It’s just an emotional tug of war if you don’t have that. Data is agnostic.”

Oklahoma County District 2 Commissioner Brian Maughan has dealt with the county jail’s problems since he took office. He said technology has helped get some people out of jail who otherwise might have remained there.

“I think that with tracking devices now, our flight risks are greatly minimized, so I don’t know if we have to get them to pay a big price on bail as we do getting them on GPS tracking,” Maughan said. “I think that opens up a number of different previous offenses that we would have asked for a higher price on bail. and having perimeters even when they’re under house arrest, it’s cheaper than incarcerating them, for sure.”

But Maughan said large-scale policy reform on bail is out of the hands of county commissioners.

“It’s just unfortunately mostly a conversation between the district attorney and the judges, as far as what they will accept,” he said. “But I do know that through our court services we are able to more broadly offer GPS tracking, and it’s more cost-effective than it was before.”

District 3 Commissioner and jail trust member Kevin Calvey, who is also running for Oklahoma County district attorney, has said in jail trust meetings that he doesn’t believe people should be locked up for parking tickets but that there is a limit to possible reforms.

“There are reforms that can be looked at, but we shouldn’t be reducing bail so much because we end up with another Waukesha, Wisconsin, parade massacre because some dangerous person is let out of jail,” Calvey said during a recent jail trust meeting. “Dangerous people need to be in jail even in pretrial.”

Ravitz said the primary barriers to bail reform come from the industry and fear of political embarrassment among elected officials.

“Probably the biggest impediment is the bail bond lobby, which is extremely strong,” Ravitz said. “They’ve stopped the reform in the past. They don’t want bail reform, and they tell stories about people who aren’t coming to court, which aren’t even true. There’s some DAs who aren’t in favor of people getting out on bond, because then they can get them to plead guilty just to get out of jail and take probation, but I don’t think that is as big of a problem as the bail lobby.”

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Jai Bhim TV Premiere Date Locked, Where & When to Watch

Jai Bhim is considering one of the most powerful films of Suriya’s career. Before the movie starts the director of the film promises to the audience that whatever they are going to see is not fiction or his Imaginary creation.

This actually happened with a group of people in our country. The critics have been saying Jai Bhim is one of the most powerful films of Tamil cinema ever, film was in much talks in 2021.

In the film Jai Bhim, we have Chandru, a rebellious, young advocate, wielding the powerful weapon of the law and trying to help the needy. He takes up the case of a tribal woman, Senganni, whose husband Rajakannu is missing since he was taken away by the local cops on charges of theft on him.

The Tribal woman is pregnant as well and looking for his Husband. The most daring thing the makers have done is that they took such a sensitive topic of our society.

There is no recent Tamil film where the names of dominant caste groups are simply mentioned, in the fear of the ripple effect it might create for the film and the film image must be in danger.

There is a scene in the film where advocate Chandru has been threatened by the upper castes by saying that “how long will it take to set your house on fire ?”

Chandru didn’t fear them and still questioned them when they were in court about the missing tribal man. Director Vetrimaaran film Jai Bhim had already exposed the deep-seated rot in our criminal justice system where the criminals are free to walk and the victim has been tortured by society.

Jai Bhim is also a detailed procedural drama where the judicial system is how helpless and victim too because of the powerful criminals and their manipulative deeds.

Senggeni, the wife of Rajakannu, the lady who is fighting a lonely battle on the road to justice for her husband’s custodial torture and death has done an amazing performance as an actor.

Suriya feels very natural and very fit in the role of a firebrand advocate who is fighting for the woman in need or a community who has been suppressed.

While he is delivering his dialogue It is as if he’s not just performing the lines written by the director, but he really believes in every word and gesture he delivers in this film and hence it becomes reality. The brilliant performance by the actor made the film more powerful.

After the director OTT release, the film is all set for the World Television Premiere on Kalaignar TV on 15th of Jan.

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Texas House District 54 candidates share political views | Government

A new year means new elections in Texas, and voters will soon take to the polls to decide on Democratic and Republican party nominees for county, state and federal races.

Some races are unopposed entirely. Others, such as with State House District 54 in Bell County, appears to be set with neither party’s candidate facing opposition.

Incumbent Rep. Brad Buckley, R-Salado, a two-term representative for the district, appears to be in line to square off against political newcomer Jonathan Hildner, D-Killeen.

