March Issues of Interest

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta upheld the temporary ban on Florida’s drug-testing for welfare recipients.  The Court stated that Florida failed to show that the drug testing plan was so critical that the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which bars unreasonable searches by the government, should be suspended.  Governor Rick Scott immediately announced his plans to appeal.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi announced Florida will receive $395,000 out of a nationwide $7 million settlement with Internet giant Google over its collection of personal information from unsecured wireless networks.  Antenna-equipped company cars taking photographs for Google Maps collected personal information on-line, including addresses of viewed Web pages and full or partial emails. Florida is one of 38 states and the District of Columbia that took part in the settlement.

The Senate is moving forward with its plan to create a three path approach to receive a high school diploma.  Students seeking an industrial certification would earn a “Gold” designation; students seeking a conventional diploma earn a “Rigorous” designation; and students successfully completing more advanced courses earn a “Scholar” diploma.

Senator Negron has proposed legislation which would prohibit law enforcement agencies from using drone aircraft to track suspects without a search warrant.  There are exceptions in the case of national security, or special circumstances.

The House and Senate have bills which would:

  1. End permanent alimony awards.
  2. Put the burden of proof on the party seeking alimony.

The bills, by Sen. Kelli Stargel (R-Lakeland) and Rep. Ritch Workman (R-Merritt Island) want to change how “non-marital assets” are treated in deciding whether to award alimony — and how much, for how long. The Florida Bar opposes the changes.

Senator Nancy Detert (R-Venice) has tried for four years to pass a prohibition for texting while driving.  With bills in both chambers advancing with unanimous votes, it appears this will be the year where passage of this law, which makes such action a secondary violation and carry a $60 fine.

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