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Florida Democratic Party News Clips — March 20

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We know you've been waiting: 4 embattled Republicans advance in Week 2 of the FDP's "GOP Baggage Bracket." Don't worry if your bracket is busted, even these winners are losers. Check the bracket to see if your picks advanced, and make your week 2 selections.

New round of maps fracture Republicans, sets up an "Intraparty Battle"

New maps set up "intraparty battle"  [News Service of Florida] "A pair of Republican senators filed alternative redistricting plans Monday to the one sponsored by Senate Reapportionment Chairman Don Gaetz, setting up a potential intraparty battle over the future of the chamber."

Latvala proposes new map, strengthens Republican majority; Diaz de la Portilla weighs in [Times/Herald] "The Florida Senate's Redistricting Committee will meet on Tuesday and discuss at least three competing proposals by Senate Republicans to fix the map rejected by the Florida Supreme Court."

FDP Chair Smith on redistricting [Fox Tampa Bay]"[It] wont matter unless we ultimately send a map out of the Senate that makes the kind of metric and compactness improvements that the court decision required"

Florida Senate reworks its redistricting map [Tampa 10] "Democrats contend the new map does not do much to fix the problems. Florida Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith says the redrawn map does not follow the Supreme Court's directions."

RUBIO OFF TRACK — AGAIN Rubio's Tea Party extremism damages infrastructure and costs jobs [Miami Herald editorial] "Every Democrat who voted, including Florida Sen. Bill Nelson, voted in favor. Republicans who voted split evenly, 22-22, with Sen. Marco Rubio of Miami voting against — a disappointment. At least the Senate majority seems to have gotten the message that the American people don’t want a dysfunctional Congress."

MEANWHILESenator Bill Nelson cracks down on tax return scammers who are stealing millions, hearings being held today [CBS]

DCCC  launches "Medicare Madness," targets 4 vulnerable FL Republicans with robos [DCCC] Florida targets are: Steve Southerland (FL-02), Allen West (FL-18), Vern Buchanan (FL-16), Dan Webster (FL-10)

MORE ON THE CONGRESSIONAL FRONT: STEARNS AND RIVERA, 2 VIDEOS YOU NEED TO WATCH

VIDEO: David Rivera tangles with Univision over corruption [Univision] "Rivera is the subject of several criminal investigations at the state and federal level into alleged improper personal financial activity and irregularities in his campaign finances. The investigations have hampered the freshman lawmaker from making a political impact in Washington and have harmed his efforts to raise money for his reelection."

VIDEO: James Jett on camera interview continues Stearns bribery scandal [ActionNewsJax] "Jett says the deal being offered on Stearns' behalf is documented in phone conversations taped by the FBI. 'I would challenge Cliff Stearns to do what is right, do exactly what I did and go to the FBI Jacksonville office turn in an affidavit of what he believes is true and lets have them sort through it,' says Jett.

Stearns, Rubio and GOP playing politics with women's health [PNJ guest column] "There is a national war on women’s health, and it’s being fought in states, cities and towns across the country — including Florida."

"Sell 'em. Drill 'em. Frack 'em" -- Stearns Slammed [Miami Herald column] "Selling off our national parks to private developers…. well, you got to give it to Cliff Stearns. That’s just good modern Republican business sense. Sell ’em. Drill ’em. Frack ’em. Turn the Grand Tetons into a ski resort. Hang a zip line over the Grand Canyon. Convert Yosemite into a corporate retreat. Strip mine the Smokies. Erect drill rigs in the Everglades. But comparing a sell-off of so much scrubby parkland to getting rid of the family Caddy — that’s near about blaspheme where I’m from."

OBAMA CAMPAIGN STAYS ON OFFENSE

Healthcare reform making a difference for women [Miami Herald Guest Column by HHS Sec. Sebelius] "This Tuesday, I am meeting with women at the Jessie Trice Center for Community Health in Miami to mark the two-year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act. Since the healthcare law took effect, people across the country have started to see its benefits in their own lives. And that’s especially true for women and their families."

Joe Biden Campaign Tour Heading to Florida Senior Centers [Sunshine State News] "Vice President Joe Biden will visit senior centers in Florida next week, with a campaign focused on the White House’s position on Medicare and the soon-to-be-released Republican budget plan, CNN reported Monday."

Obama campaign office opens in Daytona Beach [Daytona Times] "Judging from the turnout for the opening of the Obama for America (OFA) office in Daytona Beach last Saturday, President Barack Obama is off to a good start"

OTHER NEWS WE THOUGHT YOU SHOULD KNOW

King Scott and his legislative minions [Tampa Bay Times Column] "Why waste time with antiquated concepts like a legislature, since the House and Senate agreed to anoint Gov. Rick Scott as the High Regent Plenipotentiary and All-Around Big Shot of Florida?"

Parents flex muscles — and Twitter fingers — in Tallahassee, and they win [Times/Herald] "With the clock about to run out, the parents overcame some of the most entrenched powers in Tallahassee and won just enough votes to kill one of Bush's priority proposals."

Sadness, resentment at closing of Hillsborough prison [Tampa Bay Times Column] "The only Florida prison with a faith- and character-based curriculum exclusively for female inmates is closing permanently. Inmates are being shipped 100 miles north to Lowell, a prison in Ocala, and correctional officers have been given jobs at various prisons, some as much as 80 miles away…that's a hardship for low-paid prison workers, who just got a chilling reminder of the dangerous nature of their work: An officer was killed on duty at a prison in Lake City Sunday."