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Category archives for: Rights & Liberties

Proposed Florida Law Would Tell Employers to Butt Out of Employees’ Social Media Accounts

| October 6, 2015

The measure, which is filed for the 2016 legislative session, would prohibit employers from requesting access to private social media accounts, but pressure from business caused it to fail in two previous years.

Quadruple Murderer Jerry Correll Will be Executed as Florida Supreme Court Lifts Stay

| October 2, 2015

The unanimous decision issued today clears the execution by lethal injection. Correll murdered his wife, 5-year-old daughter, mother in law and her sister in Orlando in 1985.

Police Body Cams: Exemptions From Public-Record Disclosure Belie Intended Transparency

| September 26, 2015

Police body cams were intended to improve accountability and public access to cops’ work. Access exemptions in Florida and many other states are instead countering their intended purpose.

How Does Lawbreaking Kim Davis Get to Keep Her Job?

| September 22, 2015

The law of the land isn’t an item on an a la carte menu from which elected officials can pick and choose, argues Nancy Smith, who says Kim Davis should have been removed from office by the governor.

Muslim, Dark-Skinned, Geeky:
Ahmed Mohamed Had No Chance

| September 19, 2015

If there’s remaining doubt that it is subhuman to be a Muslim or an Arab in the United States, the imbecilic arrest of 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed over a clock puts the doubts to rest.

Anonymous Internet Browsing at the Public Library? Not if Homeland Security Finds Out.

| September 14, 2015

A library that allowed Tor users around the world to bounce their Internet traffic through the library, masking users’ locations reversed course after getting word from the Department of Homeland Security.

The Hell With Your Tired,
Your Poor, Your Huddled Masses

| September 13, 2015

Barack Obama’s order to open the U.S. to 10,000 refugees is dismal compared to Germany’s. Racism, not means, block greater numbers from an American welcome.

Facing Lawsuit from Florida Carry, FSU Scraps Gun Ban in Cars on Football Game Day

| September 10, 2015

The changes to the school’s “Game Day Plan 2015” guide for fans won’t holster the legal challenge by Florida Carry Inc. as legislators again consider allowing concealed weapons on campus.

“God’s Authority” Has No Place In Civil Government

| September 7, 2015

Kim Davis is not the problem. She’s a symptom of a dangerous movement that seeks to carve out religious objections all over the law books, making civil government a vassal of religious edicts.

For Every US Soldier Killed in Afghanistan, 13 Children Were Shot and Killed in America

| September 6, 2015

Between 2002 and 2012, at least 28,000 children and teens 19-years-old and younger were killed with guns. Teenagers between the ages of 15 and 19 made up over two-thirds of all youth gun deaths in America.

Florida’s New Drone Law, Restricting “Surveillance,” Is a Gift to Personal Injury Lawyers

| September 1, 2015

Like medical marijuana, there’s an entrepreneurial rush to get in on the drone business, but states like Florida have been stumbling their way to legislation., argues Nancy Smith.

Alone Among 50 States, Florida’s Ban on Prison Newspaper Is Upheld

| September 1, 2015

Florida Corrections officials have censored the publications for six years, objecting to certain ads and calling them a security risk. No other state prison system agrees.

Flagler, Among Top 10 Counties With Most Concealed-Weapon Licenses, Will Fast-Track Permitting

| August 31, 2015

Flagler has 8.24 concealed carry permits for every 100 residents. Starting Jan. 1, the Flagler Tax Collector’s office will accept concealed-weapon permit applications for $134 and renewals for $72.

SLAPP This: Florida Scores a Big Free Speech Victory Against Intimidation Lawsuits

| August 27, 2015

It was a rare success in the last Florida Legislative session: a new law protecting the public from frivolous corporate or otherwise intimidating lawsuits intended to silence public expression in government issues.

Sheriff Plans DUI Checkpoint Saturday at SR100 East of Old Kings Road Saturday Night

| August 27, 2015

The checkpoints typically result in far fewer arrests for drunk driving than for other reasons: drivers may charged with a host of issues that have nothing to do with drunk driving, including for drug possession or for non-moving violations such as non-functioning headlights or tail lights or irregular registration.

