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Florida Democratic Party News Clips — March 21

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GOP SENATE "BOGGED DOWN," "SNAGGED" AND FRACTURING ON MAPS

Senators get snagged on thorny redistricting issues [Times/Herald] "The day began with the Senate redistricting chairman offering bagels and cream cheese to his colleagues, but the magnanimous gesture was short-lived as Republicans intensely feuded over how to draw maps for the next decade…After nine hours of grueling debate on Tuesday, the Republican-dominated Senate Reapportionment Committee could not agree on anything."

Senate bogs down over racial makeup of redistricting map  [Orlando Sentinel] “An attempt to adopt newly fashioned Senate district lines in response to a court order bogged down Tuesday as lawmakers clamored for political information on how the new lines would look and whether they provided enough protection for minorities."

Senate redistricting hearing exposes rivalries among Florida senators [Palm Beach Post] "A daylong hearing sparked tense exchanges between lawmakers Tuesday as a panel struggled with its latest and likely last attempt at drawing new boundaries for Florida's 40 Senate districts."

Senate panel delays redistricting vote [AP] "The Reapportionment Committee now is scheduled to vote Wednesday on a revised plan for the 40-district Senate after spending nearly eight hours discussing a proposal offered by its chairman and others that fell by the wayside…Florida Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith has said Gaetz' proposal is no better. "

Senate panel delays action on redistricting plans [Florida Current] "A Senate panel delayed action Tuesday on an attempt to reconcile its proposed redistricting plan with a state Supreme Court decision invalidating its first attempt."

SEN. NELSON TAKES ON ID THEFT

SHOT: Feds: Tax fraud an epidemic in Florida and spreading nationwide [McClatchy] "The IRS and federal investigators say they've redoubled their efforts to combat tax fraud from identity theft, a crime they call an “epidemic” in Florida that's spreading nationwide.

CHASER: Sen. Bill Nelson Proposes Bill to Speed Refunds to South Floridians hit by ID theft [Sun Sentinel] “A growing form of tax fraud by identity thieves has spread from South Florida and Tampa through much of the nation, prompting the IRS to review nearly 2 million tax returns this filing season to keep refunds out of the hands of criminals. One result: some legitimate taxpayers in South Florida are forced to wait as long as 18 months to get refunds many desperately need. The cost of tax fraud by identity theft could reach $10 billion, U.S.Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., estimated on Tuesday after chairing a Senate hearing on attempts to stop it.”

ON THE CONGRESSIONAL FRONT — VULNERABLE REPUBLICANS TARGETED, RIVERA CAUGHT IN A LIE, "WHAT IS WRONG WITH [FBI Investigated] STEARNS?"

Democrats target vulnerable Republicans with robo-calls [Orlando Sentinel] "The Florida Republicans targeted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee are U.S. Reps. Dan Webster, Steve Southerland, Vern Buchanan and Allen West. The calls start this week are part of a nationwide campaign against 41 Republicans."

David Rivera caught in a lie [CREW] "Remarkably, during the interview, Rep. Rivera also denied his mother, Daisy Magarino, was involved with Millennium Marketing, Inc., the company at the center of the investigations. Maybe he forgot corporation records are also public and his mother is listed as the company's vice president."

What is wrong with Cliff Stearns [Maddow Blog] "We learned last week that Rep. Cliff Stearns (R), at a town-hall meeting in his Florida district, questions the legitimacy of President Obama's birth certificate. Yesterday, he made matters much worse."

More bad ink for Stearns [Florida Times Union column] Stearns was already in the news after allegations surfaced that offers were made to buy out one of his Republican opponents in the upcoming primary. But Stearns topped that with what he told a town hall meeting in Belleview. He told the crowd that “we don’t need more national parks in this country, we need to actually sell off some of our national parks, and try to do what a normal family would do is — they wouldn’t ask Uncle Joe for a loan, they would sell their Cadillac, or they would take their kids out of private schools and put them into public schools to save money instead of asking for their credit card to increase their debt ceiling.” I don’t know what “normal family” world Stearns lives in where Cadillacs are parked in the garage and the kids are in private schools."

GOP Lawmaker Stokes ‘Birther’ Drama [ABC] "Rep. Cliff Stearns, a senior Republican investigating the White House’s Solyndra energy loan guarantee, told reporters today that he is still, despite all evidence to the contrary, not convinced that President Barack Obama’s birth certificate is valid."

This will definitely help Hasner win in a D district [Roll Call] "Conservative organization FreedomWorks PAC today released its 'first slate' of House endorsements…Hasner (Fla.-22): He is in an open-seat race that Leans Democratic."


OBAMA OFFICIAL TOUTS HEALTH CARE REFORM FOR WOMEN, BIDEN IN FLORIDA

Sebelius touts health care reform benefits for women during appearance in Miami [Florida Independent] "U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius stopped by a community health center in Miami today to tout the progress made by the health care reform law"

Federal official in South Florida to tout health care law's benefits to women [Palm Beach Post]
Obama’s health secretary touts benefits for women in reform law [Miami Herald]

Joe Biden back in Florida [Tampa Bay Times] "'In his speech, the Vice President will discuss the President’s commitment to preserving and protecting our sacred compact with America’s seniors – that if you work hard and play by the rules, you can retire with dignity and security,' the campaign says in a statement."


OTHER NEWS WE THOUGHT YOU SHOULD KNOW

DOJ: Florida Voting Restrictions May Discriminate Intentionally [TPM] "New Florida laws that place harsh restrictions on third-party voter registration groups and limit the early voting period may have been passed with a discriminatory intent, lawyers with the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division suggested in a court filing on Tuesday."

Veto these bills [Miami Herald Editorial] "Gov. Rick Scott might need more than one pen if he were to veto every bad bill the Legislature passed, many of which were approved in the closing days when lawmakers have neither the time nor the inclination to put up a fight."