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Florida’s “Viewpoint Diversity” Law: Recording Classes

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In the face of many real problems, the Republican legislature of my adopted state of Florida has been busy passing laws to address fictional problems and undermining democracy. HB 233, the “Viewpoint Diversity” bill, was recently signed by Governor DeSantis. As noted in an earlier essay, when the Republicans were asked for examples of the problems the bill was supposed to address, they could only refer vaguely to some parents being worried about things that might happen because the Republicans had been scaring them about things that have not happened. This is, of course, the best possible justification for expanding the coercive power of the state. I am a member of the United Faculty of Florida, a union for faculty. As would be expected, Florida Republicans do not like this union anymore than they like other unions: their ideal seems to be that employees should face off against institutions and businesses as isolated individuals. The obvious problem for the employee is that engaging with an employer as an individual is rather like a single person trying to play football against a full team: they are going to get crushed. I do, of course, admit the obvious: unions can have problems. But pointing to things unions have done wrong no more proves that unions are inherently bad than pointing to things employers have done wrong proves that employers are inherently bad. As would be expected, the UFF sent an email to its members informing us of the law and making recommendations on how to teach in the climate created by it. One provision of the law is that students can record lectures without notice and without consent; although there are some limits on how these recordings can be used. As is so often the case with Republican laws, this seems to have already been allowed by existing law. In Florida, it is a crime to record a person without their consent. The exception is for in-person communication when all the parties do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy. An. . .

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News source: A Philosopher's Blog

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