Manatee, Hillsborough curfews face challenges

Tampa attorney Patrick Laduc is planning to file a lawsuit over Hillsborough County’s new curfew order.  

The order was approved 5 to 3 Monday by the county’s Emergency Policy Group and is in effect nightly from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. 

“Under the Sunshine Act, they have to have an opportunity for the public to comment. That wasn’t provided,” Laduc said. 

There is a catch, however. That public participation is exempted in the case of an emergency.  

“What’s the emergency nature?” Laduc continued. “If you voted on this two weeks ago and you’re brining this back two weeks later, it’s not an emergency.” 

Meanwhile in Manatee County, their curfew order -- from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. -- is also under attack, this time by the ACLU.  Commissioners went ahead and eased their restrictions after the group sent a letter, saying the curfew restricted too many rights and disproportionately impacted the community’s most vulnerable citizens.

Back in Hillsborough County, Laduc accuses local leaders of governing in a “haphazard manner”

“Every time the government plays that game with us, that it’s a matter of life and death, slowly but surely we lose civil liberties.”

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