Legal Challenges to 2021 Enacted Laws

Several of the more contested bills that passed the Legislature and were signed by the Governor are being challenged in court by different groups. The debate centers around the constitutionality of the measures. Outlined below is a rundown of those lawsuits.

CITIZEN BALLOT INITIATIVES The ACLU has filed a lawsuit challenging the new state law that limits contributions to political committees backing citizen ballot initiatives. The law limits contributions to $3,000 until such time as the Florida Supreme Court approves the ballot language. Opponents of the law feel it would hinder the expensive signature gathering process prior to the Court’s involvement.

SOCIAL MEDIA CENSORSHIP After a bill fining social media platforms that try to ban political candidates went into effect, two national technology associations filed a suit alleging the law is politically motivated and an infringement on free speech and commerce. Florida attorneys have responded by accusing the platforms of censorship and violating free speech protections.

ANTI-RIOT LAW At least two separate lawsuits have been filed seeking to invalidate the recently signed anti-riot legislation. The law was passed in response to high profile protests in other states where violence became an issue. The Orlando federal court suit says it violates First Amendment protections for free speech, Eighth Amendment protections against cruel and unusual punishment and 14th Amendment protections of due process. Meanwhile, a federal suit in Tallahassee was filed by the NAACP and the ACLU on behalf several largely Black organizations.

ELECTIONS BILL There are currently four pending lawsuits seeking to halt the implementation of the controversial voting and elections law. Opponents say the law will discourage communities of color, seniors and people with disabilities from exercising their right to vote. One lawsuit in the U.S. District Court, was filed on behalf of six Black and Latino organizations. A second federal suit was filed by the League of Women Voters and two other organizations. A third suit, filed by the NAACP and Common Cause, alleges Black, Latino and disabled voters will be hindered by the new law. The final one by the Fair Elections Center and the Southern Poverty Law Center questions the requirement that third party registration groups must notify registrants that they might not file their registration timely.

TRANSGENDER SPORTS PARTICIPATION The Human Rights Campaign has filed a lawsuit seeking to have the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act” overturned. The law demands that participants in women sporting events be required to submit a birth certificate to prove the athlete was born female. Opponents say the law is discriminatory.