Both were at the Herald Thursday afternoon to speak about how the campaign has gone so far and to discuss their campaign priorities as well as how to get voters to the polling place despite the race being uncontested for each.

Both explained that they have already been out speaking with constituents in eastern Bell County, a new demographic added to the district when the Legislature met in special session in September.

During the last two sessions, Buckley has represented all of Lampasas County and the southwestern part of Bell County, as far east as his hometown of Salado.

Beginning in January 2023, the district will be contained entirely within Bell County, encompassing a large portion of Killeen, all of Fort Hood that falls in Bell County and small communities in the eastern part of the county that had previously been part of District 55, such as Little River Academy, Rogers and Troy.

Buckley said that by being raised in the Killeen area and having graduated from Killeen ISD and returning to practice veterinary medicine in Killeen, he has deep roots and knows a lot of the folks.

“But it’s important to get out to make sure that people know what I stand for, they know my record, they know the types of accomplishments I’ve had in the Legislature, and I want to know what’s on their mind. I’m asking for their advice,” Buckley said. “It’s a tenuous time in our country and our state and our communities, and I want to know what people are thinking.”

Buckley said he has been out in parts of the new district for the past several weeks.

Hildner acknowledged that while Killeen represents around 80% of the population of the new district, the smaller communities are just as important.

“We’ve spent a lot of time knocking doors in these communities. A lot of these communities are not used to anybody from any party knocking on these doors, and I think that is important,” Hildner said.

Hildner said he thinks that regardless of the office, some people get comfortable with the districts they’re drawn into and that the party-affiliation letter behind their names will be enough to entice people to get out and vote.

“That’s not the mindset that my campaign is taking,” Hildner said. “We’re going to knock every single door and speak to every single voter, regardless of affiliation and hope to come to a compromise to where they’re comfortable with voting for me.”

What constituents are saying

Buckley and Hildner explained what they have been hearing from the constituents they have been speaking to.

“People are concerned about the cost of everything — about inflation — and you know, they see a stark difference,” Buckley said adding that the price of fuel is over a dollar per gallon higher than last year. “And we know that once fuel costs go up, that everything costs more.”

Buckley is a managing partner at Killeen Veterinary Clinic on Pershing Drive, and even he has felt the increase.

“You know, as a small-business owner in Killeen, I’ve seen a 15-18% increase in just my cost of doing business when we talk about the cost of supplies. That tends to drive prices and fees up, and it creates real challenges,” he said.

Buckley said people he has spoken to are also concerned about the southern border of the state. He remarked that he had toured the border area several weeks ago and saw the “chaos” for himself.

Hildner said conversations he has had with constituents has brought out concerns about infrastructure, the economy and criminal justice reform.

“In terms of infrastructure, a lot of folks here in Killeen want to see the completion of a revitalization of our downtown area, increasing economic opportunities here in the city — not losing sight of the image of Killeen,” Hildner said.

From an economic standpoint, Hildner said people have expressed concern over the lack of high-paying jobs.

“In terms of economy, bringing jobs here to this community. Again, focusing on our north side (of Killeen) that has the lowest median income in our entire city, making sure we’re bringing jobs here that are paying a $15 an hour minimum wage — a liveable wage in these days,” Hildner said.

Where Hildner and Buckley agree is with decriminalization and legalization of the medicinal use of marijuana. Where they differ is that Hildner is in favor of legalization of recreational use, while Buckley is opposed to it.

“I think we can easily show through our veterans that it’s tried and true and it works, and hopefully then, for the rest of our citizens throughout the district,” Hildner said. “… it will not only boost our economy because then you can tax the sale of it, but it will, again, create spaces and reform our criminal justice system that has convicted so many.”

Buckley, who voted in favor of a decriminalization bill in the last Legislative Session, said the economic impact is a common argument for advocating for recreational use. He added that he has done his homework in regard to the topic.

“I spoke with a pharmaceutical company, to a scientist who’s a cannabinoid scientist, and he was talking about the impact of marijuana on young people’s brains. And he said to a group that was listening to a presentation, ‘Moms and dads out there, tell your kids it’s OK to smoke marijuana, but just wait until you’re 25,’” Buckley said. “And this is a guy that understands the chemistry very well. And so I feel like that pure recreational legalization can have a real negative impact on young people.”

Hildner’s personal campaign priorities mainly match up with the concerns he has heard from the constituents, but he also focused on taking care of veterans and those in the military.

