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American Civil Liberties Union of Florida

Advocacy groups blast CRC Chair Carlos Beruff for ‘throwing shade’ on process

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Florida’s vicennial Constitution Revision Commission is drawing fire for a lack of transparency in scheduling a vote on a package of procedural rules for changes to the state’s constitution. A letter Wednesday from a coalition of advocacy groups said CRC Chair Carlos Beruff is throwing shade on the process by disbanding the eight-person Rules Working Group, and instead scheduling a meeting in Orlando June 6 of the full commission to consider and vote on a “complex and lengthy set of…

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On display in Tallahassee: What people want – and don’t want – from constitutional rewrite panel

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Constitution Revision Commission

For as many people who asked the Constitution Revision Commission to do something, there were others who wanted the panel to do nothing at all. And that’s not counting the fringe speakers Wednesday night who told the commission they were “imposters” and “impersonating delegates of the people.” The 37-member panel, which convenes every 20 years to consider changes to the state’s governing document, held its latest public hearing on Florida A&M University’s campus in Tallahassee. Kirk Bailey, political director of…

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Pam Bondi steps into federal case over state’s abortion law

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A federal case on the state’s new abortion law has taken another twist with a filing from Attorney General Pam Bondi‘s office. Late Monday, her office notified the court of proposed rules related to the law that could affect Senior U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle‘s consideration of a pending request for a preliminary injunction. The controversy in question involves part of the law that requires those engaged in abortion referral or counseling services to pay a fee to register with the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) and provides for criminal…

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Personnel note: ACLU-FL staffs up for Donald Trump era

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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida announced a bevy of new staff “in preparation for the upcoming fights in the Florida legislature, in the courts, and in cities and counties across the state of Florida,” according to a Wednesday news release. Deputy Director Melba Pearson was an Assistant State Attorney in Miami-Dade County for 16 years, serving in the Domestic Crimes Unit. She also helped the re-launch the Community Prosecution Unit, “whose goal is partnering with the community to…

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Federal judge asked to block part of Florida abortion law

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A federal judge is being asked to block additional parts of a contentious Florida abortion law. The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida filed a lawsuit late Monday on behalf of several ministers, rabbis and organizations that provide abortion counseling services to women. The lawsuit contends that the law violates constitutional rights by requiring groups to register with the state and pay a fee if they advise or help women seek abortions. The lawsuit also challenges a provision requiring groups…

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U.S. appeals court favors gay-straight club at Florida school

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A federal appeals court has ruled that students at a Florida middle school have the right to form a gay-straight alliance club. The decision Tuesday by the Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals came after the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida appealed a previous judge’s decision that school officials could deny the club recognition. The court’s reversal opinion found the club should have equal access to use school facilities as other extra-curricular clubs. The case began in 2013…

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Florida’s bill for opposing gay marriage? Nearly $500,000

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Florida taxpayers are going to pay nearly $500,000 for the state’s losing battle to keep intact a voter-approved ban on gay marriage. State officials have now reached settlements with two separate groups of attorneys representing same-sex couples that challenged the state’s ban. Attorney General Pam Bondi‘s office reached a final settlement on Wednesday that brought the total to $493,000. U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle ordered the state in April to pay the fees of attorneys who successfully sued the state.…

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