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Rights & Liberties
Category archives for: Rights & Liberties

Richard Mathews, 62, Is Charged With Manslaughter in His Mother’s Death, Which He Says She Wanted

| April 23, 2014

Mary Shaw Mathews, 88, was found to have died by strangulation and over-medication on Feb. 21 at her Palm Coast home. Her son Richard told detectives that she had asked him to end her life as she had been suffering and declining fast. Mathews is being held on $250,000 bond on the second-degree felony charge.

In Clearest Pro-Immigrant Shift Yet, Gov. Scott Demands a Senate Vote on In-State Tuition for Undocumented

| April 23, 2014

The governor, who originally came to office threatening to crack down on undocumented immigrants, said Tuesday that his opinion on the issue was shaped by stories he’s heard from students who grew up in Florida and would benefit from being able to pay the cheaper, in-state tuition rates.

0-For-5: In latest Blow to Scott, U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Appeal on Drug-Testing State Workers

| April 21, 2014

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision not to take up the case means that the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling stands: Drug tests can’t be justified constitutionally for many of the 85,000 workers who would have been subject to Scott’s policy. The two sides continue to carry out a painstaking process of looking at different categories of workers to determine whether some could be subject to drug testing — a process stemming from the appeals court ruling.

A Rabbi, a Priest and a Bible Walk Into a Seminar: An Interfaith Class in Palm Coast Delivers Weekly Punchlines

| April 20, 2014

Every week since December at St. Thomas Church in Palm Coast, Rabbi Merrill Shapiro and Rev. Robert Elfvin have led an interfaith seminar, open to all, on the Bible as it is read through Jewish and Christian eyes. No ideas are out of bounds and some are off the wall, but participants find it bracing, eye-opening and overdue. Ezra Salkin reports.

Dream Act’s Florida Push Dies as Senate Panel Kills Proposal to Give In-State Tuition to Undocumented Immigrants

| April 18, 2014

Supporters of the bill seemed taken aback by the news, which came less than a week after Sen. Jack Latvala, the Clearwater Republican who sponsored the bill, announced that half the Senate had agreed to join him in sponsoring the measure. Latvala and Negron are locked in a battle over the Senate presidency for the session beginning after the 2016 elections.

Despite Parental Notification Law, Court Finds Room for Teens to Protect Privacy When Seeking Abortion

| April 16, 2014

Florida voters in 2004 approved a constitutional amendment that requires parents to be notified before their minor daughters can have abortions. But an appeals court ruling released Friday shows how far teens can go to challenge the law–and preserve their privacy when seeking an abortion.

Replacing Salisbury Steak With Sardines, Florida Prisons’ Kosher Option Raises Hackles

| April 11, 2014

Inmates contend that the peanut butter, sardines and cabbage served up daily by the Florida Department of Corrections are designed to discourage them from signing up for the kosher meals or to punish inmates if they do, and that the chow is far from what a federal judge had in mind last year when she ordered the state to start serving kosher meals to inmates.

Abortion Restrictions May Tighten in Florida as “Viability” Bill Diminishing Women’s Rights Moves Forward

| April 8, 2014

Under current law, third-trimester abortions are allowed if they are necessary to save a pregnant woman’s life or preserve her health, The proposals would make that standard more restrictive, and would exclude a woman’s psychological health as a reason to perform an abortion.

Rick Scott’s Dilemma: Helping Undocumented-Immigrant Students Or Sticking to His Base

| March 31, 2014

While Scott has repeatedly said he supports a proposal to end annual 15 percent tuition hikes, he’s remained mum about the portion of the bill that would grant in-state tuition to undocumented students, or Dreamers.

Spurred By Judge Craig’s Drubbing of Palm Coast, Rep. Hutson Calls for Repeal of Red-Light Cameras

| March 21, 2014

Calling himself “in complete opposition to the use of red light cameras in Florida,” Rep. Travis Hutson, whose district includes all of Flagler County, took the unusual stop of criticizing Palm Coast’s method of unduly punishing vehicle owners who are cited even though they may not be driving the cited vehicle. He called attention to two measures that would repeal ca,eras or change the rules in drivers’ favor.

Judge Craig Indicts Palm Coast’s “Bad Faith” Red-Light Cameras and Exposes City’s Legal Flaws as He Contests Violation

| March 20, 2014

In a half-hour hearing before Palm Coast’s red-light violations officer, Flagler Circuit Judge Dennis Craig on Thursday ridiculed the city’s guilty-until-proven-innocent standard as well as the council’s claim that cameras are intended to improve safety. The city dismissed his citation not on the grounds he raised, but by inventing a case of “prudent” driving that the evidence did not show.

In-State Tuition For Undocumented Immigrants Passes House, 81-33, as GOP Opposition Thins

| March 20, 2014

The measure allows undocumented immigrants to pay cheaper, in-state tuition rates if they attend Florida middle and high schools for at least four straight years before going to college.

Florida National Guard Stalls Proposal to Let Residents Carry Unlicensed Weapons During Emergencies

| March 19, 2014

Concerns expressed by the Florida National Guard stalled an NRA-backed Senate proposal that would allow people without concealed-weapons licenses to carry concealed firearms when forced outside in times of emergency.

Senate Panel Unanimously Approves Minor Changes to Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law

| March 18, 2014

The bill would clarify that a law enforcement agency must fully investigate whether a person claiming self-defense has lawfully used force. It also would no longer preclude lawsuits from third parties who are injured by negligent conduct used in self-defense.

