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Several hundred people participated in a “Moral Monday” event modeled after similar protests in North Carolina.

House Democratic Leader Perry Thurston said the idea was to shine a light “on issues that matter” but have been ignored by Republicans. Some of the issues cited by those at the NAACP sponsored event included expansion of the state’s Medicaid program and restoration of voting rights for ex-convicts. Neither is expected to be addressed by legislators this session.

“Florida is a really divided state,” Thurston said. “So, if we let leaders that only represent a portion of the state control the agenda, then you’ve got the wishes of so many Floridians that are going unmet.”

The Florida chapter of Americans for Prosperity, a conservative group aligned with many tea party causes, held its own rally attended by GOP politicians, including by Weatherford. The group is backing Scott’s call for tax cuts, as well as the push by legislative leaders to alter the pension plan for state workers.

Kareem Copeland contributed to this report.

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