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State Capital Briefs, Feb. 24

FL cap

On the eve of the 2014 legislative session, civil-rights and labor groups will hold an event dubbed “Moral Monday Florida” to call for Gov. Rick Scott and the Republican-controlled Legislature to address issues such as expanding Medicaid, ensuring voting rights and changing or repealing the “stand your ground” self-defense law. Adora Obi Nweze, president of the NAACP Florida State Conference, said Monday during a conference call with reporters that the effort will be similar to “Moral Monday” campaigns in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. Among the other groups involved in the effort are the SEIU labor union, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and Equality Florida. “We’re going to be joined together in speaking out on these issues,” Obi Nweze said. The kickoff event will take place outside the Capitol on March 3, the day before the annual 60-day legislative session starts. During the conference call, speakers pointed to issues such as the Legislature’s refusal last year to accept an estimated $51 billion from the federal government in coming years to expand Medicaid coverage. Obi Nweze said the groups hope that the “Moral Monday” effort will help educate voters, spur voter registration and get people to the polls in November.

A Senate Republican on Monday filed a proposal that could tighten requirements for injured employees in workers-compensation insurance cases. The bill (SB 1214), filed by Sen. Alan Hays, R-Umatilla, deals with issues such as the award of permanent total disability benefits and how preexisting conditions are factored into determining the causes of workplace injuries. Also, it would make changes in laws about drug testing after workers are injured. Under part of a law dealing with employers who take part in the drug-free workplace program, the bill says workers would be required to submit to drug testing after receiving initial treatment for injuries and, if they refused, “it shall be presumed, in the absence of clear and convincing evidence to the contrary, that the injury was occasioned primarily by the influence of drugs.”

The Senate Criminal Justice Committee next week will take up a proposal (SPB 7048) that would change the name of the Florida Parole Commission. The new moniker? The Florida Commission on Offender Review. The proposed bill totals 59 pages, as it would change the commission’s name in various laws. But the bill also makes clear the parole commission’s duties wouldn’t change. “The Legislature finds and recognizes the importance

Source: The News Service of Florida

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