Bill Would Ban Use of Condoms as Evidence of Prostitution in Court

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With criticisms of stop-and-frisk practices on the rise, one piece of legislation is targeting a police practice that doesn't involve searches for drugs or weapons.

Lawmakers in Albany have sponsored a bill that would stop courts from using the possession of condoms as evidence of prostitution. Currently, if cops stop someone on the street that they suspect is a prostitute, search the person, and find condoms, those contraceptives can be used as evidence in criminal court that the person was in fact engaged in sex work.

Those working to stop this policy aren't just going after this practice because of what they see as a problematic argument -- that condom possession implies prostitution. The lawmakers argue that it's also a major health concern, because it discourages individuals from carrying condoms on them, which in turn promotes unsafe sex.

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High Line Now Sporting a Giant $100,000 Bill

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Animal NY

The High Line has a new art installation in the form of a literal "bill board" by California artist John Baldessari. Fun fact: That is an actual replica of a real type of bill that existed during the Depression. Woodrow Wilson can be seen on the front of the bill.

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'Stand Up for Heroes' Benefit Kicks Off Eighth Year of the New York Comedy Festival

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The New York Comedy Festival has arrived. The festival turns eight this year, and will hopefully celebrate with humor children of that age can't understand. While always a showcase for chuckles, the first day of the festival has a higher purpose: supporting injured soldiers through the Bob Woodruff Foundation.

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Uganda Anti-Gay Bill Dropped From Agenda

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The bill in Uganda that might've included the death penalty or life in prison for homosexuals with HIV, same-sex rapists, or "serial offenders," appears to have been dropped from parliamentary plans "after global condemnation," the Associated Press reports this morning. "The parliament should be given the opportunity to discuss and pass the bill, because homosexuality is killing our society," Martin Ssempa, a prominent anti-gay pastor, had said about the law, which was originally proposed in 2009, but finally had a hearing earlier this week. John Alimade, a member of parliament, said Wednesday that "the bill may have been dropped from the agenda because of a worldwide outcry against it." Don't try anything sneaky, guys; the world is watching you. [MSNBC]

Your ConEd Bill Is About to Get Ridiculous

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Con Edison is raising rates by up to 12 percent in June, just in time for summer heat waves. This is on top of the previous four percent increase. Businesses could be looking at an 18 percent hike. So, the choice is yours: revel in your wonderful A/C and spend everything you have on energy bills, or follow my advice from last summer on how to survive sans A/C or even a fan. It's do-able, kind of.

[@_rosiegray]

The Battle Against Four Loko Rages On

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​Four Loko is back on bodega shelves in a caffeine-free and thus theoretically safer incarnation. But authorities still see fit to freak out about it. Eighteen Bronx bodegas were caught selling the new Four Loko to an underage undercover auxiliary cop. And in Albany, lawmakers are introducing a bill that would require the dread beverage to only be sold in liquor stores. Wait, why are we still talking about Four Loko again?

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Utah Adds Official Firearm to List of State Symbols

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Utah has officially become the first state in the U.S. to add a gun to its list of state symbols (state tree: blue spruce! state cooking pot: Dutch oven!). The new state gun is the M1911 pistol designed by John M. Browning, who was the son of Utah pioneers and Utah this, Utah that, etc. I don't know. The timing on this is about as bad as it could get, two months after Gabrielle Giffords' shooting and the debate that provoked about gun control. More »

Donald Trump Offers $6 Million Cash for Site of Mosque Near Ground Zero, Gets Shut Down

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Runnin' Scared theme of the day: ridiculous religious intolerance. Providing an "exit strategy" for Islamic Center investors, New York's most famous billionaire offered Hisham Elzanaty 25 percent more than what he paid for the site of the proposed mosque near Ground Zero, making the $6 million offer not because he is sold on the location but because it would end "a very serious, inflammatory, and highly divisive situation," according to a letter released by Trump's publicist and reported by the AP.

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Morning Links: Paterson Begins Veto Process; Violent Crime Up in NYC; LeBron Shops for Townhomes in the West Village

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• Governor Paterson expects to spend 29 hours vetoing spending in 6,899 budget amendments added by legislators this week. He has 10 days to do it. [NYP]

• Violent crime is up in New York City -- murders are up 11 percent, rapes 13 percent, and there have been 7 percent more shootings. The good news? Grand larcenies are down by 7 percent. [NYDN]

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New York City: Your Water Just Got More 12.9 Percent More Expensive

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Thirsty, New York City? Why wait? Well, now you have a reason. The water coming out of your tap just got a little bit more expensive.

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