Jacksonville-based northeast regional office covers 20-county area; previous director became Executive Director of ACLU of the Nation’s Capital

January 10, 2013

ACLU of Florida Media Office, 786-363-2737, media@aclufl.org

MIAMI - The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida has released a report entitled “Protecting the Rights of Floridians in the Rick Scott Era: A Two-Year Report on Combatting Assaults by the Legislature and the Administration of Gov. Rick Scott on Civil Liberties,” documenting the work the ACLU and other organizations have had to do to defend civil liberties in Florida during  the past two years.

Released at the mid-point of Governor Rick Scott’s term in office and just before the beginning of committee meetings for the 2013 Legislative Session, the report recounts many of the actions taken by the administration and legislature that have restricted the individual liberties of Floridians as well the actions taken by the ACLU to protect those rights.

From the report: “In order to defend the rights of Floridians from their own state government, the ACLU of Florida was involved in nine lawsuits challenging Gov. Scott’s policies and legislative attacks on civil liberties[.]”

“With the 2012 elections behind us and the 2014 gubernatorial election  already effectively begun,  it appears that the Governor is attempting to moderate his views to make them palatable,” said ACLU of Florida Executive Director Howard Simon.

“But no public relations campaign can paper over the picture described in our report,” continued Simon, “that for the last two years, whether it has been the right to vote, freedom from unreasonable searches by government officials, women’s rights, the protection of personal privacy, religious freedom or freedom of speech, the ACLU has had to protect Floridians from a wide-ranging assault on their rights by their own Legislature and Governor.”

To coincide with the release of the report, the ACLU of Florida is hosting a media conference call with key ACLU staff to discuss the report and the current state of the legal challenges enumerated in it..

Participants in the call will include several members of the ACLU’s legal staff who are counsel in cases involving voting rights, mandatory drug testing for both welfare applicants and state employees, and the prohibition on medical personnel asking patients about guns and ammunition in the home in order to suggest ways to protect children.

ACLU of Florida Civil Liberties Press Forum

11:00 a.m. Eastern, January 10, 2013

Call in number: (866) 258 2926

Conference ID: 87884238#

ACLU of Florida Conference Call Participants:

Howard Simon, Executive Director

Randall Marshall, Legal Director

Maria Kayanan, Associate Legal Director

Shalini Goel Agarwal, Staff Attorney

Julie Ebenstein, Staff Attorney

Amy Turkel, Communications Director

Ron Bilbao, Senior Legislative Associate

From the ACLU’s report: “Following the November 2010 Election, we anticipated that [Gov. Scott’s] Tea Party-backed administration and the 2011 extreme conservative-dominated Legislature would unleash unprecedented assaults on Floridians’ civil liberties.  Unfortunately, we were right.”

A copy of the report as a PDF is available here:


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About the ACLU of Florida

The ACLU of Florida is freedom's watchdog, working daily in the courts, legislatures and communities to defend individual rights and personal freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.  For additional information, visit our web site at: www.aclufl.org.