Lori Berman

Gibson, Berman demand action on gun removal bill

gun-pistolSome Florida Democrats are demanding that House Speaker Richard Corcoran and Senate President Joe Negron allow the vetting of legislation that wold allow family members or law enforcement officers to obtain court orders to temporarily remove guns from the homes of individuals who have demonstrated they are a danger to themselves or could be violent.

The call for the bills come in the aftermath of Wednesday’s mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, where 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz gunned down 17 individuals, including 14 teenagers.

Cruz had a highly troubled past prior to unleashing a hail of bullets from a semi-automatic assault weapon after being dropped off at the high school, from which he was expelled, by an Uber driver on Valentine’s Day.

Sen. Audrey Gibson and Rep. Lori Berman are asking that the bills (SB 530, HB 231) — which mirror a proposal pushed by U.S. Rep. Val Demings, an Orlando Democrat and former police chief — get a hearing before the legislative session ends on March 9.

“Now more than ever, these bills must be heard. The most recent shooting is unacceptable and too tragic to comprehend. It is time we step up and come together to act on meaningful gun safety reform,” Rep. Lori Berman, D-Lantana, said in a press release. “As a mother, my heart breaks for these families. There are no words to describe the horror of a child not returning home from school. Florida needs to set an example for the rest of the nation by not just demanding action but taking action.”

The legislation potentially could have prevented the Parkland tragedy had it been in place, the Democrats asserted.

“With so many mass shootings and the mantra ‘now is not the time to talk about gun control’ we will never have the discussion,” Gibson said in the release.

Berman fires up Senate run — with wood oven

HousePhotoSized6427State Rep. Lori Berman, a Lantana Democrat, is kicking off her special election Senate campaign at an upscale pizza joint in Delray Beach in two weeks.

And everyone’s invited — just keep your “encouraged” checks under $1,000.

Berman, who is already in the contest to replace disgraced Democrat Jeff Clemens for the Palm Beach County seat, posted an invitation on Twitter Thursday announcing the Nov. 30 event at Wood & Fire in Delray Beach.

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Clemens resigned after admitting to an extramarital affair with a lobbyist, and the seat will remain vacant through the 60-day 2018 legislative session that begins Jan. 9.

Gov. Rick Scott set a special primary for Jan. 30 and the special general election for April 10.

Democrat Arthur Morrison of West Palm Beach and Lake Worth Republican Tami Donnally have also opened campaign accounts. Former Rep. Irv Slosberg, a Democrat narrowly defeated by Clemens in a spendy primary last year, is expected to run.

By Jim Turner.

UPDATE: Berman apologizes to Senate prez over sexual harassment email

State Rep. Lori Berman, a Lantana Democrat hoping to win an open Senate seat, called  Senate President Joe Negron to clear up an email issued by her campaign regarding Negron’s sexual harassment policy.

The email, issued earlier in the day, called Negron’s policy “shameful.”

The message — which wasn’t a fundraising message, Berman pointed out — to Negron was not intended “to make him an issue but rather to improve the policy,” Berman told us in a text message.

Berman is seeking to replace former state Sen. Jeff Clemens, who resigned from the Senate on Friday after admitting he had an extramarital affair with a lobbyist.

“I left the conversation feeling he his personally committed to ensuring a zero tolerance sexual sexual harassment policy. I am pleased he has taken the initiative to work with Senator Benacquisto to revisit the Senate Policy,” Berman said in a text message.

Berman didn’t exactly call it an apology, but the Senate president did.

Negron said Berman reached out to him “to apologize for her overzealous campaign” that had sent the letter in response to earlier news reports.

“I have accepted Rep. Berman’s apology. I have zero tolerance for sexual harassment in the workplace and urge anyone who has been a victim of sexual harassment to confidentially report it. Allegations of sexual harassment are taken very seriously and there will be appropriate consequences for any individual violating Senate rules in this regard,” Negron, R-Stuart, said.

Lori Berman uses Senate sexual harassment policy to raise money

310597_10150347979644648_1123776784_nState Rep. Lori Berman is vying to replace former Sen. Jeff Clemens, who resigned from his legislative seat a week ago after admitting he had an extramarital affair with a lobbyist.

The focus on Clemens prompted Senate President Joe Negron to highlight a change to the chamber’s sexual harassment policy — which an aide to Negron had been in the works for a year — released the same day the Lake Worth Democrat resigned.

The new procedure required workers to report complaints to their immediate supervisors, the Senate president’s chief of staff, or the president himself. Under the old policy, victims could also file complaints with the human resources office.

Negron has repeatedly maintained that the new policy was aimed at giving workers more options to complain if they have been harassed or mistreated.

Late Sunday, Negron said in a memo that workers “can and should report sexual and workplace harassment to anyone they feel comfortable speaking with.”

But Berman, D-Lantana, blasted Negron for the new policy and used it to raise money in a fundraising email sent this afternoon with the subject line “Shameful.”

“Yesterday, State Senate President–Republican Joe Negron–defended a terrible sexual harassment policy that discourages victims from coming forward.

Instead of going to a Human Resources department, like most major companies and organizations, the Florida Senate makes their employees report to their direct superior (usually a Chief of Staff or even the Senate President himself) if they wish to report an incident. This policy silences victims by forcing them to confide in the same people who have the power to terminate their employment, and who many times have political allegiances to the members being accused of harassment.
This is absolutely shameful.
I’m running for State Senate because this pattern of sexual harassment MUST come to an end. Victims should NEVER be shamed or marginalized.
More than ever, victims need policies in place that provide them the resources they desperately need without threatening their livelihood, their career, and their reputation.
I hope you will join me in making your voice heard on this critical issue. Together, we can change the culture of harassment in Tallahassee and throughout our state.”

Former state Rep. Irv Slosberg, defeated by Clemens in a primary in 2014, has also said he intends to run for the open seat.