Florida facing multiple lawsuits over series of new laws

Florida is facing at least five well-funded lawsuits over a series of conservative laws passed during the recent legislative session and signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

So far, lobbying groups and other advocacy organizations have sued the state over: the so-called “anti-riot” law, the Big Tech censorship ban, and the new, stricter elections regulations.

Lawsuits are also expected over the new transgender sports ban and the recent legalization of sports betting in a gambling compact with the Seminole tribe.

The ACLU, NAACP, League of Women Voters, and the voting rights group Florida Rising have all joined at least one of the three current lawsuits challenging Florida’s new elections law, which adds tighter restrictions to things like voting by mail.

Meanwhile, the ACLU and NAACP have also filed lawsuits against the Combating Public Disorder law, which supporters say will crack down on violent demonstrations and opponents warn will hinder First Amendment Rights.

Silicon Valley lobbying groups, with members like Facebook and Twitter, are also suing the state over the Big Tech censorship bill, which they argue violates federal law.

Each lawsuit attempts to overturn the respective new laws. Some are asking judges to stop the laws from being implemented, as the lawsuits work their way through the court system.

But each lawsuit is entering into a legal system that’s facing serious delays, after months of slow-moving trials caused by coronavirus closures.

“Judges are so backed up, I can only imagine how long its going to take to pull out of this,” said Michael Pike, an attorney in West Palm Beach and managing partner of the firm Pike & Lustig. “It’s going to take months and years.”

Each lawsuit is defended by the Florida Attorney General’s Office. The AG’s Office tells CBS12 News individual lawsuits typically do not have an extra cost to taxpayers unless agencies hire outside law firms to help in their defense.

The AG’s Office hasn’t hired outside firms in these particular cases.

However, the AG’s Office says their staff and other resources are used in these cases, both of which are funded through the office’s roughly $200 million annual budget. The AG’s budget is funded largely through tax dollars.