Senate votes to protect flag-flying
TALLAHASSEE - February 28, 2002

Floridians' rights to fly the American flag would be increased under two bills the state Senate voted unanimously for Thursday.

One measure would let any homeowner display a portable American flag in a respectful manner - regardless of any restrictions to the contrary in the rules of a homeowners' association.

The legislation (CS-SB 148) went to the House, where a similar bill (HB 177) is awaiting a floor vote.

The bills are in reaction to the fight between a Jupiter man and his homeowners' association that generated consternation in the Capital after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

A Palm Beach County judge sided with the Indian Creek Phase III-B Homeowners Association last June, ruling that former Marine George Andres was violating its rule barring flagpoles. Under the association's rules, flags can be flown only from brackets attached to the side of a house.

The second bill (CS-SB 150) the Senate passed Thursday would make it unlawful to stop anyone from flying a flag unless the display threatened someone's health and safety.

Sen. Anna Cowin, the Leesburg Republican who sponsored the legislation, said it would help people who wanted to fly an American flag on a desk, a car or as a pin on their jacket lapel. 

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