Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

Real news for working families.  An online newspaper

Florida News

Florida Legislators want to grant themselves absolute immunity until the end of time

Legislators across America are generally found to be immune from testifying in civil cases. Courts across the nation have recognized that legislators at every level would be rendered ineffective if they were constantly responding to a bombardment of subpoenas. Criminal cases are an exception. Florida's Fair District Amendments and the Republican-controlled redistricting has given wings to the inevitability of lawsuits to determine if it was the will of the people or the will of certain legislators which controlled the new maps.

Last week the House Judiciary Committee in a 13-5 party line vote passed bill PCB JDC 12-03, which gives current legislators, former legislators and their staff, and former staff members "absolute immunity" from testifying or turning over their papers and any documents “in connection with any action taken or function performed in a legislative capacity.”

The bill appears to be nothing more than a gag rule that will reach past the person's death until the end of time.

While the bill does allow a legislator or former legislator to wave immunity, a staff member must get permission from the Speaker of the House or Senate President to do the same.

Last Thursday Gov. Scott signed the new congressional maps making them official.

It has been reported that the League of Women Voters and at least two other groups are planning lawsuits challenging the maps.

The Florida Constitution is crystal clear on the issue: "No apportionment plan or individual district shall be drawn with the intent to favor or disfavor a political party or an incumbent."

The only way to determine a legislator's intent would be to ask and examine the relevant documents.

The Republicans in the Florida state legislature want to make sure this doesn't happen.

Florida is the only state that doesn't have a legislative immunity law on the books.

This work by the Columbia County Observer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

Comments  (to add a comment go here)

Meeting Calendar
No need to be confused - Find links to agendas and where your participation is welcome.

Make a comment • click here •
All comments are displayed at the end of the article and are moderated.