Al Lawson Files to Run for Florida’s 2nd Congressional District After Redistricting Fight

Congressman Al Lawson (D-FL-5) has filed to run in Florida’s second congressional district against incumbent Rep. Neal Dunn (R-FL-2). Lawson currently holds the seat for district five, but the months-long congressional redistricting fight to preserve the boundaries of district five was secured in favor of the new maps earlier this month. Therefore, Lawson is seeking to unseat Dunn.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has backed the redistricting process including proposing the boundary changes for district five, claiming that it was an unconstitutional, racial-based gerrymander. District five, as of right now, snakes from Tallahassee across North Florida to Jacksonville’s northside. It comprises a majority minority district.

Read More

Florida Supreme Court to Hear Arguments Related to Local Government Gun Regulations

The Florida Supreme Court will hear arguments next week in a dispute over a 2011 state law that allows for penalties if city and county officials pass gun regulations. The hearing comes amid a ramped up debate over gun laws due to recent mass shootings in Texas and New York.

The case made it to the Supreme Court when a coalition of local governments and Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried filed notices back in June 2021. The notices were the initial steps in asking the Supreme Court to hear the case and came a month after the 1st District Court of Appeal denied a request to send the case to the Supreme Court.

The efforts to get a Supreme Court hearing came after a Tallahassee-based appeals court upheld the constitutionality of the 2011 law in April, 2021

Since 1987, Florida has barred cities and counties from passing regulations that are stricter than state firearms laws, and the penalties in the 2011 law were designed to strengthen that “preemption.”

The law was challenged by local governments and officials who were urged to take action after the February 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland that killed 17 people. However, attorneys for the local governments indicated in  a 2019 court document that the requested actions were not taken up by elected officials due to the potential penalties outlined in the 2011 state law.

The requested actions included such things as requiring procedures or documentation to ensure compliance with background checks and waiting periods for gun purchases and requiring reporting of failed background checks.

Read More

Florida Supreme Court to Hear Challenge to ‘Marsy’s Law’ Over Tallahassee Shootings

Florida Supreme Court Building

The Florida Supreme Court is set to take up a legal battle regarding “Marsy’s Law,” which is a 2018 constitutional amendment passed by voters that shields the identities of victims of crimes. An official date has not yet been set.

The City of Tallahassee and several news organizations are appealing a decision by the 1st District Court of Appeal backing the law and protecting the identities of Tallahassee police officers when they utilized use-of-force in more than one shooting incident. The law enforcement officers maintain they were the victims and felt compelled to use deadly force.

Read More

Florida Supreme Court Calls for Additional State Appeals Court

Florida Supreme Court Building

The Florida Supreme Court is calling for creating a sixth state appeals court. One of their reasons for making the call is “serious underrepresentation” of appellate judges from Jacksonville.

“The creation of a new district court, like any other significant change in the judicial system, would be accompanied by some degree of internal disruption, but we conclude that any such internal disruption in the district courts associated with the creation of a sixth district court would be short-lived and would be outweighed by the benefit of enhanced public trust and confidence,” said the Florida Supreme Court’s majority opinion shared by Chief Justice Charles Canady and Justices Jorge Labarga, Alan Lawson, Carlos Muniz and John Couriel.

Read More

Florida Supreme Court Hears Case Regarding Red-Light Cameras, Fees

After hearing arguments in a potential class-action lawsuit regarding credit card fees and red-light cameras, Florida Supreme Court justices seemed skeptical in siding with the motorist who filed the suit.

The motorist, Steven Pincus, filed the lawsuit in Miami against American Traffic Solutions, Inc. (ATS), who Pincus says improperly charged him with a $7.90 credit card fee after paying a $158 fine for running a red light in 2018.

Read More

Florida Lawmakers Launch Congressional Redistricting

Florida Senate Capitol

As a result of the 2020 census, Florida will gain one additional congressional seat, and Florida lawmakers will begin the process to redraw district lines in the upcoming fall committee weeks with the 2022 legislative session beginning in January.

“Prior to the start of the 2022 Regular Session the Legislature will hold interim committee meetings, at which time the committees that conduct the redistricting and reapportionment processes may meet,” according to the Florida Senate’s redistricting site.

Read More

Florida Supreme Court Justice Stephen Grimes Dies at 93

Former Florida Supreme Court Justice Stephen Grimes passed away at 93. He was the 72nd justice to serve on Florida’s high court since Florida’s statehood. Grimes served from 1987 to 1997 and served as Chief Justice from 1994 to 1996.

