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Category archives for: Rights & Liberties

Christian Prayer at Flagler School Board Breaks 5-Decade Precedent, Without Most Board Members’ Consent

| August 21, 2019

School Board Chair Janet McDonald’s decision to start Tuesday’s meeting with a prayer by a pastor had not been approved by the board nor placed on the agenda, a violation of board procedures and a break with a nearly 50-year precedent.

Palm Coast Makes Candidates’ Campaign Finance Reports Accessible Electronically

| August 20, 2019

Palm Coast candidates for office’s campaign finance reports will finally be accessible to the public through the web, free of charge, through the Flagler County Supervisor of Elections’ website.

Stop Criminalizing Children in the Name of School Security

| August 18, 2019

The rash of zero-tolerance felony arrests of children that the Flagler school district experienced last year unjustly makes examples of adolescents in the name of a security establishment focusing on the wrong threats across the state.

Facing Up to 50 Years in Prison for Raping Autistic Girl, Sex Offender Gets Probation. Court Delays Release: He Has No Place To Live.

| August 15, 2019

Sam Christopher Andolina, 39, was charged with raping and molesting a 13-year-old autistic girl in Palm Coast. He is to be sentenced to 10 years’ probation, but his sentence is being delayed for having no place to live locally.

Joe Mullins Steps Back From Harsher Homeless and Panhandling Rules After Hearing St. Augustine’s Rigid Approach

| August 14, 2019

Flagler’s Public Safety Council heard how the homeless and panhandlers have been largely (but not completely) criminalized in St. Augustine, but were not eager to replicate the approach in Flagler.

Two Late Candidates Increase Pool to 24 for Flagler’s County Judge Seat as Speed-Dating Interviews Are Scheduled

| August 13, 2019

Palm Coast’s Lynette Callender and Jacksonville’s Monique Hawkins are late entrants in what will be speed-dating-like interviews for Flagler County judge on Aug. 24 at the Flagler County courthouse.

End-Running Federal Lawsuit, Gov. DeSantis Petitions Florida Supreme Court on Felon Voting Rights

| August 11, 2019

A week after asking a federal judge to toss out a lawsuit on the issue, Gov. Ron DeSantis is seeking guidance from the Florida Supreme Court about a controversial state law requiring people convicted of felonies to repay financial obligations before they can regain the right to vote.

Of Course Guns Have Nothing To Do With It

| August 11, 2019

Mountains of evidence link America’s mass killings to the massive amount of guns in circulation, but let’s go ahead and pretend that guns have nothing to do with it, nor the absence of sensible gun control.

Florida Senate Will Study White Nationalism and Other Factors in Mass Violence

| August 6, 2019

In the run-up to the 2020 legislative session, the Florida Senate will review acts of mass violence such as the deadly shootings this weekend in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, along with factors such as white nationalism.

What “Abolish ICE” Really Means

| August 4, 2019

All evidence suggests that immigrants are far from the national security threat the Trump administration claims they are. Regardless of status, they’re more law-abiding than native-born citizens.

Abortion Waiting Period Back in Play as Florida Appeal Court Overturns Lower-Court Decision

| August 1, 2019

The 24-hour waiting period case could eventually become a key test for the Florida Supreme Court, which has historically backed abortion rights but is now dominated by conservative justices.

Sheriff’s Deputy Fired For Failing to Take Action With Wrong-Way Car That Ended in Fatal Crash, Is Ordered Reinstated

| August 1, 2019

Robert Finn in his patrol car crossed paths with Wendell Parker going the wrong way on an I-95 exit ramp moments before Parker died in a head-on collision with another car. Finn was fired a year ago, but ordered reinstated this week.

State Will Appeal Ruling That Struck Down Law Penalizing Local Officials For Regulating Guns

| July 31, 2019

Florida will appeal a circuit judge’s ruling that struck down a state law threatening tough penalties for local officials and governments that approve gun regulations.

Assault Weapons Definition Is Key as Proposed Ban Heads For Floridians’ 2020 Ballot

| July 30, 2019

The proposed constitutional amendment would prohibit “possession of assault weapons, defined as semiautomatic rifles and shotguns capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition at once, either in fixed or detachable magazine…”

Three University Students Pose With Guns In Front of Shot-Up Emmett Till Memorial

| July 29, 2019

Three students were suspended from their fraternity house, Kappa Alpha, after we shared an Instagram photo one of the men posted that was taken in front of a sign commemorating the murder of the 14-year-old black youth in 1955.

