Sen. Jeff Brandes files electronic device privacy protection bill SB 1256

Florida state senator Jeff Brandes, the libertarian leaning republican from St. Petersburg has filed   SB 1256-Search of the Content, Information, and Communications of Cellular Phones, Portable Electronic Communication Devices, and Microphone-enabled Household Devices to protect your privacy regarding these devices.  The bill includes Google Home devices and Amazon’s Echo voice system.

The bill would require law enforcement to obtain a warrant from a judge to access your communications and location data information.

“Search of the Content, Information, and Communications of Cellular Phones, Portable Electronic Communication Devices, and Microphone-enabled Household Devices; Authorizing the obtaining in criminal cases of the contents of electronic communications only by court order or by search warrant, as provided in ch. 934, F.S., unless otherwise required by law; requiring that each application for a warrant, rather than an order, authorizing or approving the interception of wire, oral, or electronic communications be made in writing and state the applicant’s authority; providing criminal penalties for the intentional and unlawful access without authorization of certain devices and obtainment of wire, oral, or electronic communications stored within those devices, etc.”

Senator Brandes has been on the leading edge of asset seizure reform and privacy protection since entering legislative service. This bill is a good start towards reducing and eliminating law enforcement abuse of citizen rights.

Currently there is no House companion bill filed.


Medical Marijuana and Patient’s Gun Rights: A Florida Dilemma?


In a television interview this week Florida House of Representatives member  Cord Byrd explained Florida medical marijuana users will be in violation of federal firearms law.

Speaking to Channel 9 via Facetime, Byrd explained that possessing medical marijuana while having or buying a gun can carry a penalty of up to 10 years in prison.

“I won’t say it will happen, but I will advise someone who calls me that it certainly is a possibility,” he said. The prohibition is clearly explained on forms required when a person is purchasing a firearm, Byrd said.

Federal law prohibits any “unlawful user” of a controlled substance to purchase a firearm, and it doesn’t matter if Florida has legalized medical marijuana, he said.

Nowhere in the state ratification debates was the medical needs of the people weighed against their right to keep and bear arms.

This apparent dilemma provides a “teachable moment” for voters and legislators.

Madison wrote in the Virginia Resolutions, the clear duty of the legislature against federal usurpations: “That this Assembly doth explicitly and peremptorily declare, that it views the powers of the federal government, as resulting from the compact, to which the states are parties; as limited by the plain sense and intention of the instrument constituting the compact; as no further valid that they are authorized by the grants enumerated in that compact; and that in case of a deliberate, palpable, and dangerous exercise of other powers, not granted by the said compact, the states who are parties thereto, have the right, and are in duty bound, to interpose for arresting the progress of the evil, and for maintaining within their respective limits, the authorities, rights and liberties appertaining to them.

There is no authority in the Constitution for the federal government to legislate the possession or use of any plant. There is also no authority for the federal government to infringe upon the right to keep and bear arms. It is expressly forbidden by the Second Amendment, the second article in the first eight prohibitions written against the federal government, and the federal government only.

In 2016, the people of Florida overwhelmingly rejected the federal prohibition on medical marijuana. They did this by ballot initiative since the legislature lacked the fortitude to do this by legislation. We the people of Florida, in effect, nullified the federal prohibition, as is our right. To protect our decision, it is the responsibility of our state legislature to interpose on our behalf; to arrest the progress of the evil-the evil being any federal action to deny a medical marijuana patient in Florida their right to keep and bear arms.

To rectify the very real danger expressed by the honorable Mr. Byrd, the legislature needs to take the appropriate steps.

First, deny all federal agencies access to the list of medical marijuana patients in Florida. This confidentiality must be maintained no matter what financial threats the federals may make to obtain these names.

Next, the legislature must enact measures which prohibit any Florida law enforcement officer, any state agent, any court or state employee from assisting federal officers with the arrest and prosecution of any Florida medical marijuana patient. This includes any intelligence gathering, warrants, and use of jails for confinement. Any Florida LEO, state agent, judge or state employee who would violate this law would be subject to penalties from suspension without pay to termination.

