Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Negron Says Senate Will Have "Zero Tolerance" for Sex Harassment, Misconduct

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Negron Says Senate Will Have "Zero Tolerance" for Sex Harassment, Misconduct

Article excerpt

Byline: Jim Turner News Service of Florida

Senate President Joe Negron reiterated his chamber will have "zero tolerance" for sexual harassment or misconduct against employees and visitors, as he gave an opening address Tuesday for the 2018 legislative session.

Negron also talked of the need to address impacts from Hurricane Irma and to further build up the state university system.

He said the Senate will work with Gov. Rick Scott on his request for more pay raises for lawenforcement officers and with House Speaker Richard Corcoran, RLand O' Lakes, on expanding school choice.

"One thing I know is, it doesn't matter at all to the Floridians we represent where these ideas originate," Negron said. "They're worried about taking care of their families. Taking their students to ballet practice, to Little League practice. ... Families are busy trying to survive and prosper and they don't care about this homeandaway football game mentality that some people have. I am happy to do school choice. I am happy to help our medical profession. I'm happy to protect consumers, patients, to improve our colleges. Improve our K12 system."

Negron's opened his address by acknowledging the national topic of sexual harassment, which has hit home in the Senate.

Clearwater Republican Jack Latvala resigned following the release last month of a report by Special Master Ronald Swanson, a former judge. Swanson was hired after a Senate staff member alleged sexual harassment by Latvala. The report concluded that Latvala broke rules about sexual harassment, and it recommended a criminal probe into other allegations that the longtime lawmaker had promised legislative favors for sex.

"State government should lead by example in instituting policies that ensures employees feel safe when they come to work and comfortable to confidentially report inappropriate behavior by any person," Negron said.

Negron did not address a disclosure - just moments before the session began - of an affair between Senate Minority Leader Oscar Braynon, DMiami Gardens, and Sen. Anitere Flores, RMiami.

"We have sought the forgiveness of our families, and also seek the forgiveness of our constituents and God," the lawmakers said in a joint statement. …

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