“The free state of Florida is simply not free to exceed the bounds of the United States Constitution.” U.S. Chief District Judge Mark Walker ________________________________________________________________________________
Courts Block DeSantis-backed laws
Despite touting his success in creating a state where "woke goes to die," many of the laws backed by FL Governor Ron DeSantis have been blocked or face credible court challenges. The courts --- at least for now --- are a formidable backstop protecting the rights of state residents from a GOP-supported legislative agenda criticized as "unconstitutional, discriminatory and cruel. . ." Among actions taken by the courts:
A day after new restrictions on voter registration activities went into effect, U.S. Chief Federal Judge Mark Walker granted a preliminary injunction stopping its implementation. The new law placed onerous requirements on voter registration efforts by groups like the League of Women Voters, among other provisions designed to suppress voter outreach activities.
A federal judge at the end of June blocked a new law restricting attendance at drag shows widely viewed as targeting the LGBTQ community, calling it overly vague and unconstitutional.
The state's ban on gender-affirming care, and prohibitions against Medicaid coverage of this care, were also struck down by the courts this summer.
2022 legislation banning abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy was temporarily blocked in state circuit court one day before it was scheduled to take effect. A state appeal resulted in the law's implementation pending a review by the FL Supreme Court. If upheld as expected, a six-week abortion ban passed this spring by the Legislature would immediately replace it.
In addition to these rulings, challenges have been filed to a host of new laws, including prohibitions against property ownership by citizens of certain countries, provisions of the newly-expanded "Don't Say Gay" legislation, and laws targeting public sector unions. Bottomline #1: The judiciary is critical to protecting the rights --- voting, civil, social, reproductive, economic, and human --- of all Americans. We have seen the impact, both good and bad, of every court at every level. Presidential appointments last well beyond the presidency. Ditto gubernatorial picks to the state Supreme Court. Voting matters. And so does your support of organizations filing these legal challenges like the ACLU of Florida. Bottomline #2: More than 200 laws took effect in FL July 1. Make sure state Senator Clay Yarborough and state Rep Kiyan Michaels know what you think about attacks on funding for public education, restricted access to abortion, open carry of guns, bans on what schools and universities can teach and what students can read, and other measures. Remind them they represent you too!
Jax NOW, Women of Color Host Documentary
Jacksonville NOW and the Women of Color Cultural Foundation are hosting an exclusive showing of Plan C, the award-winning documentary about an inspiring grassroots effort to protect access to abortion on Thursday, August 10 at WJCT Studios. The event will raise awareness about threats to reproductive health care and efforts to place a referendum on the 2024 ballot. The showing will also commemorate the one-year anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v Wade. Community partners, including BAM, will be tabling at the event. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the documentary will air at 6:30 p.m. Suggested donation is $20. Net proceeds will go to Floridians Protecting Freedom and local outreach activities. Get more information and reserve your spot here.
A few good reads for the week
Why Biden Isn't Getting the Credit He Deserves Heather Cox Richardson's Post on the Jobs Report & Moms for Liberty Heat Records are Broken Around the Globe as the Earth Warms Fast (spoiler alert: July 3-5 were the hottest days on record!)