What’s going on in the Florida Legislature
Apr 29, 2008
South Florida Sun-Sentinel–April 29, 2008
By TONYA ALANEZ
Here’s a scorecard of actions taken by Florida lawmakers Monday and a look ahead at what’s expected at the state Capitol today. Legislators have four remaining days to resolve weighty issues ranging from a proposed law on abortion and the new state budget to healthcare for Florida’s 3.8 million uninsured.
RENTERS: The Florida Senate shipped to Gov. Charlie Crist for his signature a bill to impose new penalties on renters equal to two months’ rent for breaking their leases.
EVERGLADES: Legislative leaders slipped $50 million to help fund the cleanup of the Everglades back into the state budget, it became known.
EVOLUTION: The Florida House voted along party lines to require public school teachers to challenge evolution, in a move that could bring religious-based alternatives like creationism to the classroom.
LICENSE PLATES: While approving new specialty license plates to preserve Florida lighthouses and promote tennis, the Senate drew the line at a religious themed “I Believe” plate that displays a Christian cross in front of a stained glass window.
GAMBLING: The Senate soundly rejected a plan that would have let Palm Beach Kennel Club open an off-track card room and betting facility.
TRANSPORTATION: Senators are expected to debate a transportation package that includes plans for a Central Florida commuter rail line and would let South Florida voters decide whether to impose a tax on cars rented at the area’s international airports to provide a funding source for Tri-Rail.
ABORTION: Senators are expected to debate a bill requiring pregnant women in their first trimester to pay for an ultrasound examination if they are seeking an abortion and be offered the opportunity to view it.
CORPORATE VOUCHERS: The Senate also may take up a proposed increase in corporate-tax breaks for companies that help pay for poor students to attend private schools.