“Any good soldiers will say that veterans don’t stop at the soldier. Families serve as well. The military has crafted who I am today without myself even serving,” Hildner said. “I grew up around it — I spent, again, a majority of my life here in Killeen.”

Hildner is the son of a brigadier general who passed away while on active duty. He was born at Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center.

Buckley said he is focused on veteran issues as well, but he also targeted Texas A&M University-Central Texas as a priority of his campaign.

“We know there’s a research park on the future. We have to do all we can. We think about our connection with Killeen, Fort Hood, and we think about what we have with Army Futures Command, our university’s going to be right in the center of that — it’s going to be the hub of that.”

During the 87th Legislative Session, Buckley said the Legislature approved $45 million in tuition revenue bonds to build a Centralized Operational Reliability and Efficiency facility on its campus. Read more about that at: https://bit.ly/3pGXNMY.

The primary will be held on March 1. Republicans will vote only for Republican candidates, and Democrats will only vote for Democratic candidates.

Early voting begins Feb. 14.

The general election will be held Nov. 8.

To view the full interviews with the Buckley and Hildner, go to the Killeen Daily Herald YouTube page.

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Week in Insights: Tax Resolutions in the New Year

I love the idea of resolutions in the new year. It’s like having a brand new notebook with pages just waiting to be filled.

That said, I have a confession: I’ve rarely made resolutions. I’ve worried about setting myself up for failure, and I am one of those folks who tends to dream big.

But if there’s anything that I’ve learned in 2021, it’s to not take anything for granted. So my plan for 2022? It’s to dream bigger. I have big plans for work and for home. I figure even if I don’t complete everything on my list, just taking those first steps forward is huge.

Revellers gather in Times Square on New Years Eve Jan. 1, 2007, in New York City.

Photographer: Spencer Platt via Getty Images

Do you have resolutions for the new year? Whatever is on your list, this is the year to make it happen. And, at Bloomberg Tax, we can help you with some of your resolutions.

Unfortunately, you’re on your own when it comes to making pies and decluttering. But if writing more is on your list, consider submitting an article to Insights—here’s how.

If you want to talk more about tax, consider being a guest on one of our podcasts or a source for one of our stories—just drop me an email and tell me about your area of focus.

Do you want to run a 5K? Keep an eye out for the announcement for our virtual 5K—you can run with us.

If networking more is high on your list, we’ve got you covered there, too. This week, we’ve created lists of some of the best tax professionals in social media.

And if you just want to commit to staying at the top of your professional game, we have you covered there, too. This week, as always, our experts have the latest federal, state, and international tax analysis to help you stay informed as we kick off the new year.

The Exchange… It’s where great ideas intersect.

—Kelly Phillips Erb

Quick Numbers Trivia

According to an annual Fidelity Financial Resolutions Study, what percentage of respondents felt they would be in a better financial position in 2022 compared to 2021?
Answer at the bottom.

Our Roundup

This week, our experts touched on a wide range of topics, from VAT to opportunity zones. For a look at what’s making news, here’s our roundup:

In the fifth and final part of a series from CMS, “Business Restructuring—How to Get Out Alive,” Armelle Abadie, Hélène Brin, Berardo Lanci, Etienne Cox, and Puck Wilmink consider how transfers of a going concern are treated for VAT purposes in Italy, the Netherlands, and France, and examine the cross-border implications of such transfers.

Nguyen Dinh Du and Do Vu Bao Khanh of Grant Thornton Vietnam discuss the transfer pricing issues that can be challenging for companies doing business in Vietnam and outline how taxpayers can ensure they are compliant with tax authority requirements.

Fireworks light up the London skyline and Big Ben just after midnight on Jan. 1, 2015 in London, England.

Photographer: Peter Macdiarmid via Getty Images

Robert Marchant of Crowe looks at some of the most common VAT errors made by U.K. businesses in 2021 and recommends specific and robust processes and controls to address these issues in 2022.

Qualified opportunity zones are still a hot topic. And as Libin Zhang of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP advises, for tax purposes, timing is everything.

Earlier this year, our Bloomberg Tax Insights and Commentary team asked what #taxpros needed to know—from tax tips to topics to watch out for—to start the #newyear off right. This week, we published some of the best submissions. Here’s a look:

Opinion & Commentary

The success or failure of President Joe Biden’s legislative agenda could depend, writes Karl Smith, on a single senator from a mountainous state who has idiosyncratic views and is not especially popular in his own party. And it’s not who you think it is.

