Florida Lawmakers

GOP Senator Ingoglia Blasts 'Activist Judge' For His Latest Blockage of a DeSantis-Backed Law

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TALLAHASSEE, FL—A top Republican Senator swiped at "activist judge" Mark Walker for striking down Thursday part of an election law barring non-citizens from handling voter registration applications—this is just the latest Republican-pushed law voided by Walker.

U.S. Chief District Judge Mark Walker blocked the portion of last year's SB 7050 that bans non-citizens—even if they can legally work in the country—from collecting or handling voter registration applications, finding that it violated the 14th Amendment.

Another provision of the law making it a felony for voter-registration groups to keep voters' personal information is still under a preliminary injunction—doled out by Walker in July.

“The groups that file these lawsuits attempting to stop common-sense election reforms are nothing but partisan actors masquerading as nonpartisan nonprofits," Sen. Blaise Ingoglia, the former GOP Chairman, told The Floridian.

"This ruling is yet another in a long line of poor election law rulings by activist Judge Mark Walker that will be eventually overturned on appeal. He has a horrible track record of consistently getting it wrong," he concluded.

Ingoglia referenced groups like the NAACP and the League of Women Voters—two prominent activist organizations aimed at various means of ending discrimination and empowering voters, their websites say—who brought these laws to court.

He also pointed out that Walker has struck down or issued injunctions on four Republican-originated laws, including two portions of the "Stop WOKE Act",  the 2023 elections law, and the 2021 so-called "anti-riot" law.

In August 2022, Walker blocked a part of the "Stop WOKE Act" which bans teaching or business practices that argue that members of certain racial or ethnic groups are inherently racist or should feel guilty for past historical events. It also disavows the idea that someone can be privileged or oppressed simply based on their race or gender.

The State of Florida appealed the decision, but the U.S. Court of Appeals upheld Walker's ruling in March—it was unconstitutional.

Walker also blocked in November 2022 another portion of the "Stop WOKE Act"—nicknamed the "Don't Say Gay" bill by critics—calling it "positively dystopian" for limiting race, gender, and sexuality discussions in university classrooms.

A settlement was reached, clarifying the law's language but ultimately upholding it.

In September 2021, Walker blocked Florida's so-called "anti-riot" law, which strengthened penalties for crimes that occur during violent protests, and created new crimes including "mob intimidation", "inciting a riot", and "defacing, damaging, or destroying a monument".

An Atlanta-based appeals court heard the state's appeal arguments, but deferred the case until Florida's Supreme Court could decode the definition of "riot".

Liv Caputo

Livia Caputo is a senior at Florida State University, working on a major in Criminology, and a triple minor in Psychology, Communications, and German. She has been working on a journalism career for the past year, and hopes to become a successful reporter after graduation. Her work has been cited in Fox News, the New York Post, and the Daily Mail

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