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First Amendment

Marco Rubio looking for a landlord willing to take a chance

in 2017/Top Headlines by

In Tampa and Jacksonville, Sen. Marco Rubio or his staff does not hold office hours. Office hours require an office to do that. Two months ago, Florida’s junior senator had seven locations around the state and one in Washington, D.C. designed to help constituents with issues involving their government. Only five exist now in Florida. The reason? Last month Rubio’s Tampa landlord decided not to renew his office lease due to the massive disruptions caused by “protestors.” A few weeks…

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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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Florence Snyder: Ain’t no Sunshine where Scott’s gone

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Just in time for Sunshine Week, Tampa Bay Times environmental reporter Craig Pittman reminds us how focused, how ruthless, how relentless Gov. Rick Scott’s flacks are in their taxpayer-financed efforts to keep information out of the hands of taxpayers. Florida’s Ministries of Disinformation have been around since the Chiles administration, but “paranoia about the press” has ramped up significantly on Scott’s watch. Here’s how Connie Bersok, who devoted 30 years of her life to protecting Florida’s fragile wetlands, described current…

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Small dairy farmer seeks First Amendment protection from state regulators

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Five years ago, the Florida Department of Agriculture turned its regulatory power on a small third-generation dairy farm in the Panhandle’s Calhoun County, population 14,462. The Ocheesee Creamery, as it’s known, was caught being a little too honest. Mary Lou Wesselhoeft, owner, was selling all-natural pasteurized skim milk — whole milk with the cream skimmed off — and labeling it exactly what it was: skim milk. But in a strange twist with First Amendment implications, the state said Wesselhoeft was…

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Kathy Castor is right calling ‘extreme vetting’ order immoral, un-American

in 2017 by

It might be easy to dismiss the harsh comments by U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor of Tampa regarding President Donald Trump’s controversial executive order that called for “extreme vetting” of potential refugees from seven Muslim nations. As Mitch Perry reported Sunday on SaintPetersBlog, Castor said, “President Trump’s executive order targeting and banning legal permanent residents and refugees from war-torn areas is illegal, immoral and un-American.  It has made us less safe.  If the president wants to empower jihadists, this is the…

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Jan. 20, 2017: A day that will live in infamy

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When a family member or another loved one dies of natural causes, we understand that death is the price we pay for life. We must accept it and count on memories to console us. But how do you grieve for your nation? How do you move beyond the death of everything you held sacred about the land of your birth? Whose uniform you wore proudly? Whose virtues you have tried to teach to your children and to anyone else who…

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SPC forum to focus on suppression of free speech

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

The threat to First Amendment rights posed by overzealous political correctness will be debated at a public forum at St. Petersburg College on Jan. 19. The event, part of the SPC Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions’ Dinner Series, is titled You Can’t Say That: Free Speech and the Social Sensitivity Movement. The forum will be from 6 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. in the Conference Center at SPC’s Seminole campus, 9200 113th St. N. Advance registration is required. Admission is $20…

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