Daily News Summary
The purpose of this summary provided by the Communications Department of The Florida Bar is to present media coverage that may be of interest to members. Opinions expressed in the articles are attributable solely to the authors. The Florida Bar does not adopt or endorse any opinions expressed below. For information on previous articles, please contact the publishing newspaper directly.
May 13, 2019
The Florida Bar
The Florida Bar | Article | May 10, 2019
When it convenes May 24 in Palm Beach, the Board of Governors is expected to begin debating a proposal that would create the nation’s first voluntary program for regulating online legal service providers. Recently approved by the Special Committee on Technologies Affecting the Practice of Law, the proposed amendment — “Chapter 23, Registered Online Service Provider Program” — is up for first reading. Florida Bar President-elect John Stewart, who chairs the committee, said the program is designed to promote a cooperative relationship with the industry while strengthening public protection and expanding economic opportunity for Bar members. The program is strictly voluntary and is in its beginning stages.
Daytona Beach News Journal | Article | May 12, 2019
Three years ago, a statewide study showed Flagler’s lone county judge – Melissa Distler – was the busiest county judge in Florida. As Flagler County’s population of 110,000 continues to grow, the number of cases she handles has been increasing. Help may be on the way. Gov. Ron DeSantis is reviewing the state’s proposed $91.1-billion budget, which includes funding for several new judgeships. Flagler is one of two counties slated to get another judge permanently assigned to its county courts docket effective July 1.
Northwest Florida Daily News | Editorial | May 11, 2019
“There is a burgeoning, and surprisingly under-reported, crisis in the Florida courts system. The state’s 20 judicial districts — both trial and appellate courts — have been hemorrhaging crucial staff due to substandard salary and benefits. From the law clerks responsible for research and analysis to technology professionals and case managers responsible for making courts run better, hundreds of critical “non-judge” employees are being squeezed by low pay. In the recent session, the Legislature granted a modest request to bump up salaries, but it needs to keep an eye on this critical issue — particularly since Florida’s courts are entirely funded from money they produce themselves, through fees, fines and other revenue.”
South Florida Sun-Sentinel | Editorial | May 08, 2019
“Florida could have gone big on criminal justice reform. Because of the state’s sheriffs and state attorneys, however, the Legislature went small. Very small. Senate Bill 642 would have dramatically reversed the mass incarceration policies that began in Florida during the mid-1980s. . . . Yet House leaders refused to go along. Gov. Ron DeSantis also expressed opposition. . . . The prison-industrial complex in Florida and nationwide has helped the private companies that operate prisons. They lose money if inmate numbers drop. For the public, the policies have done great harm at great expense. Next year, Florida should take a giant leap on criminal justice reform.”
Civil Justice Issues
Palm Beach Post | Article | May 11, 2019
A federal judge Friday [May 10] required 32 counties across Florida to provide Spanish-language ballots and other assistance to Spanish-speaking voters in the March 2020 presidential primary election. Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Walker issued a preliminary injunction that follows a similar ruling in September. In the earlier ruling, Walker required the 32 counties to provide Spanish-language sample ballots but did not require Spanish-language ballots and other assistance, saying there wasn’t enough time before the November 2018 elections. The ruling Friday goes further in requiring Spanish-language ballots. Gov. Ron DeSantis last month directed Secretary of State Laurel Lee to begin a rule-making process to address the availability of Spanish-language ballots and Spanish-language voter assistance.
EDITORIAL: DESANTIS SHOULD VETO FLORIDA LAWMAKERS’ ‘SNEAK ATTACK’ ON SANE DEVELOPMENT, GROWTH MANAGEMENT
Palm Beach Post | Editorial | May 12, 2019
“On the next-to-last day of the just-ended session of the Florida Legislature, a senator from St. Petersburg slipped a little amendment into a bill about affordable housing that was destined for passage the next day. The amendment received no scrutiny in committee hearings. It was approved by a voice vote in the rush of activity as the session was hurtling to a close. And it could sound the death knell for growth management in the state of Florida. . . . The overall intent of the measure is to deter local governments from requiring developers to include affordable housing in their projects.”