GOP Opens Special Session With Complaints That Fair Districts Infringe on Free Speech

| August 10, 2015

Senators scolded the Florida Supreme Court for trampling on their First Amendment rights as lawmakers began a special session Monday aimed at redrawing congressional districts the court said were gerrymandered to help the Republican Party.

Rick Scott, 1st-Ever Florida Governor Successfully Sued Over Sunshine Law, Settles for $700,000 in Taxpayer Dollars

| August 8, 2015

The suit alleged Gov. Scott and his staff, violated the Sunshine law when they created email accounts to shield their communications from state public records laws and then withheld the documents.

Rethinking Restrictions on Food Stamps and Welfare Benefits for Drug Felons

| August 3, 2015

The bans on welfare and food stamps assistance apply only to drug felons, in accordance with a 1996 federal law, unless states choose to waive them.

Federal Court Upholds Docs v. Glocks Law Forbidding Physicians From Asking About Guns

| July 30, 2015

The 2-1 decision by a panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was a victory for the National Rifle Association and other gun-rights advocates and a defeat for medical groups that argued, at least in part, that the law infringed on doctors’ First Amendment rights.

Florida Supreme Court Refuses to Lift Stay on Execution of Jerry Correll, Who Contested Lethal Injection

| July 23, 2015

The Florida Supreme Court’s 5-2 decision turned down AG Pam Bondi’s request to let Gov. Scott set an executuon date, and ordered a hearing on Correll’s assertion that the drug poses a heightened risk to him because of his alleged brain damage and history of drug use.

Reporter Kicked Out: When Public Officials Abuse Florida’s Sunshine Law, With Lawmakers’ Blessing

| July 22, 2015

A “health district” run by public officials closes a public meeting under a bogus exemption to the Sunshine law, and gets a blank check to secretly talk about whatever it wishes, though it affects public policy.

Florida’s Impending “Pastor Protection Act” Weds Spurious Scenarios With Homophobia

| July 16, 2015

The proposal is aimed at safeguarding clergy members from being forced to perform gay-marriage ceremonies even though they’re categorically protected from doing so by the First Amendment.

Reclaiming Islam’s Enlightenment From Its Fundamentalist Hijackers

| July 15, 2015

Granting that more than a few Muslims back the hijackers’ extremism, what is needed is cultural exchanges instead of armed, panicky overreactions,

Against Protest, Walton County in Panhandle Joins Marion to Let Confederate Flag Fly For Now

| July 14, 2015

Walton County flew started flying the Confederate flag at its courthouse in 1964 in direct opposition to the Civil Rights Act, which extended rights protections to blacks.

Palm Coast’s Sign Regulations May Be Forced to Loosen, City Attorney Warns

| July 14, 2015

The changes, which would likely relax Palm Coast’s rules, would be required to comply with a new U.S. Supreme Court ruling making the regulation of temporary signs on private property much more difficult.

Memo to GOP Candidates: Why Conservatives Should Embrace Gay Marriage Decision

| July 10, 2015

As a conservative who has always supported gay marriage, it’s difficult for Nancy Smith to understand why so many people of her generation — the ones who grew up witnessing some of the worst discrimination of the 20th century — could consistently rage against it.

As South Carolina Folds the Confederate Flag, Florida County Votes to Raise It Back Up

| July 9, 2015

The Marion County Commission voted unanimously to raise the Confederate flag again on government grounds after removing it last week, just as the South Carolina Legislature ended debate this morning ina vote to remove it from state grounds.

Jews Then, Muslims Now: How Imprudent Judgments Desecrate Western Values

| July 9, 2015

To assume that all Muslims think alike because of their religious background, that they have “a mind” rather than individual thoughts, is as big a mistake as to assume to know the minds of Jews, Christians, or anyone else.

Court Will Hear Argument That Guns Should Be Allowed at UF Dorms as They Are At Home

| July 7, 2015

A circuit judge ruled against Florida Carry Inc.’s argument last year that people have a legal right to possess firearms at University of Florida housing just as they do in their homes.

I Identify As American

| July 4, 2015

Political independence is easy. The unalienable right to choose who and what we want to be down to our most basic identity, including one’s race, religion, sex and culture, has been harder to secure.



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