Florida Rep. Alex Rizo (R-Hialeah) introduced a bill to the Florida legislature that would make it a second-degree misdemeanor for someone to “disrupt, hinder, impede, or interfere" with law enforcement officers while they are performing official duties. While the bill does not explicitly mention the act of cellphone recording, its langauge would give police wide discretion to arrest individuals who they perceive are impeding their activities.
On June 30th, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida Tallahassee Division granted a request for a preliminary injunction barring Florida from enforcing a new law that substantially limits social media companies' ability to moderate their platforms.
Confederate heritage supporters who sued the city of Lakeland, Florida for removing a Confederate monument, lost their free-speech challenge because a federal appeals court ruled that the monuments are a form of government speech, and as such, are immune from First Amendment review.
A Florida law signed by Governor Ron DeSantis on May 24, 2021, that regulates what speech social media companies must allow and disallow suffers from serious constitutional problems. It already has been challenged in federal court by NetChoice, a lobbying firm that represents Twitter, Facebook, and other online companies, and Computer & Communications Industry Association.
Since Florida Governor Ron. DeSantis signed the “Combating Public Disorder” act into law this past April, civil liberties groups across the country have questioned its constitutionality. Now, two separate groups have sought to challenge the law in federal court.
On May 5th, a split three-judge panel on the District Court of Appeal of the State of Florida for the Fourth District upheld the arrest of Sharron Tasha Ford, who sued the city of Boynton Beach for violating her First Amendment right to record police.
The state finally struck down a rule that media lawyers and court reporters say caused long delays in accessing court records. “It made me feel gratified and proud of the judicial system, because the justices value transparency and they took concrete steps to make sure Florida’s courts are open,” one lawyer told Courthouse News.
Local officials in Florida experiment with digital technologies to ensure public access after the governor suspends law requiring in-person meetings.