[JURIST] Leading Friday's states brief, Florida Governor Jeb Bush Friday signed legislation overhauling Florida's state growth and development guidelines [press release] for the first time in twenty years. The legislation calls for $1.5 billion of state money to be spent on highways, water facilities and classrooms in the next year. Senate bills 360 [bill summary], 444 [bill summary], and 362 [bill summary] require adequate roads and schools to be in place or under construction within three years of the local government's approval, an adequate water supply to be available before residents can move into a new development and creates the Water Protection and Sustainability Program to clean up polluted waterways. The funding will also help pay for new classrooms under a constitutional amendment limiting the number of children in public school classrooms. Florida is projected to grow by 5 million residents in the next 17 years. AP has more.
In other state legal news ...
- The New Jersey Appellate Division of the Superior Court has ruled that libel suits over internet publications must be filed within one year of the report's publication. The ruling [PDF text] treats internet publications the same as publications in more traditional forms such as newspapers and books. In a suit by two volunteers at the Warren County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals against three investigators of the New Jersey Commission of Investigation [NJ official website], the volunteers' attorneys argued that the publication of the report at issue on the Internet was different than traditional publications because the report is essentially published daily on the commission's website. Judge James P. Petralla wrote, "We find no principled basis in a situation like the one before us for treating the Internet differently than other forms of mass media." NJ's Asbury Park Press has local coverage.
- The New Jersey Legislature [official website] has approved an identity theft bill. The Indentity Theft Prevention Act [PDF text] requires businesses to destroy unnecessary documents with personal information and inform customers when their data has been compromised. The Act also allows consumers to put a security freeze on their credit reports to prevent unauthorized access and allows consumers to file a police report when they believe that they have been a victim of identity theft. Acting Governor Richard J. Codey [official website] is expected to sign the legislation. New Jersey's Trenton Times has more.
- The Oregon Supreme Court [official website] has ruled that the state's law banning felons from possessing firearms does not violate the right to bear arms under the Oregon Constitution [text]. The Supreme Court's opinion [text] said that the legislature has the authority to designate certain groups as posing threats to public safety and to restrict that group's right to firearms. The defendants argued that the law was overbroad because it forbids all felons from possessing firearms. AP has more.