Siding With Local Governments, Judge Strikes Law Penalizing Officials Who Pass Gun Rules Stricter Than State’s

| July 28, 2019

In 2011, Florida lawmakers approved a series of penalties that local governments and officials could face if they violated the prohibition on gun laws that are stricter than the state’s.

Coming Out in Rural America

| July 26, 2019

“I came out to my parents via email the same week I figured it out myself because it’s no big deal in our family. Others aren’t as lucky; some people’s families still disown them.”

When They Go Low, the Squad Goes Bold

| July 24, 2019

Despite the frenzy, Omar and Reps. Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Ayanna Pressley — popularly referred to as “the squad” — are keeping the focus on policies to bring justice to their constituents.

Bi-Lingual Elections A Go: Florida Preparing Spanish-Language Ballots Statewide for 2020

| July 24, 2019

The issue has been the subject of a federal lawsuit filed last August, three months before the 2018 general election, by groups representing Spanish-speaking Floridians.

Go Back Where You Came From

| July 23, 2019

No American can tell another to go back where he or she came from, at least not with a straight face: We’re all carpetbaggers in America going back to the original ones who crossed over the Bering Strait.

Both Republicans, One Florida Senator Wants to Protect Undocumented Migrants, Another Wants to Punish Them

| July 22, 2019

Senate Judiciary Chairman David Simmons would give undocumented immigrants legal permits to work and drive in Florida while Sen. Joe Gruters would harshen up penalties for the undocumented.

The Broader Attack Behind Trump’s ‘Go Back’ Where They Came From Slur

| July 15, 2019

It would be a mistake to reduce President Trump’s tweets against four members of Congress to their racism. Rather, argues Jeffrey C. Isaac, they also articulated a broader reactionary agenda that goes beyond racism and that targets the left in general.

Citing Police Role and Trust, South Miami Will Challenge New Law Banning Sanctuary Cities

| July 11, 2019

“As soon as [police] are seen as somebody who might turn you in if you called for assistance, they’re no longer trusted and they can no longer do their primary job,” the South Miami mayor says.

Court Rules Brevard County Commission’s Prayer at Meetings Discriminatory Against Non-Believers

| July 9, 2019

“Brevard County has selected invocation speakers in a way that favors certain monotheistic religions and categorically excludes from consideration other religions solely based on their belief systems,” a federal appeals court ruled.

Our Immigrant Prisons Are An Atrocity

| July 7, 2019

As reports surface about immigrant children sleeping on concrete floors and people being forced to drink water from toilets, one fact has become unmistakably clear: It’s well past time to demand an end to Trump’s cruel and inhumane treatment of immigrants.

Inside the Secret Border Patrol Facebook Group Where Agents Joke About Migrant Deaths and Post Sexist Memes

| July 2, 2019

The three-year-old group, which has roughly 9,500 members, shared derogatory comments about Latina lawmakers who plan to visit a controversial Texas detention facility on Monday, calling them “scum buckets” and “hoes.”

Barbara Petersen, Fierce Open Government Advocate for 25 Years, Is Stepping Down From First Amendment Foundation

| June 30, 2019

Barbara Petersen’s retirement from the First Amendment Foundation, after 25 years, takes place as legislators have piled up 1,122 exemptions to Florida’s open government laws.

Group Files Federal Suit Challenging Florida Restrictions on Felons’ Voting Rights Moments After DeSantis Signs New Law

| June 29, 2019

A partisan firestorm erupted in the waning days of this year’s legislative session after Republicans tacked onto the elections package provisions aimed at implementing the voter-approved constitutional amendment that restores the voting rights of felons who have completed their sentences.

Citing Trump’s ‘Contrived’ Reasoning, Supreme Court Blocks Citizenship Question on Census–For Now

| June 27, 2019

The 5-4 decision, however, with Chief Justice John Roberts writing the majority opinion, leaves open the possibility that the Trump Administration could readdress the citizenship question, if it can justify it.

Death Penalty: Now It’s Florida’s Conservative Supreme Court’s Turn To Be Accused of ‘Judicial Activism’

| June 26, 2019

Reversing the state’s retroactive consideration of certain death-penalty cases would amount to “the most egregious judicial activism in the history of Florida,” a lawyer for a Death Row inmate argued in a brief filed this week.

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