Grimes was appointed by Florida Gov. Bob Martinez after a long career as a lawyer with Holland & Knight in Bartow, Fla. After his Supreme Court retirement in 1997, Grimes returned to Holland & Knight to continue practicing law.

Read More

Florida Appeals Court Denies Motion Related to Concealed Weapons Licensing Case

A motion to move a case concerning concealed-weapons licensing to the Florida Supreme Court was denied by the 1st District Court of Appeals in a 12-3 vote on Friday.

The case was filed by a Floridian by the name of R.C. in court documents, who was denied a concealed-weapons license by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS). R.C. was convicted of a felony in 1969 his civil right to possess a weapon was restored. 

Read More

Parkland Victims Could Receive $25 Million

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School

Florida State Sen. Joe Gruters (R-23) is filing a bill which would direct the Broward County School Board to pay out as much at $25 million to the victims and families of the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.

The bill would only allow for 51 people to be eligible to receive the payments, 34 survivors and 14 families of students and teachers killed.

Read More

Florida Supreme Court to Hear Tobacco Industry Case

The Florida Supreme Court announced they will be taking up a case potentially making it harder to sue cigarette companies.

Florida’s high court decided to hear the case after the 1st District Court of Appeals overturned a verdict in a 2006 class-action lawsuit which saw individuals had the ability to sue cigarette companies for potentially misleading information regarding the dangers of smoking.

Read More

Florida Supreme Court Denies to Review Case Related to Mask Mandate

A motion proposing a temporary injunction against a Palm Beach County Emergency Order (EO-12) involving a mask mandate, was denied for review by the Florida Supreme Court Friday.

The proposal was initially rejected by Florida’s 4th District Court of Appeals in January and sent for the “discretionary jurisdiction” of the Supreme Court in February.

Read More

SCOTUS to Take Up Florida Medicaid Case

United States Supreme Court

The Supreme Court of the United States has announced they will be taking up a legal battle over a decade in the making regarding how much money a state can recoup after a legal settlement.
The issue revolves around Gianinna Gallardo, who was struck by a bus in 2008 and suffered drastic injuries. Gallardo’s parents reached an $800,000 legal settlement, and the accident left Gallardo in a vegetative state.

Read More

Florida Will Not Vote on Marijuana Legalization in 2022

The Florida Supreme Court Thursday struck down a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would have put marijuana legalization up for a vote in 2022. 

The Court ruled that the language proposed for the ballot did not match the language in the amendment itself. 

Read More

Florida Supreme Court Rules Against Marijuana Industry Challenge

Florida Supreme Court Building

Earlier this week the Florida Supreme Court unanimously ruled against a challenge from the medical marijuana industry, backing the state’s strict regulation of the industry’s business model standardized by the Florida legislature.

The challenge was filed by a marijuana company, Florigrown, where they contested the legislation put in place which limits the amount of medical marijuana licenses issued in Florida and requires dispensaries to grow and process their product. Florigrown was denied a license to become a medical marijuana treatment center in 2017.

Read More

Police Protection Under Marsy’s Law Heads to Florida Supreme Court

Florida Supreme Court Building

A lawsuit filed by two police officers after separate use-of-force incidents claiming that they are entitled to protection under Florida’s recently-adopted Marsy’s Law Constitutional amendment will head to the state Supreme Court for a decision. 

“A three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal last month sided with two Tallahassee police officers, who argued that, as victims, they were entitled to privacy protections included in Marsy’s Law,” WFSU reported. 

Read More

Florida’s First Black Supreme Court Justice, Joseph Hatchett, Dies at 88

The Florida Supreme Court announced on Saturday that former Florida Supreme Court Justice Joseph W. Hatchett died in Tallahassee on Friday, April 30, 2021 at age 88.

Hatchett became the first African American to serve on Florida’s highest court when he was appointed by Governor Reubin Askew in 1975. Hatchett was Florida’s 65th Justice since statehood was granted in 1845.

Read More

Florida Supreme Court Quashes Amendment That Would Outlaw ‘Assault Weapons’

The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday struck down an amendment that would ban the ownership of assault weapons due to misleading wording.

Ban Assault Weapons Now, which prohibited the “possession of assault weapons,” banned magazines holding more than 10 rounds and mandated registration for these guns, was set to appear on the 2022 ballot. However, justices voted 4-1 to ensure this doesn’t happen, according to the Washington Examiner.

Read More