There is nothing illegal about such noncooperation. Sure, sheriffs and police chiefs will lobby hard against it, but liberty and not the legislature’s love affair with uniformed services and fear of their lobbyists must carry the day.

The Second Amendment prohibits the federals from infringing on the right to keep and bear arms. The Constitution does not authorize the federals to legislate the use or possession of plants or drugs. This is a state power never ceded to the central government.

The legislation of firearms in Florida is contained in our state constitution in our Declaration of Rights, Article One, Section 8. Rightly or wrongly, we have placed all firearms legislation, including the manner and places of bearing arms in the hands of the state legislature.

Unless the state legislature is willing to tell 71% of the voters they plan on denying medical marijuana patients their right to keep and bear arms, they should not waste too much time in moving to protect those rights from the federals.

We didn’t vote away our right to keep and bear arms when we rejected federal prohibition. Rep. Byrd is correct; it isn’t fair to force people to navigate the complex divide between federal and state law.

So our message to Rep. Byrd and his House colleagues is this: Simplify the complex and don’t force Florida’s medical marijuana patients to navigate this divide. Interpose now with the proper legislation. Protect the liberty of Floridians who are both gun owners and medical marijuana patients now or will become both in the future.

The day is fast approaching where sides must be taken, lines must be drawn, liberty supported or supplanted.  Where stands our state legislature?


What to expect in December for the 2018 Legislative Session

November 29, 2017 by Alexander Snitker
The week of December 4th will be the last Interim Committee week in advance of the 60-day regular session beginning on January 9th, 2018.
There are five bills up next week in committee hearings that we either support or oppose:
SB 134 would allow concealed weapons permit-holders to carry guns in to courthouses and temporarily surrender and store the gun at a security checkpoint. Currently concealed weapon permit holders must leave their firearms at home or store them in cars and be unarmed for a period outside the courthouses. On Judiciary Committee agenda for Tuesday December 5th, 2017. CLICK HERE TO SEE THE ACTION ALERT
SB 148 would reduce penalties for the first or second violation for people who have concealed-weapons licenses and openly carry. Also, provides that person licensed to carry concealed weapon or firearm does not violate certain provisions if firearm is temporarily & openly displayed. On Judiciary Committee agenda for Tuesday December 5th, 2017. CLICK HERE TO SEE THE ACTION ALERT
SB 274 would allow a concealed weapons permit holder to carry a concealed firearm on school property if a religious institution is located on the property. Currently, firearms are allowed in church if the chapel is not on a school campus. A legal concealed weapons permit holder faces a felony if they carry to school or a house of worship on the same grounds as a school. On Judiciary Committee agenda for Tuesday December 5th, 2017. CLICK HERE TO SEE THE ACTION ALERT
SJR 452 would allow voters in the next general election to place an amendment to the State Constitution to increase the period when the accrued benefit from specified limitations on homestead property tax assessments may be transferred from a prior homestead to a new homestead. On Community Affairs Committee agenda for Tuesday December 5th, 2017. CLICK HERE TO SEE THE ACTION ALERT
SB 370 would dedicate $100 million annually to the Florida Forever Trust Fund. Florida Forever funds are used to purchase conservation land. Florida Forever funds comes from the sale of bonds that loan money to the state. The bonds are then paid back by revenues generated through documentary stamp taxes levied on real estate documentation and transactions. The debt service alone on Florida Forever bonds are projected to be $145 million for the 2017-18 budget. 30% of Florida is already held in conservation. On Appropriations Subcommittee on the Environment and Natural Resources agenda for Thursday December 7th, 2017. CLICK HERE TO SEE THE ACTION ALERT
Be sure to check out our “Legislative Ticker” on our web site to get the action alerts for each of these bills. CLICK HERE TO SEE THE TICKER



