Florida Five: ‘Stand Your Ground’ tweaks, Common Core opponents prepare for state-wide event

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

Senate panel backs bipartisan tweak to ‘Stand Your Ground’: A bipartisan bill that would tweak the controversial “stand your ground” self-defense law sailed through the Senate Criminal Justice Committee on Monday, passing unanimously with the backing of both the National Rifle Association and Democratic Congresswoman Corrine Brown. The measure (SB 130) by Sen. David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs, would make several changes recommended in 2012 by Gov. Rick Scott’s Task Force on Citizen Safety and Protection, which Scott appointed amid a national uproar that followed the shooting death of teen Trayvon Martin. Read more. 

CD 19 candidates’ animosity grows fiercer: The Republican primary battle in the special election to replace former U.S. Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla., grew increasingly hostile on Monday as the three major candidates exchanged attacks. Florida Senate Majority Leader Lizbeth Benacquisto, R-Fort Myers, businessman Curt Clawson and former state Rep. Paige Kreegel will meet in the April 22 primary to replace Trey Radel, who resigned in January after pleading guilty to cocaine possession. On Sunday, Clawson’s team pointed to a phone call from Kreegel to their candidate, insisting the former state representative was making threats to ramp up more attacks from Values are Vital, a super-PAC backing Kreegel. That PAC is running attack ads against Clawson and the Clawson camp insists there are “questions about how involved Kreegel is in the operations of the Values are Vital super-PAC.”Read more. 

New RPOF ad emphasizes Charlie Crist’s enthusiasm for Obamacare: The Republican Party of Florida released a new ad emphasizing Charlie Crist’s support of the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare.Greg Blair, a spokesman for Rick Scott’s campaign commented on the significance of the ad, according to SSN: “Charlie Crist is the only candidate in America who is giving Obamacare the full embrace.” “Obamacare has already cancelled health insurance for hundreds of thousands of Floridians and raided Medicare at the expense of 1.3 million Florida seniors. Now the president has finally admitted that many Americans will lose their doctors as a result. It’s appropriate that this ad is the first of its kind because there’s no bigger cheerleader for Obamacare than Charlie Crist.” Read more.

Florida unemployment rate continues to drop to 6.1%: Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s frequent raids to lure businesses from other states and even countries are paying off. He announced Monday that over a half-million jobs have been created in the last three years, as the unemployment continues to drop. Scott said in Monday’s press release that Florida’s unemployment rate for January, 2014 was the state’s lowest since June, 2008 — 6.1 percent, 0.5 percent below the official national rate. Statewide unemployment has held below the national rate since August, 2013, and since December, 2010, Florida has created 503,500 private sector jobs. Read more. 

Common Core opponents prepare for state-wide event:  Groups all over Florida who oppose federal Common Core education standards will converge on Orlando Saturday, March 22, to listen to featured speakers and receive grassroots training. The event is free of charge to the public. Featured speakers include David Barton from WallBuilders. Tim Wildmon from the American Family Association, Randy Osborne of Florida Eagle Forum, Laura Caruso of the Florida Family Policy Council and Stephen Guschov from the Liberty Council. In addition a number of state lawmakers will be on hand to speak and answer questions. Read more.

BONUS: Obama calls Florida strip club owner with White House invitation, Medal of Honor news

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