Friday, January 26, 2007

FLORIDA DIGEST January 25, 2007

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Property tax election gets boosts
By Dara Kam

Palm Beach Post Capital Bureau

Thursday, January 25, 2007

TALLAHASSEE - Gov. Charlie Crist and Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio spokeseparately Wednesday in favor of special election this year to providerelief from rising property taxes.

Their comments came as other lawmakers, including Sens. Mike Haridopolos,R-Melbourne, and Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, announced they would conduct aseries of hearings in nine cities meant to draw public comment about taxesand support for a special election as early as September. The tour includesa 9 a.m.-noon hearing Feb. 12 at Palm Beach Community College west of LakeWorth.

"People are paying exorbitant property taxes at the local level and theywonder what the money's being spent on, and so do I," said Crist, who hascalled rising property taxes and insurance premiums the "twin threats" toFlorida's financial security.

The legislature passed a bill Monday meant to help lower windstorm insurancepremiums, but state and local taxing power is controlled by the stateconstitution, and amendments must be approved by voters. Putting a proposedamendment on the ballot in an off-election year requires a three-fourthsvote in each chamber, compared to the three-fifths vote needed in eachchamber were it offered for the November 2008 election.


The Sun-Sentinel,0,7745182,print.story

Bullying bill easily clears Florida Senate education committee

By Bill Kaczor
The Associated Press

January 24, 2007, 6:45 PM EST

TALLAHASSEE -- A mother whose son committed suicide after repeated tauntingand the father of another boy who nearly died when a schoolmate beat himurged Florida lawmakers Wednesday to pass anti-bullying legislation.

The Senate's Education Prekindergarten-12 Committee voted 6-1 to approve thebill (SB 114) after hearing their testimony.

If enacted, the new law would be called the ``Jeffery Johnston Stand Up forAll Students Act'' in honor of Debbie Johnston's 15-year-old son. The CapeCoral teen hung himself in 2005 after repeated harassment. He was called gayand a stalker at school and over the Internet, but never suffered anyphysical harm.


The Boston Globe

Justices: No choice on Florida recount
January 25, 2007

Three of the five Supreme Court justices who voted to end ballot recountingin Florida in the 2000 presidential election say they had no choice but tointervene in the recount. Comments from Justice Anthony Kennedy and retiredjustice Sandra Day O'Connor are in a new book published this week, andJustice Antonin Scalia made his remarks Tuesday at Iona College in New York.

Scalia, answering questions after a speech, also said the critics of the5-to-4 ruling in Bush v. Gore need to move on six years after the electoraldrama of December 2000, when it seemed the whole nation hung by a chadawaiting the outcome of the presidential election. "It's water over thedeck -- get over it," Scalia said, drawing laughs from his audience. (AP)

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