Right-to-fly flag bill proceeds
Courtesy The Daily Commercial
TALLAHASSEE - January 29, 2002 
That Star-Spangled Banner will wave no matter what in the state of Florida, assuming no surprise opposition blocks the efforts of state Sen. Anna Cowin, R-Leesburg. 

Quickly pressing a flag protection law through the chambers of the Florida Legislature, Cowin is extremely optimistic that nobody will be allowed to stop the display of the American flag. 

‘Right now, you can burn a flag in this country,” Cowin said. “You should certainly be allowed to display one in your front yard.” 

The bill was initially filed shortly after the September 11 terrorist attacks. With patriotism surging and flags flown in large numbers, stories began to surface in Florida that some housing subdivisions had decided the flags were in violation of rules concerning the outward appearance of homes. One of these subdivisions was in Marion County, part of Cowin’s district. 

After some research, Cowin found that a prohibition of flag-flying reached beyond the front yards of senior communities. 

“People put them in their yards and home-owners associations said they couldn’t do that. People came to work with flag pins on their lapels and their businesses said they couldn’t do that. People put them on license plates or as bumper stickers on their car and businesses said they couldn’t,” Cowin said. 

Gov. Jeb Bush immediately made a call for a legislative protection for the flag, and in the state Senate, Cowin filed a bill the next day. 

“People shouldn’t be afraid to fly the flag just because it could offend somebody,” she said. “Especially right now, people want to show that they support the Unites States of America.” 

None of the housing subdivisions in Lake County instituted a ban in flag-flying, and most said they had no problem with Cowin’s proposed law. 

“I think it’s a shame the state legislature has to deal with this sort of activity,” said Dan Gorden, general manager of Hawthorne at Leesburg. “This is an emotional issue for a lot of people, especially the residents who have fought in one war or another and have seen people die defending the flag.” 

If the bill is signed into law, no prohibition may be placed on the flying of the flag, regardless of whether a contract is signed on the matter or not. The only exception is for instances when the flag provides a safety risk, such as when it blocks the back window of a car or limits visibility at a road intersection. 

The bill does not affect other sign prohibition which can be imposed in the private sector. 

Cowin’s bill passed through its final committee in the legislature Tuesday and will go to a vote on the state Senate floorat some future time. 

The state senator said the bill had faced little opposition so far, other than regulatory questions. Not a single vote has been cast against the proposed law so far. 

“I don’t really see anybody speaking out against this right now, when the right to fly a flag is so important,” she said.

Please read our other articles by clicking on headlines!
State lawmakers rally behind the flag
What is wrong in our Country? Story of the "Jupiter Flagman"
Finally Change of Politics? Politician's statements
Did The CAI Finally Cave In ? The Community Association Institute statements!
Fly It Proud - Editorial
Florida Bill Proposal, Comments and Dispatch
Flagpole lawsuit - THIS TIME IN VIRGINIA?
Hanging On Tight to Patriotism