National News Briefs (Jan. 24 - 30)

1/24/2014, noon
“Middle-class kids don’t get locked up for smoking pot, and poor kids do,’’ he said. “And African-American kids and Latino kids are more likely to be poor and less likely to have the resources and the support to avoid unduly harsh penalties.’’

Harrison, 55, served as director of education services for the Columbus Urban League in 2004-2010. A U.S. District Court judge on Friday sentenced Harrison to 42 months in prison, three years’ probation, and to pay restitution to the Columbus Urban League and its insurance company.

Judge Algenon L. Marbley also gave Harrison a tongue-lashing, saying he pocketed money that could have helped provide housing, child care and job assistance for the needy.

Black legislators cancel meeting with Fla. Gov.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Florida’s black state legislators on Wednesday abruptly canceled a scheduled meeting with Gov. Rick Scott, saying that "nothing’’ would come from the one-hour session.

The Florida Legislative Black Caucus has met with the Republican governor several times since he took office. All the caucus members are Democrats.

But on the eve of this year’s meeting, the group concluded that the talk would be "fruitless’’ because Scott has not responded to previous complaints from lawmakers.

"We decided this was not going to be the best use of our time and that at the end of the day nothing would come out of it,’’ said Rep. Alan Williams, D-Tallahassee.

Scott found out about the snub personally when he ran into Williams on Wednesday morning while walking through the Capitol.

Some of the items that legislators have questioned Scott about include judicial appointments and whether he is willing to appoint black judges as well as his decision to support a proposal to make it harder for convicted felons to win back voting rights.

Scott previously told black legislators that he appoints judges whose philosophy reflect his own.

The governor came under fire from black legislators in his first meeting back in 2011, after he told them that he "grew up in the same situation’’ as they did because he spent time in public housing.