Florida leg­is­la­tors to tackle ha­rass­ment and child mar­riage

South Florida Times - - FRONT PAGE -

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Florida leg­is­la­tors dur­ing the fourth week of their an­nual leg­isla­tive ses­sion are go­ing to con­front the sex scandals that have caused tur­moil in the state Capi­tol.

Jack Lat­vala, a top Repub­li­can state se­na­tor, re­signed ear­lier this month af­ter an in­ves­ti­ga­tion con­cluded there was ev­i­dence of sex­ual mis­con­duct. An­other state se­na­tor re­signed late last year af­ter ad­mit­ting an ex­tra­mar­i­tal af­fair with a lob­by­ist. A top of­fi­cial ap­pointed by Gov. Rick Scott re­signed af­ter a state se­na­tor ac­cused him of in­ap­pro­pri­ately touch­ing her.

The Se­nate has re­sponded by put­ting in place new train­ing re­quire­ments for all se­na­tors. But a Se­nate com­mit­tee will con­sider go­ing one step fur­ther. A Se­nate panel on Tues­day will con­sider a bill (SB 1628) that would pro­hibit leg­is­la­tors, pub­lic of­fi­cials and lob­by­ists from sex­ual ha­rass­ing any­one. It's be­ing spon­sored by South Florida Sen. Lau­ren Book and the mea­sure in­cludes penal­ties for those who vi­o­late the pro­posed law. The Se­nate is also ex­pected to vote on whether to ban child mar­riage in the Sun­shine State. In the last five years in Florida nearly 2,000 mi­nors were al­lowed to get mar­ried, in­clud­ing one per­son who was 13 years old at the time.

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF FLORIDA POL­I­TICS Jack Lat­vala, a for­mer state se­na­tor, re­signed amid al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual mis­con­duct.

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