01/12/17: Abortion Ruling, Tallahassee Sex Scandals and Trump's Alleged Vulgar Slur

Jan 12, 2018

A state judge says it’s unconstitutional to make Florida women wait to get an abortion while another sex scandal opens the state legislative session. Plus, the political world in Florida and nationwide is on fire over allegations President Donald Trump used an expletive term.

Abortion Ruling

A state judge in Tallahassee this week ruled that Florida’s 24 hour waiting period for abortions is unconstitutional. A Gainesville clinic challenged the law last year, and the Florida Supreme Court put a temporary stop to the waiting period while the legal challenge was being considered.

Judge Terry Lewis’ ruling makes the halt permanent.

The law was passed in 2015 and signed by Governor Rick Scott. It required women to have at least two medical appointments - one to seek the abortion, and the other to have the abortion. A 24-hour waiting period was required to give the patient time to be fully informed about the procedure. Exceptions could be made for medical emergencies and cases like rape and domestic violence.

Florida’s defense of the law was led by Attorney General Pam Bondi. It argued the importance of protecting unborn children rather than lessening obstacles for women seeking an abortion. But the judge ruled the state has no compelling interest for making women wait.

Carolina Bolado with the legal news service Law360 and Rachel, reporter with WGCU in Fort Myers joined us for a discussion.

Sex Scandals Overshadow Opening Of 2018’s Legislative Session

Lawmakers went back to work in Tallahassee Tuesday for Florida’s 60-day legislative session. But the ceremonial events marking the start the annual session were overshadowed by the capitol’s latest sex scandal.

While leaders gave speeches about tax cuts and zero tolerance for sexual harassment, just hours earlier two senators -- one Republican, one Democrat -- issued a joint statement admitting their extramarital affair.

Senate Minority Leader Oscar Braynon, a Miami Gardens Democrat, and Senate President Pro Tempore Anitere Flores, a Miami Republican, said their longtime friendship had become something much more and they asked for forgiveness. The statement was released after a website went up showing hidden camera video from the condo building where both live while they’re in Tallahassee. Neither lawmaker has resigned over the scandal.

This now makes four state senators who have been involved in sex scandals recently. Democrat Jeff Clemens quit after admitting to having an extramarital affair with a female lobbyist. Republican Jack Latvala resigned under pressure while under investigation for sexual harassment and misconduct -- charges he continues to deny.

Meanwhile, taxes, education spending and immigration are big issues for this year’s session.

Florida is both a Red State and Blue State. With that in mind, we kicked off a new segment on the show - Red State Blue State - as we welcomed perspectives from both sides of the spectrum.

Republican strategist Rick Wilson joined us from Tallahassee and in South Florida, Democratic strategist Fernand Amandi was our guest.

President Trump’s Alleged Comments On Immigration

The political world was on fire Friday and there was discussion and consternation in capitals around the world after multiple media outlets reported that President Trump used an expletive term during a White House meeting with Congressional leaders, to describe his thoughts about immigration from some African countries.  

The president has denied using the term.

Trump was unhappy about a bipartisan proposal that would bring more immigrants from Haiti and poor places in Africa - instead of countries like Norway.

As the president’s remarks drew swift condemnation around the world- here in Florida, lawmakers are considering a bill (HB 9) that would ban so-called sanctuary cities - and require state and local agencies to cooperate with federal immigration officers.

We continued our Red State/Blue State discussion with a closer look at HB 9 and the issue of sanctuary cities, as Amandi and Wilson gave us their thoughts.