Friday, December 15, 2006

FLORIDA DIGEST December 15, 2006

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Governor Suspends All Florida Executions

POSTED: 4:42 pm EST December 15, 2006
UPDATED: 5:25 pm EST December 15, 2006

OCALA, Fla. -- Gov. Jeb Bush suspended all executions in Florida after amedical examiner said Friday that officials botched the insertion of theneedles during the execution of a convicted killer earlier this week.

The execution of a convicted killer took 34 minutes -- more than twice aslong as normal.

Angel Nieves Diaz, 55, was put to death Wednesday for murdering of themanager of a Miami topless bar during a holdup in 1979. The condemned mannot only took 34 minutes to die, but also needed a rare second dose of thelethal chemicals.

Dr. William Hamilton, who performed the autopsy, said the needles piercedDiaz's veins and then went into soft tissue in his arms. The lethalchemicals are supposed to go directly into the veins.

Hamilton refused to say whether he thought Diaz died a painful death.


The Sun-Sentinel,0,7296620.story?coll=sfla-news-florida

Secretary of state named
Elections supervisor to take post; health care chief selected.

The Associated Press

December 15, 2006

TALLAHASSEE · Gov.-elect Charlie Crist said Thursday that Pasco Countyelections supervisor Kurt Browning will serve as his secretary of state anda hospital executive will lead the Agency for Health Care Administration.

By picking Browning, who has overseen Pasco's voting since 1980, Crist issignaling that elections will be the top responsibility for the Departmentof State, which has numerous functions.

"In Florida, elections have had their day in the sunshine and I think it'svery important that we are focused on ensuring the integrity of the electiveprocess," Crist said.


The Sun-Sentinel,0,4845382.story

Unblocked gay Web sites help fight bias in the classroom, rights advocatescontend
By Marc Freeman
South Florida Sun-Sentinel Education Writer

December 15, 2006

Gay resource sites on the Internet now are just a click away for computerusers at public schools.

The Palm Beach County School District recently unblocked student and teacheraccess to several so-called "gay-supportive" Web sites after months ofappeals and legal pressure by the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council.Some sites remain blocked.

A message labeling the sites "Sexuality/Alternative Lifestyles" no longerpops up on School District computer screens when users visit Web sites runby the gay rights council, and the national Gay, Lesbian and StraightEducation Network.


The St. Petersburg Times

New sec of state
Published December 15, 2006

TALLAHASSEE - Gov.-elect Charlie Crist on Thursday chose Pasco CountySupervisor of Elections Kurt Browning to be secretary of state, takingcharge of Florida's voting systems at a time when they are again under closenational scrutiny.

Browning, 48, becomes the first elections expert to head the agency sinceFlorida voters made it an executive branch department in 2003.

Browning has opposed the need for a paper audit trail on electronic votingmachines, which Crist supports, but the appointee quickly put himself inline with his new boss.

"As the incoming secretary, I need to be open about all the technologythat's out there," Browning said. "I believe that voters need to have a highlevel of confidence in their voting systems."


The St. Petersburg Times

Bush orders in-depth look at Diaz execution
By CHRIS TISCH, Times Staff Writer
Published December 15, 2006

TALLAHASSEE - Gov. Jeb Bush on Thursday ordered corrections officials toinvestigate the execution of an inmate who appeared to wince in pain beforetaking 34 minutes to die from lethal injection.

Corrections Secretary James McDonough appointed a four-person panel toreview Angel Diaz's Wednesday execution, which has drawn harsh criticismfrom defense lawyers and triggered nearly one-fifth of the state's death rowinmates to petition the Florida Supreme Court to outlaw lethal injection.

Bush said he asked for the investigation "given the unusual length of timeit took for the process to be complete."

Corrections officials said they had to take the rare step of administering asecond dose of a three-drug cocktail to Diaz, who was condemned for a 1979murder in Miami.