Representative Joe Gruters (R) D-73 will be holding a press conference on Wednesday December 6th, 2017 at the state capitol to discuss his Campaign Finance Reform Legislation (HB 43). Senator Greg Steube (R) D-23 has filed the companion bill in the Senate (SB 122). This legislation would prohibit Political Committees (PCs) and Electioneering Communications Organizations (ECOs) from making contributions to each other.
The use of political committees and electioneering communications organizations to make contributions to each other makes it extremely difficult to determine the original source of the contributions. In many cases contributions flow through multiple committees before reaching the final committee where the money is actually spent to influence the outcome of a political campaign. This legislation will make the election process more transparent and allow voters to make informed decisions about candidates.
Campaign Finance Reform has been a priority for Liberty First Network, the Republican Liberty Caucus of Florida and the Come Clean Florida Coalition. Alex Snitker and John Hallman of Liberty First Network will be at the press conference along with Bob White, Chair of the Republican Liberty Caucus of Florida.
The press conference will be held on Wednesday December 6th, 2017 at 1:00 PM on the 4th floor rotunda between the two chambers.
We need people to attend this press conference to show the media and the legislature that we are serious about stopping the special interest that control Tallahassee from hiding in the shadows. If you can attend and if you need a ride, please contact Alex Snitker at (813) 315-0513
Originally posted at  Posted here with permission.
Filed Under: Blog

The Florida Senate Is An Assembly of Elitist Embarrassments


One of Florida state senator Jack Latvala’s accusers has made her identity known. She is Rachel Perrin Rogers, the staff director of the senate majority office for Wilton Simpson. Simpson is a  future senate president.

As the story unfolds, Ms. Perrin Rogers claims senator Latvala sexually harassed her over a period of four years. She says he groped her in a senate building elevator and engaged in rubbing her leg in the Governor’s Club, a private watering hole for Florida’s political elitists. Latvala denies this. Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t. The investigation chips need to  fall honestly where they may.

What is also clear is Ms. Perrin Rogers is not baggage free in her own right. This past June she sought help for her surgeon step father from Latvala to get him out of jury duty. Her texted request was that Latvala use his influence with the Pinellas County Clerk to arrange this. Latvala is said to have texted her to tell her stepdad to simply not show up and it would be handled after the fact. She thanked him via text the next day.

If you have been called for jury duty, you know how inconvenient it can be. But you must go; unlike Florida’s political elitists and their friends and family who travel in the circles of Tallahassee royalty like senator Latvala and Ms. Perrin Rogers.

Stories regarding this brewing scandal in today’s Tampa Bay Times and Miami Herald also reveal text messages in which Ms. Perrin Rogers refers to current senate president Joe Negron as a “douche bag,” and senator Anitere Flores as “Flwhores.”

Of course, none of this grants a license to be groped by anyone, senator or otherwise. It does call into question the level of dysfunctionality going on in at least one of our legislative chambers in Tallahassee.

As a constituent of Senator Simpson, I wonder where he stands on such terms being used by his staff director to describe his colleagues. Is he on board with the level of disrespect being directed at his colleagues? Does he also grant favors like getting friends and family out of jury duty or other accommodations? Is he part of a plan to drive Latvala out of the senate and the governor’s race? Who knows?



He is smartly silent on the issue for now but it’s time to stand and be counted senator.

Call out the disrespectful language used by your chief staffer. Issue a policy that such a lack of professionalism will no longer be tolerated by the majority office. If you can’t do this now, what are we to think of your standards when you are senate president?

As this embarrassment centered around senator Latvala grows, coming on the heels of former senator Frank Artiles’ resignation last year, and former senator Jeff Clemens’ resignation just weeks ago, one thing is clear. Despite their posturing, the Florida senate is no less a swamp than Washington, D.C. Indeed, it’s the farm club where players often go to make the big leagues and pick the harvest in  the D.C. money tree orchard. The people know this. We know we are governed by some, perhaps many, who are weak narcissists and psychopaths; craving power, sex and money- and not necessarily in that order. Our own failure is we don’t mind as long as the offenders match our preferred red or blue jerseys.

It’s time for the real leaders in the state legislature, whether they have formal positions of leadership or not, to take a stand; to demand a higher level of professionalism and a higher standard of conduct. Providing anonymous observations and falling back on the platitudes of official policy statements isn’t affecting behavior and it isn’t showing leadership. A future senate president would be an ideal person with whom to begin.