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Rights & Liberties
Category archives for: Rights & Liberties

Yes, It’s Retroactive: Florida Supreme Court Rules All Lifers Sentenced as Juveniles Must Be Resentenced

| March 19, 2015

The justices ordered lower Florida courts to apply a 2014 law to inmates who, as juveniles, were sentenced in the past either to life in prison or to terms that would have effectively kept them behind bars until they die. Two of the inmates were convicted of murder.

Bill Targeting Transgenders in Public Bathrooms Clears 2nd House Committee, 7-4

| March 17, 2015

The 7-4 vote of the Florida House Government Operations Subcommittee included one dissent from a Republican, though as the bill advances, its chances of becoming law increase.

Will U.S. Supreme Court Rule Florida’s Cavalier Death Penalty Unconstitutional?

| March 15, 2015

In 27 of the 31 death penalty states, the jury’s decision to impose life imprisonment is final and may not be disturbed by the trial judge under any circumstances. But not in Florida.

24-Hour Waiting Period for Abortion Clears Florida House Panel in Partisan 9-4 Vote

| March 12, 2015

Under the bill, a woman seeking an abortion would be required to meet with a physician to get information and then wait at least 24 hours before the procedure could be performed.

Why Black America Fears the Police

| March 8, 2015

When shots were fired as a group of black friends walked along the beach, there was no rush to call 911. They feared what could happen if police came rushing into a group of people who, by virtue of their skin color, might be mistaken for suspects.

FDLE Arrests 15 Floridians For Running Human-Trafficking Ring in Five Counties

| March 7, 2015

Women were forced to work as commercial sex slaves, performing sex acts on 25 to 45 men a day, six days a week. Victims ranged in age from 25 to 35. The investigation began in 2013 after the Collier County Sheriff’s Office discovered a human trafficking victim during a traffic stop.

After Spending $300,000 in State Funds, Gov. Scott Quits Fight to Drug-Test Welfare Recipients

| March 6, 2015

The ACLU, which filed the challenge on behalf of single father and Navy veteran Luis Lebron, hailed the end of the drawn-out legal battle over the drug tests, an issue Scott campaigned on during his first bid for governor in 2010.

Bill Forbidding Local Government Protection for Transgenders In Public Bathrooms Advances

| March 5, 2015

A bill by Florida Rep. Frank Artiles that would overturn local government ordinances protecting transgender use of single-sex bathrooms passed 8-3 on a party-line vote Wednesday after an impassioned discussion in a House subcommittee.

I Am A Throw-Away Piece Of Trash In This Country of Freedom and Liberty and Respect

| March 5, 2015

Cindy Robert Sullivan, a transgender man transitioning to a woman, addressed Rep. Frank Artiles and a House committee before a 9-4 vote approving a bill forbidding certain protections for transgender people.

Bill Would Allow Gun-Carrying Without Concealed-Weapons Permit During Evacuations

| March 4, 2015

An NRA-supported measure that failed last year now has sheriffs’ backing, and would allow legal gun owners to carry their guns without licenses in the first 48 hours after emergency evacuation orders are given.

Bi-Partisan Lawmakers Looking to Expunge Criminal Records of Non-Violent Juveniles

| February 27, 2015

An Orlando Senator is sponsoring a bill that would allow the expunging of records for minors who commit nonviolent misdemeanors and go on to complete diversion programs.

As FAA Issues Rules, New Palm Coast Drone Company Beguiles Realtors and Others

| February 23, 2015

CAVU Aerial Photography, a drone company in Palm Coast since August, has been showing Realtors, communications companies and others the many uses of drone technology, which is expected to boom with the FAA’s new, more permissive rules.

When Your Armed Neighbor Comes
Knocking: Guns and Muslims in Chapel Hill

| February 22, 2015

What kind of country do we live in, where it’s legal for a man to bring a weapon to a noise complaint? Or a parking dispute? Mitchell Zimmerman confronts the Chapel Hill killings of three Muslims.

Lily Sara, Humanitarian and Founder of
La Voix de La Femme Libanaise, 1929-2014

| February 21, 2015

Lily Sara, one of Lebanon’s leading humanitarians and founder of La Voix de La Femme Libanaise–the Voice of the Lebanese Woman–died in Beirut on Dec. 10, 2014. Testimonies and eulogies were offered on Dec. 13.

