Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum Speaks at 20th Anniversary of Florida Journal of Law and Public Policy
Bill McCollum Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum (JD 68) discussed the role of the Office of Attorney General of Florida at the University of Florida Journal of Law and Public Policy’s20th Anniversary Celebration on March 28.
McCollum said he truly enjoyed his days as a U.S. congressman because of the new challenges he faced every day, but as the chief legal officer of the state, McCollum said his role is very different but still exciting. “You are in the executive branch, you have to make tough policy decisions, and you are able to really get things done. The pay isn’t very good, but you are doing good every day,” McCollum said.
The “Double-Gator” credited his passion for public policy for beginning as a UF Law student. McCollum’s lecture was centered on the discussion of important policy issues, including the right of free speech and consumer protection.
He spoke of the importance of the right to free speech around the world. At the heart of public policy is free speech, McCollum said. “It’s just not right to deny free speech, that is so fundamental to us.” He expressed that the Office of Attorney General of Florida has a lot of important public policy issues, but “there is nothing more important than free speech.”
The attorney general shared with UF Law students, faculty and staff Florida’s most important consumer affair case since the tobacco settlement. The case involved AT&T Inc. and free ring tones offered by third-party content providers. The dilemma was that the free ring tones were actually not free, and the third-party provider didn’t adequately inform consumers of the charge.
As a result, the company violated the law against unfair and deceptive trade practices. AT&T Inc. evaluated the issue that affected many consumers and guaranteed that it would police the Internet for all third-party content for cell phones, make sure the advertising is clear in the future and provide a refund for Florida residents who claim that they were mischarged.
While speaking to the future lawyers in the room, McCollum said, “you are the protectors of these freedoms, but there’s balance. The constitution and the scales of justice are one in the same. Your job and my job is to do our very best to get it right.”