The Sun-Sentinel,0,2246822.story?coll=sfla-news-florida

Judge: Ormond Beach woman didn't break law by exposing breasts

The Associated Press

December 15, 2006, 9:35 AM EST

DAYTONA BEACH -- A woman did not break the law when she exposed her breaststo protest laws that bar women from publicly going bare breasted, a judgehas ruled.

County Judge David B. Beck said Thursday that Elizabeth Book, 44, of OrmondBeach, did not violate disorderly conduct.

Book was arrested by Daytona Beach police July 2, 2005, for disrobing inpublic.

Her attorney, Lawrence G. Walters, said the city is trying to censor hisclient.

"I've never seen another city or case where the city has shown so much timeand effort to shut down one person's First Amendment right of protectedspeech," Walters said. "They just can't seem to let it go. They need to stopwasting taxpayers' money."


The Board and Members of A.V.E.R. American Veterans for Equal Rights inviteeveryone to join us on Sunday December 10,2006 for the 5:00. P.M.Showing ofthe Award Winning Play "Burning Blue".

Ticket Price: $30.00
to reserve tickets: Please contact
Mark La Fontaine (954) 495-4565

Part of the ticket sales will be donated to A.V.E.R.and a Fundraising eventwill follow.

Come join Cast and Crew. All proceeds from this event will help in the fightto repeal "Don't ask Don't Tell. The play and fundraiser will be held at theCinema Paradiso 503 S.E. 6th Street


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

District asks judge to toss lawsuit by gay-straight group
By Rachel Simmonsen

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Okeechobee County school officials have asked a judge to dismiss a lawsuitfiled by an Okeechobee High School senior and the club she created topromote tolerance of homosexuals, whose members say they wrongfully weredenied the right to meet on school grounds.

Attorneys for the Okeechobee County School Board and Toni Wiersma, principalof the high school, say that the Gay-Straight Alliance of Okeechobee HighSchool isn't entitled to a claim under the federal Equal Access Act.Furthermore, the alliance and Yasmin Gonzalez, a founder of the club and theco-plaintiff in the case, have no grounds to sue Wiersma under the federalact, since she is not a public secondary school, according to a motion filedMonday in U.S. District Court.

The defense attorneys also claim that Wiersma was mandated by state law toprohibit the club from meeting at the school and that the plaintiffs havefailed to show that the school board had an official policy that deprivedthem of their civil rights.



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Palm Beach County School District Unblocks Access to Gay Supportive WebSites

(Press Release from West Palm Beach Human Rights Council:West Palm Beach, Florida) Nine months after a student publication firstdisclosed that the School District of Palm Beach County had filtered outaccess to gay supportive web sites from the School District's computers,those filters have been removed.

Palm Beach County has the nation's eleventh largest school district.

"This is great news for teachers and students in our public schools," saidRand Hoch, President and Founder of the Palm Beach County Human RightsCouncil, a non-profit organization whose site was one of those which hasbeen blocked by the School District. The Council has been working to advanceequality for Palm Beach County's gay and lesbian community since 1988.

"Allowing access to up-to-date information provided by the Gay, LesbianStraight Education Network (GLSEN) and other supportive organizations willassist administrators, faculty and students in making our public schools amore accepting environment for all students," said Hoch. "The County's fiveGSAs will benefit as well."


Gay and Lesbian Community Center


Princess Diana Quilt on Tour from NJ! Her legacy goes on.

GLCC of South Florida and Rock of Love and Hope Are displaying a Quilt inmemory of Princess Diana Along with two other quilts for Unity andDiversity, & Animals Remembered. Quilts are on tour from NJ.

They will be on display:
December 17, 2006
5:30 - 7:00pm
GLCC of South Florida
Annual GLCC Community Holiday Party
followed by the GLOW Toy Drive, Benefit Concert at 7:30pm
1717 N. Andrews Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, Fl 33311

Rock of Love and Hope is a charity in memory of Princess Diana, thatpresents magnificent quilt donations for display from individually donatedpatches that were formed together to create an awareness of Love and Hope.

These wonderful quilts of inspiration have been created to bring anawareness of the true meaning of giving from the heart. The energy thatthese quilts will bring is the antidote that will raise anyone's spirits.

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