Around noon today, following Gov. Rick Scott’s State of the State address, progressives from around the state rallied to protest Scott and the GOP-led Legislature.

Earlier in the day, the first of the state’s two-month legislative session, progressives demonstrated in the House chamber.

Awake the State, Occupy Florida, Florida Watch Action, the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, the NAACP, Planned Parenthood and the AFL-CIO were among the many groups represented at a rally that took place on the steps of the capitol. Leaders from the groups and three state legislators made speeches to the crowd.

Among the many issues discussed were last year’s elections law, which groups referred to as “the voter suppression bill”; Scott’s tax policies; and education. Occupy groups also presented their list of demands for the session and said “they would work with the Legislature” this year.

The crowd grew to more than 100 people, and included students from FAMU and Florida State University. Not everyone was enthusiastic about the crowd. Scott spokeswoman Amy Graham and state Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Shalimar, took to Twitter to make remarks about the crowd’s hygiene. Graham tweeted (.png): “I love all the buzz in the Capitol today! Although it’s a little smelly. Not sure why . . .” Later in the day, she took down the tweet. (See update below.)

Gaetz tweeted: “With all of the lovely flowers in the House Chamber, I can barely smell the occupy people outside.”

Awake the State also held rallies around the state today to protest Scott’s agenda. According to a Quinnipiac University poll released today, Scott “has a negative 38 – 50 percent job approval rating, compared to his previous high score, a negative 37 – 50 percent score last September 11, still one of the lowest job approval ratings of any governor in the seven states in which Quinnipiac University conducts surveys.”


Graham tells The Florida Independent that her deleted tweet “was taken out of context.”

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