It’s no surprise that in 2021, Bloomberg Law Insights readers were acutely dialed into commentary about Covid-19 workplace vaccine mandates and criminal justice conversations accelerated by the murder of George Floyd. They were also interested in the future of cryptocurrency—a topic that produced the No. 1 most-read piece of the year.

Columnists & Contributors

A lot happened in the tax world in 2021. Sometimes, I wrote about it. And sometimes, my colleagues wrote about it. And other times, my fellow tax professionals wrote about it. But our goal—every time—was to make sure that we put good, timely information in the hands of our readers. Take A Look Back at Some Favorite Tax Stories in 2021.

Social media has long been an excellent resource for the tax community. A few years ago, I started making a list of folks on Twitter that I depended on for tax information and professional support. The annual list became popular—and it got long. When I joined Bloomberg Tax this year, one of the first things I was asked was whether I would keep the list. I knew I wanted to keep it going, but I also wanted to make it a bit different. Check out Tax Professionals to Follow on Social Media in 2022.

Fireworks light up the sky above Sydney Harbour during the midnight fireworks display during New Year’s Eve celebrations on Jan. 1st, 2020 in Sydney, Australia.

Photographer: Cameron Spencer via Getty Images

Listen In

As we wind down 2021, we’re revisiting some of our most popular and topical Talking Tax podcasts of the year. With another potentially messy filing season on the horizon in early 2022, take a look back at our two-part filing season special from March. In part one, Aisha Servaty, director of the Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid Low Income Taxpayer Clinic, spoke with Bloomberg Tax’s Allyson Versprille about claiming pandemic relief payments, difficulties low-income taxpayers had in getting tax-filing assistance, and delays in processing paper returns. In part two, Scott Berger, a tax principal at Kaufman Rossin, broke down what the filing season extension meant for taxpayers with Bloomberg Tax’s Amanda Iacone.

On this recent episode of the Taxgirl podcast, I was joined by Bill Smith to talk about the IRS’s difficulties that have emerged since the pandemic and what we can expect in the future. Smith is the Managing Director of the CBIZ MHM’s National Tax Office in Washington, D.C. He has more than 40 years of experience in both the public and private sectors.

Get Caught Up

It’s been a busy week in tax news from state capitals to D.C. Here are some of the stories you might have missed from our Bloomberg Tax news team:

  • Multinationals now have final rules that tell them how to calculate their foreign tax credits.
  • A $625,000 check to the IRS was a payment rather than a deposit against IRS-assessed liabilities, and so the taxpayer can’t challenge the underlying liabilities at the U.S. Tax Court, the court ruled.
  • A Target subsidiary is suing Florida over a $10 million corporate income tax bill it says was calculated using the wrong apportionment method.
  • Bill de Blasio, who vowed to fix New York City’s dysfunctional property tax reform system eight years ago when campaigning to be the city’s chief executive, released recommendations in his final days in office that include creating a new tax class for small residential and condo owners.
  • UBS Group AG was sued by a couple who said the Swiss bank should not have disclosed the wife’s account information to the IRS because she was not a U.S. citizen.
  • A bank that closed the account of a U.S. citizen resident in the Netherlands was wrong to do so, a Dutch court ruled Wednesday in a case that has repercussions for other financial institutions in the country.

*Note: Your Bloomberg Tax login will be required to access tax news.

Be Noticed

At Bloomberg Law, we’re proud of our continuing efforts to highlight the next generation of leaders in the legal profession.

We’re thrilled to announce our call for 2022 nominations for “They’ve Got Next: The 40 Under 40,” Bloomberg Law’s special report recognizing the accomplishments of sterling young lawyers nationwide.

Here are the nomination criteria and submission instructions.

Quick Numbers Answer

A whopping 72%. And six in 10 Americans feel optimistic about the future. That’s great news!

Be Social

Follow Bloomberg Tax on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn—and check out Bloomberg Law on TikTok.

We also have a growing LinkedIn group where our authors, contributors, and readers can share tax-related stories and exchange ideas. We hope you’ll join the conversation!

What Did You Think?

Your feedback and suggestions are important to us, so don’t hesitate to reach out on social or email me directly at kerb@bloombergindustry.com.