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Protesters to deliver 'Valentine' to Miami lawmaker over proposed jobless benefits cuts

Several civic organizations plan to protest outside state Rep. Carlos Trujillo's West Kendall office at 4 p.m. Monday afternoon, asking him to "have a heart" on Valentine's Day and reconsider his support for a proposed bill that would slash state unemployment benefits.

The bill, which would reduce the duration of benefits from 26 weeks to 20 weeks, cleared a House committee last Thursday. Trujillo was one of 7 members of the House Economic Development and Tourism Subcommittee who voted for the bill, which is expected to be fast tracked in both legislative chambers (4 members opposed the proposal).

"This heinous legislation will further cut unemployment insurance for jobless Floridians while our unemployment rate is one of the highest in the country," Badili Jones of Florida New Majority, one of the groups organizing the protest, said in a statement. "We need to expand unemployment insurance in order to stimulate our economy and support our working and middle class families."

Though the protest is sure to draw onlookers, Trujillo, a newly elected freshman, won't be one of them. Instead, the Republican will be on a flight to Tallahassee.

"I told them I would like to speak with them," Trujillo said from the airport. "I told them I'd be leaving at 1:30...if not, maybe Friday when I get back."

UPDATE: Per Florida New Majority, its members did not end up delivering the "Valentine" because Trujillo was not in the office and his legislative assistant, Alex Miranda, agreed to a meeting. Would-be protesters conveyed to Miranda their belief that lawmakers should focus on creating jobs and modernizing unemployment insurance instead of cutting it. Miranda told them Trujillo plans to vote for the bill in committee on Thursday.