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Legislative Roundup: House effort to halt cameras ends

Red-light cameras would be allowed if studies justify use

Posted: March 24, 2014 - 7:22pm  |  Updated: March 25, 2014 - 12:32am

The key House proponent of eliminating red-light cameras ended his effort Monday to block installation of new cameras across the state.

However, a senator seeking to ban the traffic-enforcement technology isn’t ready to put the brakes on his bill.

House Transportation & Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee members unanimously approved an amendment by Rep. Frank Artiles, R-Miami, as they backed his measure (HB 7005). The bill now would allow new cameras at intersections but only if their use is justified through traffic engineering studies.

Meanwhile, Senate Transportation Chairman Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, said he intends to keep the Senate “on our current path” to repeal the Mark Wandall Traffic Safety Act of 2010, the state’s red-light camera law.“I think ultimately what is going to happen is that the House is going to do what they’re going to do, and the Senate is going to come up with its own plan,” he said.

Brandes added that he may eventually have to make some concessions to other senators to get the measure to the floor. Artiles’ amendment also would mandate that 70 percent of the local government revenue from the cameras go into safety measures and would require jurisdictions to shut off their cameras if they fail to provide annual camera-enforcement reports to the state.

FLOOD INSURANCE CHANGES LIKELY

Legislation to entice private insurance companies to sell flood policies as an alternative to the federal government’s skyrocketing premiums is moving through the Florida Senate and House.

Florida is home to 37 percent of the polices written under the National Flood Insurance Program, and state officials say congressional attempts to overhaul the troubled program burden many Floridians with skyrocketing premiums or homes they can’t sell without its taxpayer-subsidized rates.

A flood insurance bill sponsored by Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, provides a free market for private companies that for decades could not compete with federally subsidized flood insurance rates. “It is time for Florida to control our own destiny and lead the nation,” he said.

Tampa-based Homeowners Choice Property & Casualty Insurance Company Inc. began offering flood coverage as part of a homeowners insurance policy in January.

The flood policies written by The Flood Insurance Agency in Florida and 17 other states are identical to the federal policies, though on Monday the Gainesville company will extend the coverage limits to $500,000 for a home and $250,000 for personal property, said CEO Evan Hecht. The current limits under the federal program are $250,000 for a home and $100,000 for personal property.

Associated Press

GROWLER BILL PASSES HOUSE

A bill to legalize half-gallon beer growlers passed a House committee after language craft brewers said would hurt them was stripped from the legislation. The House Business and Professional Regulation Subcommittee approved the bill Monday to allow beer growlers in any size. Florida only allows the refillable beer jugs in quart and gallon sizes — not the 64-ounce container that are sold in 47 other states. The bill sponsored by Rep. Ray Rodrigues originally contained regulations that craft brewers opposed, such as banning sales of their product in kegs, bottles and cans at the breweries.

Gabe Grass plans to open Grasslands Brewing Company in Tallahassee in July. He said the original bill was “scary” for small startup brewers, and he was pleased with final version.

Associated Press

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Jsackerson
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Jsackerson 03/24/14 - 07:41 pm
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Still can't spell down at the

Still can't spell down at the T.U.! Ever when it's the headline!

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