News & Resources

Are You Reading Fake News?

Stories about fake news have been capturing headlines regularly over the past few years. Two recent reports highlighted just how extensively Russia has attempted to influence people in the United States with fake news and fake social media. They’ve had their fingers seemingly everywhere, with campaigns and stories touching on patriotism, feminism, gun rights, civil rights, Veterans issues, and even a call for California to secede. President Trump and others decry “fake” news and offer […]

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Tolerating Incivility Is the Price We Pay for Freedom, Says Judge

After the 2018 Stoneman Douglas shooting, long-time Florida NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer received emails that would horrify and disgust most people. Graphic images of gunshot wounds inflicted by the shooter. Language described as “vile,” “harassing,” and “threatening.” Rather than be cowed by the emails, Hammer fought back by filing a harassment lawsuit against the men who sent them, including California lawyer Laurence Sorensen, seeking money damages. Sorensen moved to dismiss the lawsuit. Ms. Hammer’s attorneys […]

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Florida First Amendment Sunshine Seminar in Jacksonville

On November 29, 2018, I had the pleasure of helping to present during a recent Florida First Amendment Sunshine Seminar in Jacksonville. Members of the news media and representatives from local governments attended the event to learn more about complying with laws on open meetings and public records in Florida. The seminar, which took place at the Florida Times-Union headquarters, was hosted in part by the First Amendment Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists-Florida, and the […]

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Florida Supreme Court Decides Not to Weigh in on Release of Parkland Shooting Surveillance

When a tragedy like the Parkland shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School occurs, there tend to be two schools of thought where the release of information is concerned. On the one hand, Florida’s Public Records Act protects the rights of citizens and news organizations to access certain kinds of evidence and information to monitor how well government is functioning. On the other, governing and investigative bodies often have a vested interest in withholding some of […]

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Appeals Court Says Fort Lauderdale Food Sharing Protected Under the First Amendment

Like many cities, Fort Lauderdale’s homeless population has grown in recent years, resulting in a two very different reactions. One is an attempt to reach out to the homeless community and offer help, as exemplified by the weekly meals at Stranahan Park offered by a group calling itself Food Not Bombs. At the same time, there is a feeling of frustration from visitors and local businesses over some aspects of the increasing homeless population. Cities […]

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FIU Bridge Collapse: Do Public Records Stop Being Public Records When There’s an Investigation?

The FIU bridge collapse this past March was a terrible tragedy. Investigators are still trying to piece together what happened to prevent another such occurrence in the future. As a part of this, FDOT has been working with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), providing them with documentation regarding the construction of the bridge. While those two organizations have been conducting their investigation, the press has been reporting on it and updating the public on […]

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