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New law enhances state's power to uphold civil rights

By Associated Press
Published June 19, 2003

TALLAHASSEE - Gov. Jeb Bush signed a bill Wednesday that will empower the attorney general to file civil rights lawsuits against businesses that engage in a pattern of discrimination.

The state previously could file such suits only in cases of threats, intimidation or coercion, said Attorney General Charlie Crist.

Crist said the need for the bill (HB 143A), passed in the first special session, was demonstrated in three cases in the past four years: a Miami Beach restaurant, Thai Toni's, that added a gratuity to black customer's checks but not to others'; Perry Package and Lounge's practice of asking blacks to drink in a separate room; and an Adam's Mark hotel in Daytona Beach that made black guests wear wristbands and denied them the same access to facilities and services as white guests.

[Last modified June 19, 2003, 02:02:50]

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