Florida Five: New ‘moral movement’ wants to shape agenda, Flood-insurance relief bill passed

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Five of today’s top Florida political stories at your fingertips:

Senate makes quick work of protections against sex offenders: The Florida Senate made safeguarding Florida’s most vulnerable its first order of business on opening day, voting unanimously to pass four major sexual predator bills. The bicameral, bipartisan effort to strengthen protections against sexual offenders is a component of the joint 5-point Work Plan Florida 2014 agenda announced in January by Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, and House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel. Read more.

rickscott0305Scott opens 2014 session with proof is in the pudding speech: For Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford and Senate President Don Gaetz, Tuesday’s opening of the 2014 session marked the beginning of the end of their tenures leading Florida’s Legislature. But for Gov. Rick Scott, it was a day for touting the accomplishments of his first term in office – and building on his campaign for a second. Before a joint session of the Legislature, Scott congratulated the lawmakers for the progress that’s been made during his administration and drew stark contrasts between the Florida he governs today and the one left him by former Gov. Charlie Crist – currently the front-running Democrat to challenge Scott for re-election in the fall. Read more.

NAACP, big labor unite to push ‘moral’ legislative agenda in Florida: A new moral movement wants to influence state government, and it’s not the religious right. Demanding Medicaid expansion, voting rights, repeal of the “stand your ground” self-defense law — as well as favorable economic policies — a coalition of activist groups and organized labor unions rallied Monday at the Florida Capitol, one day ahead of the 2014 legislative session. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People hosted the event, which featured several civil rights leaders and Democratic lawmakers. Named “Moral Monday,” the 105-year-old NAACP has launched a Florida social justice campaign that seemingly doubled as an ambitious legislative agenda. The group has launched similar efforts in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. Read more.

Wife of Rep. Alan Grayson accuses him of assault; he says she attacked him: Already embroiled in a contentious divorce, U. S. Rep. Alan Grayson, R-Fla., was accused of assaulting his wife while attempting to visit their children Sunday. Few details are found in a highly redacted police report obtained by the Orlando Sentinel, but it is reported that one of his staffers, Juan Lopez, was with him. A temporary protective injunction was granted to Lolita Grayson, the Sentinel reported, saying that she suffered bruises on her leg and shoulder. Read more.Alan Grayson

Flood-insurance relief bill approved by US House: After months of tension and anxiety for Florida homeowners, the U.S. House of Representatives voted Tuesday to pass the flood-insurance relief bill, delaying what Governor Rick Scott has called “unfair hikes.” Scott, who fought hard to get attention for the bill issued a statement in a press release Tuesday:“The House’s action on this flood insurance fix tonight is an important win in our fight to undo the unfair flood insurance rate hikes that are hurting Florida families.“Our state is grateful for the work of US House Speaker John Boehner and the bi-partisan coalition for the passage of this legislation. Since 1978, Florida homeowners have paid $16 billion – nearly four times what we have received in claim payments. Read more.

BONUS: Obamacare Causing Florida Lifeguards to Cut Hours

For more Florida political news, visit BPR’s FLORIDA NEWS page

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Michele Kirk

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