Appeal Court Upholds Florida’s Ban on Open-Carry, But Case Appears Headed For Supremes

| February 18, 2015

Dale Norman, a resident of St. Lucie County, was arrested at gunpoint for carrying an openly visible handgun in a holster, on his hip. Florida Carry Inc. took his case and has been fighting his conviction since.

Florida Justices Halt Execution Until U.S. Supreme Court Rules on Lethal Injection

| February 17, 2015

Saying it must “err on the side of extreme caution” or risk threatening the “viability of Florida’s entire death penalty scheme,” the Florida Supreme Court on Tuesday halted the Feb. 26 execution of a convicted killer until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on a lethal injection drug.

Senate Panel Easily Clears Bill Granting Secrecy to Top College and University Job Applicants

| February 17, 2015

The Senate Higher Education Committee voted 7-2 to approve the measure (SB 182), which would exempt information about applicants for the jobs of president, provost or dean from the state’s open-records laws.

Is Your Facebook Account Private After You Die? Senate Bill Says Not So Fast.

| February 12, 2015

Florida Sen. Dorothy Hukill wants to permit online account access after an account holder has died. The Act seeks to open the book on our digital lives, even after we have uploaded to the great cloud in the sky, writes Peter Schorsch.

Net Neutrality’s Biggest Deal: FCC Rules Would Keep Internet Open

| February 11, 2015

If the FCC ignores big cable and communications companies’ pressure and approves the rules, it would be one of the greatest public policy victories in decades, argue Matt Wood and Candace Clement.

A Strip-Club Sin Tax That Also Takes Names? This Conservative Says No And No.

| February 5, 2015

Florida lawmakers are considering a measure that would charge a $10 surtax on sex-club patrons and require the business to keep a database of customers. Nancy Smith says no.

Don’t Expect Supreme Court’s Latest Review of Lethal Injection to Kill Death Penalty

| February 5, 2015

States changed from hanging to electric chair because it was a modern, supposedly painless method of execution. Botched executions have rendered that assumption problematic.

Inmate Asks Florida Justices to Block Execution Pending Supremes’ Ruling on Lethal Injection

| January 30, 2015

Attorneys for condemned killer Jerry William Correll filed an emergency petition as the U.S. Supreme Court considers the constitutionality of a sedative that is the first drug administered during a three-step process in executions.

For Black Students in Flagler Schools, Some Progress But “Systemic Bias” and Startling Disparities Persist

| January 27, 2015

Amir Whittaker, a staff attorney with the Southern Poverty Law Center, presented a report card on the school district’s treatment of black students, acknowledging some progress but pointing out enduring racism, especially in suspensions.

8 Weeks After FSU Shooting, House Panel Approves Concealed Guns on Florida Campuses

| January 21, 2015

Currently, people are banned from carrying such weapons at Florida colleges and universities, with the exception of stun guns or similar devices. Data show that 246,632 Floridians between the ages of 21 and 35 have concealed carry permits.

Supreme Court May Invalidate Fair Housing Provision Cities Use to Combat Segregation

| January 21, 2015

The Supreme Court has been weakening many civil rights protections for decades. It appears on the verge of gutting the Fair Housing Act. It hears arguments in a case today that will be decided by the end of June.

Florida Prison Ban on Beards Violates Muslim Inmates’ Religious Rights, Supreme Court Rules

| January 20, 2015

The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that Florida and six other states could not ban inmates from growing beards for religious reasons. The case originated in Arkansas.

Legal Aid For Poorer Floridians Diminishing, Commission Starts Work on Seeking Fair Fix

| January 18, 2015

With Gov. Scott opposed to moire funding, the 27-member Florida’s Commission on Access to Civil Justice will have to figure out how to provide additional funding for civil legal aid without simply asking for money from state legislators.

When Bigots Hide Behind Religious Freedom

| January 16, 2015

Kelvin Cochran, the former Atlanta fire chief, and his supporters, are using the veil of religious freedom to justify homophobic and bigoted views that have no place in the workplace.

At Hemming Park, Jacksonville Evolves From Axe Handle Saturday To Civil Rights Saturday

| January 15, 2015

Jacksonville filled Hemming Park with racial hatred and violence 55 years ago. But January 10, 2015 was a celebration of love as it became the location of a series of gay marriages, writes Julie Delegal.

A Muslim Cartoonist on the Charlie Hebdo Massacre: Shame, Fear, But Mostly Hope

| January 13, 2015

Cartoonist Khalil Bendib, an American Muslim and native of Algeria who’s known his share of censorship and death threats, writes of grief and human solidarity in the wake of the attack.

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