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Senate Judiciary Committee

Bipartisan Senate bill aims to protect special counsel’s job

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Two members of the Senate Judiciary Committee are moving to protect Special Counsel Robert Mueller‘s job, putting forth new legislation that aims to ensure the integrity of current and future independent investigations.

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Reform school horrors relived as Florida prepares an apology

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Several men painfully recalled being beaten and sexually abused at a north Florida reform school as the state begins the steps to formally apologize for the horrors they endured more than 50 years ago. A Senate bill to recognize the abuse at the now-shuttered Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna was unanimously approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. House Speaker Richard Corcoran later met with men who were abused at the school during the late 1950s…

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Darryl Paulson: On Neil Gorsuch; both parties should just grow up!

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Until 1987, presidential nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court were respectfully received and reviewed by the U.S. Senate. In 1986, Antonin Scalia, a judicial conservative and constitutional originalist, was nominated by President Ronald Reagan to a vacancy on the court. He was confirmed 98 to 0 by the U.S. Senate. The confirmation process imploded in 1987 when another Reagan nominee to the court, Robert Bork, was subject to such a vicious attack concerning his record and judicial temperament, that the…

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Sunshine Week: First Amendment Foundation goes to bat for Florida’s right to know

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It’s Sunshine Week in the Sunshine State, and not just because it’s Spring Break. Since 2005, open government and freedom of information advocates have designated March 13-19 as a time to celebrate public transparency and raise awareness about the critical importance of access to government records. Sunshine Week is timed to coincide with the birthday of James Madison, author of the First Amendment. True to form, the First Amendment Foundation has been busy at the Florida Capitol battling to ensure…

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Redistricting overhaul clears first Senate panel

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A bill aimed at speeding up the handling of political redistricting court cases breezed through its first Senate committee on Tuesday. The legislation (SB 352) was OK’d by the Senate Judiciary Committee with only state Sen. Bobby Powell, a Riviera Beach Democrat, voting against it. “I do believe it’s initially incumbent on us to be transparent so we don’t wind up in these situations,” Powell said. “This is something that basically we brought on ourselves.” The bill is a response…

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Dead again: Senators kill anti-LGBT discrimination bill

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A motion to reconsider a contentious bill banning discrimination against LGBT people failed in a Senate panel Tuesday, signaling its virtual demise for the 2016 Legislative Session. On a voice vote, the Judiciary Committee deadlocked again on a procedural move to bring the bill (SB 120) back, one day after the bill died on a 5-5 vote. Sens. Aaron Bean, Lizbeth Benacquisto, Jeff Brandes, Wilton Simpson and Kelli Stargel, all Republicans, still opposed the bill. In favor were committee Chairman Miguel Diaz de…

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Legislature considers anti-discrimination bill for LGBT rights

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When it comes to LGBT issues, Florida’s Republican lawmakers are known more for trying to keep transgender people out of bathrooms, protect pastors from marrying same-sex couples and seek exemptions for private adoption agencies who don’t want to place children with gay and lesbian couples. But this year, some Republican lawmakers are backing a bill that would give lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents the protection against discrimination. “It’s a breakthrough for the South. It’s of huge significance that a…

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