The time is upon us once again. Monday, March 2 marks the start of the Florida legislature’s 2015 session and the ACLU of Florida will be at our state’s Capitol defending against bills that aim to limit your civil rights and civil liberties. We’ll also be fighting for new laws that look to expand freedoms for all Floridians. We’re excited about the work we’ll be doing and want to share just a glimpse of what’s to come.
Proactively, we expect to work on a number of criminal justice issues that have been simmering in Florida such as:
- The practice of charging kids with adult crimes. We are part of the movement to make this a rare occurrence-- not something that happens 1,500 times a year in Florida and certainly not a routine punishment for nonviolent crimes like drug and property offenses.
- Ending Florida’s infamous and shameful practice of sending people to death row on a simple majority vote of a jury. We’re the last state in the entire country to allow this and we will fight for the unanimous jury process that has been implemented in almost every other state in the nation.
- Reforming Florida’s prison system. Florida’s newspapers have uncovered truly horrific incidents of abuse in our prison system over the last couple of years and there is sincere interest in legislation that would provide more accountability.
We’ll have to play some defense too:
- The Senate has already scheduled a vote on a bill with major privacy impacts. It proposes to grant significant access to digital accounts after you pass away so your spouse, parent or other executor has complete access to your email, Facebook, Match.com, blog, journal, financial and other electronic data.
- We expect a major anti-choice vote this year also. We are facing legislation that would require abortion clinics to jump through burdensome and unnecessary administrative hoops that may force clinic closures.
As you can see, 2015 will be a big year. We’re optimistic about making change, but realistic that it won't come easy. Stay tuned for updates as the session progresses.