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The Sun-Sentinel reports:

TALLAHASSEE — Florida’s re-drawn congressional map intentionally favors Republicans in violation of the anti-gerrymandering standards voters approved in 2010 and will have to be re-drawn, according to a ruling late Thursday from a Tallahassee judge.

The judge found particular problems with two seats that knife through Central Florida, held by Reps. Corrine Brown, D-Jacksonville, and Daniel Webster, R-Winter Garden.

The 41-page order from Leon County Circuit Judge Terry Lewis will almost certainly be appealed to the Florida Supreme Court. But if the decision is upheld, lawmakers or the courts could have to go back to the drawing board to design congressional seats throughout Central Florida to comply with the Fair Districts mandate that seats not be drawn to intentionally favor incumbents or parties.

In his ruling, Lewis quoted President George Washington’s farewell address warning of associations of “cunning, ambitious and unprincipled men” who could subvert the will of voters.

The Washington Post reports:

Washington and Lee University expressed regret Tuesday for the school’s past ownership of slaves and promised to remove Confederate flags from the main chamber of its Lee Chapel after a group of black students protested that the historic Virginia school was unwelcoming to minorities.

And the question is: What took them so long?

According to The Daily Independent, a newspaper in Ashland, Ky., Senator Mitch McConnell, while speaking at a national Right to Life Convention in Louisville last month, told the crowd that if Republicans gained control of the Senate, they would schedule a vote on legislation to outlaw abortions after 20 weeks.
From a column by Charles Blow in The New York Times: Democrats Face a Tough Fight to Hold the Senate - NYTimes.com

Civil rights groups have spent a decade fighting requirements that voters show photo identification, arguing that this discriminates against African-Americans, Hispanics and the poor. This week in a North Carolina courtroom, another group will make its case that such laws are discriminatory: college students.

Joining a challenge to a state law alongside the N.A.A.C.P., the American Civil Liberties Union and the Justice Department, lawyers for seven college students and three voter-registration advocates are making the novel constitutional argument that the law violates the 26th Amendment, which lowered the voting age to 18 from 21. The amendment also declares that the right to vote “shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of age.”

Chris Joyner reports:

The top contributors to Rep. Jack Kingston’s Senate campaign come from two companies linked to a felon the U.S. government has been trying to deport for the past six years, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has found.

In late 2013, Kingston, an 11-term Republican congressman from Savannah, took in $80,052 in contributions from employees, their family members, consultants and contractors of two virtually unknown Gwinnett County companies: Confirmatrix Laboratories, a 2-year-old firm that performs urine and drug testing, and Nue Medical Consulting, a medical billing company founded last September.

Both companies are linked to Khalid A. Satary, a Palestinian also known as DJ Rock, who served more than three years in federal prison for running a large-scale counterfeit CD operation in the metro Atlanta area. Satary was released from prison in 2008.

“Since that time, ICE has sought to secure travel documents from Israel, Egypt and the Palestinian Liberation Organization in order to return Mr. Satary to the Gaza Strip,” said Vincent Picard, spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

coastalconguero:

Former Georgia state representative Stephanie Stuckey Benfield (above photo, second from right) and long-time coastal environmentalist and bookstore owner Nancy Thomason (photo below) were among the people speaking out at a Save the Spit benefit on St. Simons Island, Georgia, Friday night. The group is fighting what is perhaps one of the most ill-considered coastal development plans of all time, an attempt by hedge funds and venture capitalists to sell million-dollar property on an extremely fragile spit of land in the Atlantic Ocean off of Sea Island, Georgia. Just want to give a shout-out to people everywhere who try to stop ill-considered coastal development. Sadly, there’s a lot of it, motivated by greed and in total denial of the laws of nature.

Like the Dew adds: To keep up with this issue, which is worth following, stay tuned at this website: http://savethespitga.org/

NORTH MIAMI, Fla. — Anyone looking to meet the director of the tiny but highly regarded Museum of Contemporary Art here has two choices. Head into the museum, where its interim director, Alex Gartenfeld, has an office. Or go next door to City Hall, where the mayor’s appointee to the same position, Babacar M’Bow, is essentially working in exile. The dueling directors are just part of the chaos emanating from a bitter showdown that has erupted between MoCA, as the museum is known, and the city that founded it. The museum’s board wants to leave this working-class city and merge with the Bass Museum of Art in Miami Beach, its wealthier and more glamorous neighbor. It says that North Miami has neglected the museum building and failed to support a needed expansion. City officials, in turn, accuse the board of secretly plotting to make off with North Miami’s cultural patrimony.

It seems unions are having a little too much success in Tennessee for the comfort of Republicans there, so the state legislature is planning to do something about it. Spurred by the fact that Tennessee added 31,000 union members last year, state Rep. Jeremy Durham has introduced a bill that would create a new “mass picketing” misdemeanor specifically aimed at labor activists: “I feel like if that’s such a growing part of our economy, we need to take preemptive measures to make sure our businesses have the rights and protections they should be entitled to.”

CBS reports:

The legally blind Florida man who shot and killed his friend after a drunken argument and was let free under the state’s “stand your ground” self-defense law has been given his guns back.

The Orlando Sentinel reports that on Feb. 20, Judge John Galluzzo reluctantly ruled that John Wayne Rogers, 40, had a right to have the .308 caliber rifle he killed James DeWitt with and a 10mm pistol returned to him.

"It’s my constitutional right to bear arms," Rogers told the newspaper. Rogers, who reportedly lost most of his sight in a 2001 industrial accident, cannot drive.

Legislation moving quickly in the General Assembly puts Georgia squarely in the middle of a national debate about religious freedom and discrimination.

Supporters of separate bills in both the Senate and House claim Georgia needs to act to protect people of any religion from government intrusion on their beliefs. But critics say Senate Bill 377 and House Bill 1023 would open the door for private business owners to cite their religious beliefs in declining to serve people they believe are gay or having premarital sex.

"We support the concept of freedom of religion and certainly people’s right to have their own religious beliefs, but the language in these bills is just so broadly written that it will likely lead to serious and unintended consequences,” said Jeff Graham, the executive director of Georgia Equality, an advocacy organization for the state’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities.

“How do we know the difference between someone who is biased vs. someone who has deeply held religious beliefs?”