First Amendment Rights Under Attack in Florida

Two Florida cities may have violated the First Amendment to the US Constitution with recent actions taken against local citizens. Those two cities are Venice and Winter Park, Florida.

The First Amendment reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

The City of Venice, Florida may have violated the First Amendment ” free exercise” clause when it fined Shane and Marlene Roessiger for holding a Bible study class in their home. Bethany Monk in her Citizen Link column, “Florida Town Threatens Family Over Bible Studies” reports:

The city of Venice, Fla., says a family that welomes six to 10 people in their home for a Friday night prayer meeting is breaking the law — and if the meetings continue, they could be forced to pay stiff penalties.

City officials say Shane and Marlene Roessiger’s group, called In Him Ministries, violates a city code prohibiting a “house of worship” from meeting on property that is less than 2.49 acres in size.

Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute (PJI), told CitizenLink the city is violating the family’s rights.

“This nation was built upon people being able to gather and pray and have Bible studies in their homes,” Dacus said. “Many churches are founded upon that as the beginning of their churches. For cities to be allowed to get away with this is totalitarian.”

Venice City Code Enforcement Officials are also threatening the family with fines of $250 per day for having a small sign in their yard that reads “Need Prayer?” followed by the family’s phone number. The code makes exceptions for political signs, however, which are present throughout the neighborhood.

Dacus said PJI will represent the Roessigers free of charge. “And we will do so until we [receive] final justice on their behalf,” he said.

The City of Winter Park, Florida may have violated the First Amendment “right to peaceably assemble” clause when the City Commission voted to shut down most if not all protests within fifty feet of any home and outlaw protests in any residential area. Freedom Outpost in its column City Prepares To Outlaw First Amendment reports:

Winter Park, Florida’s City Commission gave a preliminary approval to make an “emergency public safety ordinance” permanent. It would effectively shut down most if not all protests within fifty feet of any home and no ability to protest in a residential area. This is the First Amendment under attack.

The ban comes after pro-life protestors picketed the home of a notable resident on August 18. Planned Parenthood of Greater Orlando CEO Jenna Tosh said, “I literally had to push through these folks who were carrying massive protest signs and signs that said, ‘Jenna Tosh kills babies and hurts women.’”

That night the Commission passed and emergency 60-day ordinance that banned protesting in residential areas. Then on September 10 they voted to make that ordinance permanent.

Isaac Babcock from the Winter Park/Maitland Observer reports, “The 4-1 vote, which was opposed on the Commission by Mayor Ken Bradley, grabbed the interest of a local constitutional lawyer, who said the city went ‘way too far’ to stop anyone from protesting within 50 feet of a residential home in the city. Attorney and UCF political science instructor Derek Brett said the ordinance would ban protesting in ‘huge swaths of the city,’ referring to it as ‘unconstitutionally overboard’.”

City attorneys claim the ordinance will hold up in court. They cite Frisby v. Schultz that was decided by the Supreme Court in 1988. The Court ruled 6-3 that the First Amendment right to freedom of assembly and protest was not violated when the the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, suburb of Brookfield passed an ordinance banning protests outside the home of Dr. Victoria, who performed abortions.

Florida: Ranked In Bottom Ten For Lawsuit Climates

Governor Rick Scott has repeatedly stated that the axis of unemployment are taxation, regulation and litigation. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal reform released its State Lawsuit Climates list and Florida is one of the ten worst offenders. Florida ranks 41st (in the bottom ten) in the U.S. Chamber survey of state lawsuit climates.

According to the U.S. Chamber:

A state’s legal climate is an increasingly important factor in business decisions, according to a survey of senior attorneys and executives conducted for the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) by Harris Interactive.

Seventy percent of the 1,125 survey respondents say that a state’s lawsuit environment is likely to impact important business decisions at their companies, such as where to locate or expand their businesses. That is up 13% from just five years ago.

“As our economic downturn has continued, a growing percentage of business leaders have identified a state’s lawsuit climate as significant in determining their growth and expansion plans and the jobs that come along with them,” says Lisa A. Rickard, president of ILR. “That makes the consequences of this survey even more significant to the economic growth of individual states.”

