FLorida ACLU

ACLU: Tainted Waters

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist John Lantigua spent months investigating this summer’s massive toxic algae bloom that fouled beaches along the Treasure Coast and Southwest Florida.

Nick Evans / WFSU News

Florida lawmakers are voting on legislation Thursday that would allow more religious expression in public schools. Bill sponsors said not allowing students and school employees to talk about their religions violates the First Amendment. But critics say these bills force Christian beliefs on others.

ACLU Attorney Julia Kaye argues before the Florida Supreme Court that the 24-hour abortion waiting period should be put back hold.
Gavel-2-Gavel / Florida Supreme Court

Florida Supreme Court is weighing whether to reinstate a hold on the state’s 24 hour abortion wait law.  The court heard arguments in the case Tuesday.

U.S. Courthouse Tallahassee, FL
Ebyabe via wikimedia commons

The American Civil Liberties Union has notched a win in a prison gerrymandering case out of Jefferson County.  The organization says counting prisoners dilutes voting power in surrounding areas, and for the first time, a federal judge agrees.

MGN Online

A Florida lawmaker is hoping to revive a past effort to make sure law enforcement agencies using body cameras have set guidelines in place.

A Florida Pastor Protection Act Is In The Works

Jul 29, 2015
two golden marriage rings
Robert Cheaib Via Flickr / WFSU News

In the wake of a recent Supreme Court decision recognizing same-sex marriage across the country, some are worried they’ll be forced to perform ceremonies that violate their beliefs. Two Florida lawmakers are writing a bill called the Pastor Protection Act.

Michael MK Khor, via Flickr

Last week, Governor Rick Scott approved new restrictions for drones, but the question of how drones clash with the first amendment hovers over the heads of Floridians.

Florida Channel

A bill requiring law enforcement agencies to have set guidelines in place when using body cameras is now heading to the House floor. It differs from a measure creating a public records exemption for the recordings.

AFP / Getty Images

An ever-changing measure initially mandating all law enforcement wear body cameras is now heading to the Senate floor, after passing its final committee Thursday.

MGN Online

A federal appeals court has thrown out a 2011 law requiring the drug testing of Florida welfare recipients. Governor Rick Scott has backed efforts to reinstate the mandate, despite multiple courts ruling against him.

Maria Kayanan represents the American Civil Liberties Union, who brought the original suit on behalf of a Navy vet and welfare applicant who refused to submit to a drug test. While she’s pleased with the ruling, she says she’s not surprised.

The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected Governor Rick Scott's request to review a lower court ruling declaring his state employee drug testing policy unconstitutional.

The decision is a victory for 85,ooo state workers, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, which challenged Scott's 2011 Executive Order as a waste of taxpayer money.

MGN Online

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — A federal judge has struck down a Florida law requiring recipients of welfare benefits to undergo mandatory drug testing. It's the latest in an ongoing court battle between Governor Rick Scott and the American Civil Liberties Union over a bill Scott signed into law in 2011.

Stanley Convergent Security Solutions

In the crowded cafeteria at Tallahassee’s Cobb Middle School, lunch monitors try to steer students to seats as quickly as possible. Across the state, public schools face the challenge of feeding lots of kids in a short amount of time.

“We’re no longer in the one room school house that has 25 kids in it," said Pinellas County Food Service Director Art Dunham. He says when lunch lines start to back up—it doesn’t give some kids much time to eat:

The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida is recommending law enforcement have warrants before approaching state health officials for patient information housed in the drug database. The recommendation comes after information on more than 3,000 individuals was released to prosecutors and defense attorneys as probe into doctor shopping in Central Florida.

A federal appeals court has agreed with a lower court that drug testing all state employees could be unconstitutional. The drug testing rule was put in place by Governor Rick Scott in 2010 through an Executive Order, but was challenged. A district court placed an injunction on the order, essentially invalidating it.

But the ruling, by a three-judge panel in Atlanta says the district court's injunction was too broad. The panel left room for drug testing some state employees, if the Governor can make a case its necessary.

A temporary ban to block drug testing in Florida for welfare recipients is still in place, after a federal appeals court validated a lower court’s ruling that the state hasn’t shown why it’s necessary. Some are questioning the Governor’s motives for moving forward with the challenge to the U.S. Supreme Court, despite two other courts upholding the ban.

Foundation for Government Accountability

A temporary ban on a Florida law requiring the drug testing of welfare recipients has been upheld by a federal appeals court. But, while the group that filed the lawsuit is declaring victory, it also says it’s disappointed in Governor Rick Scott who plans to fight the ruling.

CROSS CITY, Fla. (AP) - The American Civil Liberties Union has dropped its lawsuit challenging a granite monument inscribed with the Ten Commandments in front of a north Florida courthouse.
ACLU of Florida executive director Howard Simon said Friday that the group had to withdraw the case because its client, a North Carolina man, no longer plans to move to Dixie County.

ACLU, GOP Blame Each Other For Costly Legal Challenges To Fla. Law

Jan 11, 2013

The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida says in the past two years, it has filed a historically high number of cases against the state. Two press releases Thursday, One from the ACLU of Florida and another from the Republican Party of Florida, tried to explain what is and isn’t wrong with the state laws being passed.

The ACLU of Florida filed eleven cases against the state for what they call unconstitutional legislation. The group’s executive director Howard Simon says all of the cases were necessary.

Florida election officials finally have access to a federal immigration database it plans to use to screen voters. The Department of State announced on Thursday plans to re-start efforts to purge Florida’s voter rolls of ineligible voters.

Inspirational Messages Bill Takes Effect At End of Week

Jun 28, 2012

Like Oil and Water, the idea of prayer and school has not mixed well over the years.  And now there’s an added element to the debate. Starting Sunday, a new law will let local school boards decide whether to allow student led “inspirational messages” in public schools.

Officials say the measure is nothing to worry about, but opponents are raising concerns that “inspirational messages” can mean prayer at school events.  ACLU Spokesman Baylor Johnson says these messages would be a violation of the students’ constitutional right for religious freedom.

A Miami federal judge has declared that Florida Governor Rick Scott’s executive order requiring drug testing for state employees is unconstitutional. Sascha Cordner has more.

U.S. District Judge Ursula Ungaro ruled Thursday that blanket testing of some 85,000 state workers violates the Fourth Amendment ban on unreasonable searches and seizures. Scott’s order was challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union. Its spokesman Baylor Johnson says drug testing should only be done if there is a suspected problem: