Florida Legislature Votes to Gut Sunshine Law; Bill Would End Open Records Access Advocacy

By Grant Stern

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from PINAC News.

Florida’s famous Sunshine Law is under attack in the state legislature today as a state House Committee has already voted to eliminate the provision that guarantees government agencies must pay citizens’ attorney fees when public records are illegally withheld.

Its companion measure, Florida State Senate Bill 1220, passed in committee today with a 3-0 vote and two abstentions.

Hialeah Senator Rene Garcia proposed the Senate Bill, and maintains offices in both his district – which can be reached by phone at (305) 364-3100 to leave comment -and another office in Florida’s capitol of Tallahassee which can be reached at (850) 487-5038 while the legislature is in session as it is right now. Emails to the legislature can be sent through Garcia’s official page of office as well.

Please call him and ask him what he has to hide.

The senator’s proposed changes make awarding attorney fees discretionary for judges when plaintiffs prevail in public records lawsuits that prove that government agencies have violated the law.

Today, judges must order the state and its covered agencies to reimburse citizens’ attorney fees mandatorily, and this acts as the only enforcement mechanism to keep Florida’s government agencies, school districts, cities, counties, tax districts and town honest about responding to public records requests and providing citizens with the records created at taxpayer expense.

Garcia’s proposed bill 1220 would give judicial discretion to award attorneys fees to Florida citizens who’ve had their civil rights violated under the State Constitution’s much ballyhooed “Sunshine Law”, which is Article 24 of its Declaration of Rights also known as Article I.

“This is without a doubt the worst attack I’ve ever seen on open government in Florida,” said Florida open government activist Joel Chandler, “If it passes, it’s going to be a train wreck.”

“The “shall pay” provision in the Sunshine Law saves taxpayers money in a few distinctly important ways,” says Chandler, whose Sunshine Law advocacy includes lawsuits which he pursues pro se (without a lawyer), “First, it greatly incentivizes agencies to settle public records actions, rather than going the distance.

“Second, it limits the amount of fees these cities and agencies spend on outside counsel defending these actions. Also there’s an immeasurable value to the possibility of official misconduct being discovered, which acts as a check on government abuses.”

Chandler says that he will only settle with a government agency that agrees to ensure future compliance with the Sunshine Law as part of …Click Here To Read The Full Story >>>

Source:: Donkeyrock_BlurBlog

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"You Just Think That Because You're White And Male!" Um, No, Says The Science

By Amy Alkon

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from Advice Goddess Blog.

“You Just Think That Because You’re White And Male!” Um, No, Says The Science
Jason Brennan co-authored “con” part of the summarizes some of the research findings in his half of his co-authored pro/con book, Compulsory Voting: For and Against, and details . He also gets into some of the findings in it — by Scott Althaus, Althaus and Bryan Caplan, and others (to a lesser extent) Martin Gilens — in a blog post:

Well-informed and badly informed citizens also have systematically different policy preferences.

As people (regardless of their race, income, gender, or other demographic factors) become more informed, they favor less government intervention and control of the economy. They are more in favor of free trade and less in favor of protectionism.

They are more pro-choice. They favor using tax increases to offset the deficit and debt. They favor less punitive and harsh measures on crime. They are less hawkish on military policy, though they favor other forms of intervention. They are more accepting of affirmative action. They are less supportive of prayer in public schools. They are more supportive of market solutions to health care problems. They are less moralistic in law; they don’t want government to impose morality on the population.

And so on.

In contrast, as people become less informed, they become more in favor of protectionism, abortion restrictions, harsh penalties on crime, doing nothing to fix the debt, more hawkish intervention, and so on. (Remember: these effects are not due to differing demographics between low and high information voters.)

He notes that this is the case even within political parties:

Democrats are not united in their moral and political outlooks.

High information Democrats have systematically different policy preferences from low information Democrats. Rich and poor Democrats have systematically different policy preferences.

Compulsory voting gets more poor Democrats to the polls. But poor Democrats tend to be low information, while affluent Democrats tend to be high information voters.

The poor more approved more strongly of invading Iraq in 2003. They more strongly favor the Patriot Act, invasions of civil liberty, torture, protectionism, and of restricting abortion rights and access to birth control. They are less tolerant of homosexuals and more opposed to gay rights.

In general, compared to the rich, the poor–including poor Democrats–are intolerant, economically innumerate, hawkish bigots.

His take on compulsory voting, from the Amazon writeup to his …Click Here To Read The Full Story >>>

Source:: Donkeyrock_BlurBlog

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Congresswoman Jackie Speier Wants To Make Extra-Sure Young Men's Lives Are Ruined

By Amy Alkon

shared this story
from Advice Goddess Blog.

Congresswoman Jackie Speier Wants To Make Extra-Sure Young Men’s Lives Are Ruined
It’s not enough that, in sexual assault accusations, young men are forced into campus kangaroo courts where due process is removed from them.

Of course, sexual assault accusations should be handled by the criminal justice system, not some chickie who needs to go study for her midterms.

What happens in the current system, however, is that the accused is allowed to be present but barely allowed to defend himself. Here’s an example from a CNN story by Sara Ganim and Nelli Black:

Months after the sexual encounters took place, Jane Roe filed a complaint with school officials at UCSD, accusing John Doe of sexual misconduct when he touched her the following morning.

Doe said all their sex acts were consensual and said he had text messages to prove it.

He was investigated and tried by his own university. The tribunal found Doe responsible for violating the school’s policy on sexual misconduct for trying to digitally penetrate the woman the morning after they had sex.

But Doe says the hearing was one-sided and unfair. He was allowed to have a lawyer, but the lawyer couldn’t speak.

He submitted questions for his accuser, but not all of them were asked. He wasn’t allowed to dispute the testimony or examine the evidence.

“I tried to object a few times,” he told CNN, “and they reminded me that it was just a school hearing and it wasn’t criminal so I wasn’t allowed to do that.” Doe declined to testify on his own behalf during the proceedings on the advice of of his attorney.

He was suspended from school for one semester, and each time he appealed, his punishment was increased without explanation until he was facing a suspension of more than a year.

“I’m all for true victims of rape to receive all the assistance they need,” Doe says, “but at the same time the accused students have rights.”

So he sued UCSD, and a state judge agreed with him, finding the tribunal process was skewed and violated John Doe’s rights.

The standard, unlike in actual court, is not “reasonable doubt” but whether “more likely than not” there was an assault that took place.

Many male students have been expelled from schools and had their lives ruined by this. Now, Ashe Schow writes at the Wash Ex that “Congresswoman Jackie Speier, D-Calif., says she plans to introduce legislation that would ensure colleges and universities are made aware when a …Click Here To Read The Full Story >>>

Source:: Donkeyrock_BlurBlog

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Look, Mittens… Photoshop Faggots


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A Grammar Nazi In The Wild

It’s nice to see my logo become accepted.

Honestly, I don’t know if I was the first to make the grammar nazi logo, never researched it, but I’m claiming it anyway because I can. So there.

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