Eight Gay Couples Married Elsewhere File Federal Lawsuit Challenging Florida’s Rights Violations

| March 14, 2014

The lawsuit lists numerous examples of alleged disparate treatment, such as the state retirement system providing benefits to the surviving spouses of dead public employees who were in heterosexual marriages. Such benefits are not available to surviving spouses in same-sex marriages.

Sheriff Jim Manfre: How To Restore Common Sense to Stand Your Ground

| March 13, 2014

The public’s valid concern over the vigilante-style actions of certain people who have watched too many Western movies should be dealt with through legislative action, argues Sheriff Jim Manfre, starting with a definition of self-defense that doesn;t leave its determination in the perpetrator’s hands.

Federal Lawsuit Against Palm Coast Code Enforcement Charges Search and Due Process Violations

| March 13, 2014

Linda Thomas, a retired attorney in Palm Coast, filed the lawsuit in federal district court, charging the city’s code enforcement division with violations of the 4th and 14th amendments. Flagler County circuit court in two rulings already found the code enforcement division had improperly and arbitrarily cited Thomas, but the court did not address constitutional issues.

Supreme Court Calls on Florida Legislature to Legalize Right of Undocumented Immigrant “Dreamers” To Practice Law

| March 7, 2014

The Florida Supreme Court unanimously ruled on Thursday that undocumented immigrants cannot be admitted to The Florida Bar, calling on the Legislature to change state law to allow so-called “Dreamers” to become attorneys.

Life Without Parole for Juveniles: Florida Struggles to Comply With Supreme Court Ruling

| March 6, 2014

Florida sentences more juveniles to life in prison without parole than any other state, but the pressure is on the Legislature this year to comply with restrictive U.S. Supreme Court rulings because without sentencing guidelines, the Florida judiciary is filling the gap one case at a time.

Denying Service to Gays and Lesbians: Right of Conscience Vigilantism Meets Stand Your Ground

| February 28, 2014

Bills in four states that would let businesses deny service to gays and lesbians on religious-freedom grounds are based on the same faulty justification of Stand Your Ground laws on self-defense grounds. In both cases, the 1st and 2nd Amendments are perverted into defenses of vigilantism rather than protection of rights.

Lock and Load: NRA-Willing, Florida Legislature Takes On Slew of New Gun Legislation

| February 28, 2014

Bills dealing with toaster pastries and insurance policies are just two of more than a dozen gun-related measures lined up for the 2014 legislative session that starts Tuesday. As in previous years, many of them will go nowhere, especially if Marion Hammer, the National Rifle Association’s powerful Florida lobbyist, doesn’t like them.

Convicted in Trooper’s Murder, Paul Howell Is Executed, Gov. Scott’s 15th

| February 27, 2014

Howell was convicted in 1994 in the 1992 murder of Florida Highway Patrol trooper Jimmy Fulford in 1992 when a bomb Howell manufactured exploded in the trooper’s hands after a traffic stop.

Global Warning Olympics: Closing Ceremonies for Winter

| February 23, 2014

Watching the Olympics requires too much of a suspension of disbelief to make the effort worth the time or the self-deception. There was an added and quite massive invention to these games: faking winter in a warming world, though in that regard we’re all self-deluded Russians.

When a Senator Turns Anti-Union Goon: A Labor Defeat Reverberates Across the South

| February 22, 2014

In light of the failed vote to unionize a VW plant in Tennessee, why should we care about the travails of labor unions in our country? Because, with no one in Washington able to effectively represent workers nationwide, unions are the only ones left to fight for a living wage.

Clarence Thomas as a White Playwright: “Race” Inflames City Rep’s Stage, With Sequins

| February 22, 2014

David Mamet’s “Race” turns the table on an old American convention: the white rapist of a black woman. This time getting away is not an option in a thrill-ride of a play that turns the tables on stereotypes and prejudices. No one is immune. It is the Palm Coast City Repertory Theatre’s big event of the year, under the direction of John Sbordone.

Grim Reaping: Gov. Rick Scott Now Florida’s Record Holder For Most 1st Term Executions

| February 20, 2014

Juan Carlos Chavez’s execution last week was the 13th on Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s watch — a record among first-term Florida governors since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976, and a record Scottt is smashing with yet more death warrants he is signing in his fourth year.

Florida Lawmakers Edging Toward Offering In-State Tuition for Some Undocumented Immigrants

| February 19, 2014

A measure allowing some undocumented students to receive in-state tuition was easily approved Wednesday by a House subcommittee, but the bill still faces a steep climb in the Senate.

Stand Your Ground: Florida is Not My Castle. And It’s Not Yours, Either.

| February 11, 2014

The right to stand one’s ground against aggression in one’s home is unquestioned, but, argues Julie Delegal, in public, spaces must be shared, peacefully. The castle doctrine cannot be extended to cover the entire state, as Florida’s Stand Your Ground law does.

How Obamacare’s Enemies Turned a Victory For Workers’ Freedom Into a “Job Killer”

| February 9, 2014

The prediction that Obamacare will lead to the equivalent of 2.5 million fewer jobs has nothing to do with businesses cutting the workforce and everything to do with workers being finally free of job-lock, now that they don;t need to stay in a job to have health insurance. That’s a good, and very American, thing, not the job-killing catastrophe Obamacare’s enemies make it out to be.

ACLU May Challenge Elections Division Ruling Blocking UF Student Union as Voting Location

| February 8, 2014

Democrats contend Gov. Rick Scott is “laying roadblocks to voting” because of a state Division of Elections opinion that the student union at the University of Florida can’t be used as an early voting location.

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