- Associated Press - Thursday, March 5, 2015

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Democrats in the Florida Senate say the state needs new anti-discrimination laws to protect gays, former felons and pregnant women.

The senators also told a Tallahassee press conference Friday that they want mandatory paid sick leave for workers.

The majority Republicans have refused to pass several of the measures, but Sen. Arthenia Joyner of Tampa said Democrats will keep trying.

Sen. Joe Abruzzo of Boynton Beach said a bill adding sex and gender orientation to current anti-discrimination laws is backed by some top employers including Walt Disney World, Florida Blue and CSX railway.

Sen. Chris Smith of Fort Lauderdale wants to establish a law enforcement academy for minorities at Edward Waters College to provide minority police recruits.

The Republicans have a sizeable majority in both houses of the Florida Legislature.

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