The 2012 State Liability Systems Ranking Study found that 51% of senior attorneys view the fairness and reasonableness of state court liability systems in America as fair or poor. However, the percentage who said that liability systems were excellent or very good reached 49%, up from 44% in 2010. This continues a general upward trend in the overall average score—expressed numerically on a scale of 1 to 100—of state liability systems since the survey began in 2002. From 2002 to 2005, the overall score averaged 52, whereas from 2007 to 2012, the score averaged 59. The score increased 3 points from 2011 to 2012. (Scroll down to see a partial list of best and worst legal climates).

Survey respondents said that the most important issues that policymakers should focus on to improve the litigation environment in their states include limits on discovery, elimination of unnecessary lawsuits, fairness and impartiality, speeding up the trial process, and tort reform.

Methodology

Participants in the survey were made up of a national sample of 1,125 in-house general counsel, senior litigators or attorneys, and other senior executives who said that they are knowledgeable about litigation matters at companies with at least $100 million in annual revenues.

Respondents were asked to grade states (A–F) in each of the following areas: having and enforcing meaningful venue requirements, overall treatment of tort and contract litigation, treatment of class action suits and mass consolidation suits, damages, timeliness of summary judgment or dismissal, discovery, scientific and technical evidence; judges’ impartiality, judges’ competence, and juries’ fairness. They were also asked to give the state an overall grade for creating a fair and reasonable litigation environment. These elements were then combined to create an overall ranking of state liability systems.

Click here to check out the interactive map and download the report.

Top 5 State Legal Climates:

1) Delaware
2) Nebraska
3) Wyoming
4) Minnesota
5) Kansas

Bottom 5 State Legal Climates:

41) Florida

46) Illinois
47) California
48) Mississippi
49) Louisiana
50) West Virginia

Five Worst Local Jurisdictions

46) Los Angeles
47) Chicago/Cook County
48) California (unspecified)
49) San Francisco
50) Philadelphia

Throwing Money At Education Isn’t Working

A new study titled Throwing Money At Education Isn’t Working by State Budget Solutions found that, “Higher levels of funding do not ensure higher graduation rates, nor does it directly correlate to higher test scores on the ACT.” Florida’s numbers show that spending more on education has not moved the needle on student ACT scores or reduced the state’s drop out rate.

State Budget Solutions examined national trends in education from 2009-2011, including a state-by-state analysis of education spending as a percentage of total state spending, and a comparison of average graduation rates and average ACT scores per state. The study shows that states that spend the most do not have the highest average ACT test scores, nor do they have the highest average graduation rates.

Florida is no exception to this rule. State Budget Solutions reports, “None of the states spending the least on education (as a percentage) had the lowest average graduation rates. The same is true for ACT scores. An outlier to this general trend was Florida. In 2009, Florida spent less on education than 46 other states. In fact, Florida spent five percentage points less than the national average on education. Florida also underperformed in ACT scores, ranking third for the states with the lowest average ACT scores, but did not similarly underperform based on average graduation rates.”

Here are the Florida specific numbers provided in the study:

Percent of Florida’s Total Spending on Education:

2009 – 25%
2010 – 24.8% (NOTE: In 2010 Florida received an additional $700 million in federal RTTT funding)
2011 – 25.2%
2012 – 25.6%

Average ACT Composite Score for Florida:

2008-09 – 19.5
2009-10 – 19.5
2010-11 – 19.6

Florida Education Spending & Student Performance Data:

2009-10 Per Pupil Funding $400
2009 Drop Out Rate/NCES Drop Out Rate 76.3%/63.6%
2010 Drop Out Rate/NCES Drop Out Rate 79.0%/65.0%
2011 Drop Out Rate/NCES Drop Out Rate 80.1%/66.9%

NCES: National Center for Education Statistics

According to the study, “Each year, the United State spends billions of dollars on education. In 2010, total annual spending on education exceeded $809 billion dollars. Although it is unclear whether that figure is adjusted for inflation, that amount is higher than any other industrialized nation, and more than the spending of France, Germany, Japan, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia combined. From 1970 to 2012, total average per pupil expenditures in the U.S. has more than doubled.”

“Despite higher levels of funding, student test scores are substantially lower in the United States than in many other nations. American students scored an average of 474 on a 600-point scale, performing only slightly better in science, with an average score of 489. By comparison, Canadian students scored an average of 527 and 534 on the same tests, and Finnish students scored 548 and 563, respectively,” notes the State Budget Committee study.

A conclusion of the study is, “As a result of centralization, states have less authority to develop state-specific metrics to accurately measure education initiatives. Localized control results in more narrowly tailored metrics and a better understanding of failure and success based on those metrics. Oversight at a local level is more practical and more effective than federal oversight.”

RELATED VIDEO: Teachers union speaks out against new film ‘Won’t Back Down

Rep. West Receives Guardian of Small Business Award

Congressman Allen West (R-FL) received the National Federation of Independent Business Guardian of Small Business Award Thursday.

The award is presented to members of Congress who NFIB considers “champions” of small business owners. West received a perfect score of ‘100’ for his votes on 13 key NFIB supported pieces of legislation concerning issues from healthcare, energy and Federal Government regulations.

Rep. West received a perfect score from the National Federation of Independent Businesses as did sixteen other members of the Florida delegation. Republican Senate Candidate Connie Mack received a 100 percent, with Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz garnering a zero. Senator Bill Nelson received a score of 36 and Senator Marco Rubio a score of 100.

Here is the list of the Florida delegation by district and their NFIB scores:

1      Miller, J. 100
2      Southerland 100
3      Brown, C. 0
4      Crenshaw 100
5      Nugent 100
6      Stearns 100
7      Mica 100
8      Webster 100
9      Bilirakis 100
10    Young, C.W. “Bill” 100
11    Castor 8
12    Ross, D. 100
13    Buchanan 100
14    Mack 100
15    Posey 100
16    Rooney 100
17    Wilson, F. 0
18    Ros-Lehtinen 9
19    Deutch 0
20    Wasserman Schultz 0
21    Diaz-Balart 92
22    West, A. 100
23    Hastings, A. 8
24    Adams 100
25    Rivera 100

For a complete look at how each Member of the 112th Congress voted, click here

“Our small businesses are at the heart of keeping this economy going and I am proud to receive this award,” West said. “As I travel Dixie Highway in Palm Beach County and visit small businesses in South Florida, I see firsthand the importance of expanding opportunities and reducing burdensome regulations on our independent employers. Our small businesses represent the best of the American spirit and I will continue to be their voice on Capitol Hill.”

NFIB President and CEO Dan Danner praised West for his commitment to American business owners.

“In the 112th Congress, Representative West proved he is willing to stand up and do big things for small business,” Danner said. “Guardian-award winners are genuine small business champions, consistently voting to promote and protect the right of small business owners to own, operate and grow their businesses.”

Congressman Allen West is a member of the House Committee on Small Business and is a member of the Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce and the Subcommittee on Investigations, Oversight and Regulations.

The Guardian of Small Business Award is presented to lawmakers who vote with small businesses 70 percent or more of the time and demonstrate a commitment to protecting free enterprise.

National Federation of Independent Business is the nation’s leading small business association. Founded in 1943 as a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, NFIB gives small and independent business owners a voice in shaping the public policy issues that affect their business. NFIB has 350,000 members and its mission is to promote and protect the right of our members to own, operate and grow their businesses.

Florida Implements Tough Anti-Terrorism Funding Bill

Flying below the media radar screen was an event on July 11, 2012 at which Governor Rick Scott signed legislation to keep state-chartered financial institutions from being pipelines for money supporting terrorism.

Governor Scott joined leaders of Florida’s Jewish community in standing against Iran’s development of weapons of mass destruction. Governor Rick Scott joined leaders of Florida’s Jewish community at the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County to ceremonially sign Senate Bill 792, Financial Institutions. The legislation gives the Office of Financial Regulation (OFR) the authority to require Florida’s state-chartered financial institutions to report information on any accounts that have connections with a foreign financial institution knowingly supporting international terrorism.

“Florida and Israel have strong cultural and economic ties, and as the only stable democracy in the Middle East, Florida must stand with Israel and against her enemies,” Governor Scott said. “One of Israel’s greatest threats is Iran and its leader’s insistence on developing nuclear capabilities and weapons of mass destruction. “We have a responsibility to stand for freedom and democracy and against terrorism.”

SB 792 creates new reporting requirements. OFR will be notified by Florida financial institutions whether any correspondent accounts or payable-through accounts with a foreign financial institution are knowingly:

· Facilitating the efforts of the Iranian government to develop weapons of mass destruction.

· Providing support to a foreign terrorist organization.

· Facilitating the activities of a person who is subject to financial sanctions by the United Nations Security Council’s Iranian sanction resolutions.

· Engaging in related money laundering activity.

· Facilitating efforts by Iranian financial institutions to carry out prohibited activities.

· Facilitating a significant transaction or providing significant financial services to an entity whose property interests are blocked pursuant to federal law associated with Iran’s proliferation of weapons of mass destruction or support for international terrorism.

To implement this legislation, OFR will submit an annual report to the Governor and the Legislature. Any state-chartered bank or credit union that does not provide information may face a penalty of $100,000. OFR will present information about the reporting process to the Governor and Cabinet at an upcoming meeting. Governor Scott thanked Senator Don Gaetz for sponsoring SB 792.

PODCAST: How Government Is Killing Businesses In FL

Allen Fugler, Executive Vice President Florida Pest Management Association in Orlando, FL and Tim Southerland from Southern Wood Producers Association and the American Loggers Council – Florida in Panama City, FL join Watchdog Wire Radio. Mr. Fugler and Mr. Southerland explain how government at every level is destroying small businesses in Florida and across America. Today it appears the business of government is to destroy small businesses according to Mr. Fugler and Mr. Southerland. Over regulation is keeping Florida small businesses from expanding and growing.

Listen to the podcast of this show and learn how government at every level is putting small businesses out of business from these two industry experts.

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST INTERVIEW BY CLICKING HERE

The next four years could bring a tidal wave of more than 4,100 regulations for the American economy. Regulations in the pipeline are estimated to cost the economy more than half a trillion dollars. To view a sampling of regulations, that will cost the economy $515 billion, click here.

Small Businesses for Sensible Regulations launched a nine-state campaign to raise awareness on the several thousand regulations that could go into effect if President Barack Obama is reelected. To learn more about the Small Businesses for Sensible Regulation coalition go to – http://stopthetidalwave.org.

The Mother of All Hoaxes

There was a brief flurry of stories in the media at the beginning of what has become a historic summer of hot weather across the U.S. that global warming was to blame. They faded swiftly because the public has concluded that global warming is the mother of all hoaxes, because we are in the midst of a failing economy and the political campaigns that will decide if the nation literally lives or dies.

This has not stopped the Public Broadcast System’s News Hour from airing a new series “on how climate change in the Pacific Northwest is affecting the region’s Native American Indian tribes—flooding their reservations and threatening the region’s salmon fisheries.” Climate change is shorthand for global warming.

While the nation’s media continues to propagate the hoax, what hope is there for the TRUTH?

Significantly “the NewsHour’s year-long Coping with Climate Change series is funded by a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation.” The nation’s leading foundations have been funding the global warming hoax for decades and continue to do so.

So one more article about the deception and duplicity of global warming may seem superfluous and it would be if the U.S. Air Force wasn’t spending $59 per gallon of “green biofuel” and the U.S. Navy wasn’t doing the same for its Great Green Fleet. The justification for this is the utterly false assertion that “alternatives” are needed in the event we can’t produce or import petroleum.

The U.S. is floating on an ocean of oil, but for now it can only be extracted from lands owned privately because the Obama administration has done everything in its power to restrict access to it on federally owned lands and, of course, the billions of barrels locked up off-shore.

In exactly the same way that the Obama administration has presided over the loss of billions in subsidies and loan guarantees for the solar panel companies or the ridiculous costs of wind power industry compared to a single coal-burning plant, at the heart of it all has been the claim the global warming is caused by “greenhouse gas” emissions, carbon dioxide, that imperil the Earth.

Recently, my friend Joseph L. Bast, the president of The Heartland Institute, wrote an article, “IPCC Admits Its Past Reports Were Junk”, posted on AmericanThinker.com.

It struck me that very few people even know that IPCC is the acronym for the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Few people know that the entire global warming hoax was generated by the IPCC, let alone know what it is.

Most people associate global warming with Al Gore who has been among its most prominent advocates, warning that “the Earth has a fever” and that we were doomed if we didn’t stop generating carbon dioxide. Gore and his collaborators wanted to sell “carbon credits” in exchanges around the world and for a while he greatly enriched himself.

In Australia, the government has imposed a tax on carbon dioxide which it likely to destroy its manufacturing base along with the extraction of coal and other minerals.

Here in the U.S. the Environmental Protection Agency continues to assert that carbon dioxide must be regulated as a “pollutant” under the Clean Air Act and, if successful, will likewise destroy what is left of our manufacturing base and all other industries that generate or use energy to function.

And the man in the street remains completely clueless about the impending ruin of the nation based on the reports of the IPCC which the Inter-Academy Council (IAC), a group created by the world’s science academies to provide advice to international bodies, has long since concluded were utterly false and baseless.

On June 27, the IPCC issued a statement saying it had completed the process of implementation of the recommendations that an August 2010 IAC analysis had made after examining who was contributing to their reports, who was reviewing their content (the same people!), and the astonishing, utterly false, claim of “a consensus” that global warming was happening.

As Bast points out, “It means that all of the ‘endorsements’ of the climate consensus made by the world’s national academies of science—which invariably refer to the reports of the IPCC as their scientific basis—were based on false or unreliable data and therefore should be disregarded or revised.”

“It means that the EPA’s ‘endangerment finding’—with its claim that carbon dioxide is a pollutant and threat to human health—was wrong and should be overturned.”

It is a terrible thing to live in a nation governed by falsehoods, spending the public wealth on useless technologies, living under the tyranny of government departments and agencies pursuing those lies for their own agendas and political masters.

Unless the harm perpetrated in the name of global warming is reversed, we shall all remain the victims of the United Nations IPCC, the EPA, and all other entities seeking to control every aspect of our lives.

The poles are not melting, the glaciers are growing, the oceans rise mere millimeters over centuries, and right now planet Earth is cooling.

© Alan Caruba, 2012

English WINS in Florida Court

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld an earlier ruling from the U.S. District Court that product manufacturers and distributors are not obligated to provide warnings in languages other than English. The ruling applies to both assembly instructions and manuals for consumer products. This is the second victory for English in the courts in the past few months. The Arizona Supreme Court recently defended English proficiency as a requirement to run for public office.

This new ruling stems from a 2009 incident when a Florida resident who understands only Spanish bought two propane heaters from Home Depot in Miami. The woman mistakenly used the heaters indoors, even though they were outdoor-only heaters, and the resulting fire caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage to her home.

The woman sued both the manufacturers of the heaters as well as Home Depot claiming they were liable since the safety and assembly instructions on the heaters were provided not in Spanish, but only in English.

Subsequently in 2010, the U.S. District Court ruled that the woman exhibited “willful ignorance” in assembling the products without understanding the instructions and neglecting to seek additional assistance, and just last week, the Eleventh Circuit concurred that the English-only safety warnings were adequate and noted that even though the woman did not speak English, the pictures on the instructions were perfectly clear.

The English Language Unity (ELU) act has been introduced in Congress – S. 503 and H.R. 997. The English language advocacy group Pro-English supports the ELU act.

Over 140 New Florida Laws Took Effect on July 1, 2012

As of July 1, 2012 over 140 new Florida laws took effect. To view a complete list of the new laws click here.

The following are some of the laws passed during the 2012 session and now in effect.

HB 7127 Relating to School Improvement and Education Accountability – Education Committee

School Improvement and Education Accountability: Revises provisions relating to implementation of public school improvement, including use of school improvement plans, corrective actions, intervention & support strategies, & school turnaround options; revises provisions relating to school grading system. Effective Date: July 1, 2012

HB 7087 Relating to Economic Development – Finance & Tax Committee

Economic Development: Provides exemption from intangible tax for lessees performing governmental, municipal, or public purpose or function; establishes funding source for H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute from portion of cigarette tax collections; establishes purposes for which funding to H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute may be used; revises excise tax rates levied upon each ton of phosphate rock severed; defines term “mature field recovery oil” & applies to such oil tiered severance tax rates applicable to tertiary oil; provides exemption from tax on sales, use, & other transactions for electricity used by packinghouses; expands exemptions from sales & use tax on labor, parts, & equipment used in repairs of certain aircraft; provides exemption from tax on sales, use, & other transactions for sale or lease of accessible taxicabs; revises eligibility criteria for tax credits under Urban High-Crime Area Job Tax Credit Program; increases amount of income that is exempt from franchise tax imposed on banks & savings associations, etc. Effective Date: July 1, 2012

HB 7059 Relating to Acceleration Options in Public Education – K-20 Innovation Subcommittee

Acceleration Options in Public Education; Provides for Academically Challenging Curriculum to Enhance Learning (ACCEL) options to provide eligible public school students educational options that provide academically challenging curriculum or accelerated instruction; requires school district to adopt policy for early graduation; provides for career-themed courses; revises provisions relating to articulated acceleration mechanisms & dual enrollment programs; provides requirements for development & contents of school district & Florida College System institution articulation agreement; requires comprehensive student progression plan to include information on accelerated educational options; provides reporting requirements for student funding; provides for calculation of additional FTE membership based on completion of career-themed courses & early graduation. Effective Date: July 1, 2012

HB 7003 Relating to Environmental Resource Permitting – Agriculture & Natural Resources Subcommittee

Environmental Resource Permitting; Requires DEP, in coordination with water management districts, to develop statewide resource permitting rules for activities relating to management & storage of surface waters; preserves exemption from causes of action under “Bert J. Harris, Jr., Private Property Rights Protection Act”; provides exemption from Administrative Procedure Act; requires counties, municipalities, & delegated local pollution control programs to amend ordinances & regulations; provides applicability, effect, & repeal of specified rules; provides presumption of compliance for certain stormwater management systems; provides exemptions for specified stormwater management systems & permitted activities. Effective Date: July 1, 2012

HB 5701 Relating to Taxation – Finance & Tax Committee

Taxation: Requires that deductions for cost of collecting & enforcing documentary stamp tax & for specified service charge be available for payment of certain obligations secured by such tax revenues with respect to bonds authorized before specified date; provides for collection of allowances of amount of tax due by persons who file returns only by electronic means & pay amount due on such returns only by electronic means; adopts 2012 version of Internal Revenue Code for purposes of ch. 220, F.S.; changes filing date for estimated tax under certain circumstances; requires DOR to provide adequate notice to affected taxpayers relating to earlier due dates for making estimated payment, etc. Effective Date: July 1, 2012

SCOTUS: Lying is now Legal

According to The Chicago Tribune, “The Supreme Court on Thursday struck down a federal law that makes it a crime to lie about receiving a military medal, ruling it violated constitutional free-speech rights. By a 6-3 vote, in a case about how far the government may go to prosecute false claims about military honors, the high court handed a setback to the Obama administration over the “Stolen Valor Act” that Congress adopted in 2006.”

Xavier Alvarez, a member of the California water board in Pomona, CA, introduced himself as a retired Marine and recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor at a meeting. Alvarez never received any military awards. He never served in the Marine Corps or in any branch of the military. The FBI after reviewing a recording of the water board meeting determined he violated the Stolen Valor Act. Alvarez was one of the first prosecuted under the “Stolen Valor” law.

The Supreme Court case is United States v. Xavier Alvarez, No. 11-210.

The ruling reads in part:

“JUSTICE KENNEDY, joined by THE CHIEF JUSTICE, JUSTICE GINSBURG, and JUSTICE  SOTOMAYOR,  concluded that the Act infringes upon speech protected by the First Amendment.

Content-based restrictions on speech have been permitted only for a few historic categories of speech, including incitement, obscenity, defamation, speech integral to criminal conduct, so-called ‘fighting words,’ child pornography, fraud, true threats, and speech presenting some grave and imminent threat the Government has the power to prevent. Absent from these few categories is any general exception for false statements.”

Veterans organizations supported the law. Free speech proponents and the ACLU fought the law. Lying about holding the Congressional Medal of Honor or any other military award is now legal.