Around the South for Apr. 13: FL, KY & AL

Florida: Wasserman Schultz, Hastings sponsor police-minority relations effort. Two South Florida members of Congress, Debbie Wasserman Schulz and Alcee Hastings, last week sponsored a gathering of community leaders and law enforcement officers to discuss how to avoid an eruption like that in Ferguson, MO, and Staten Island, NY. “It could happen here,” said Wasserman Schulz. “We don’t want to see an explosion here,” said Hastings. The meeting was held prior to the death of an unarmed black man by a police officer in North Charleston, SC …….  Kentucky: McConnell gets a letter. Nine Democratic US Senators sent Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) a letter last week hoping to put the Kentucky lawmaker and his fellow Republicans in a tight spot. The Democrats want McConnell to schedule votes on four issues that are likely to divide the Republican majority. The four are paid sick leave, curbing employment discrimination for pregnant women, access to Social Security and VA benefits for same-sex couples, and middle class tax cuts. ……. Alabama: Bentley says lottery won’t help. Gov. Robert Bentley (R) said a proposed lottery, introduced by state Rep. Craig Ford (D) and given impetus by the endorsement of House General Fund chairman Steve Clouse (R), will not eliminate the need for the $541 million tax increase he has proposed, in part because revenue from the lottery would not come in time. However, Bentley did not oppose a statewide referendum on a lottery, like the one that lost in 1999 ……