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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Crist visits press during House evolution debate



Gov. Charlie Crist dropped in on the House press gallery Monday, right before the lunch hour and the vote on the controversial evolution bill.

Crist_2 The governor answered an array of questions. He's still reserving judgment on requiring ultrasounds for abortions until he sees whether the Senate passes the bill. He's pleased with budget negotiations so far. Most interestingly, it sounds as though Crist might be open to some sort of compromise on health care packages. His office and the House have been in talks all weekend.

"I've come to the conclusion that the 'Market Place' and 'Cover Florida' plan are not necessarily mutually exclusive," Crist said.  When asked if he would veto $1 million in the House health care plan for a private-public corporation to contract with vendors to offer health care options for individuals and small businesses, Crist said he'd see what gets to his desk, but added: "I don't want it to cost the taxpayers a single dime."

Crist said he strongly supports the Senate's autism bill, favoring the mandates, and he explained why:

"Autism is a rapidly developing concern," Crist said. "The latest statistics are beyond are alarming...because of that exponential growth there's a tremendous outcry and need to address it as quickly as we possibly can. It's so clear that early detection and help make an enormous difference."

On property insurance, Crist said he talked to Sen. Jeff Atwater over the weekend about negotiations on the Senate's property insurance bill. Crist said he supports the Senate bill in its entirety.

Crist also said he's also still lobbying the Legislature for a break on the gas tax and today with Rep. Nick Thompson and Sen. Mike Fasano.

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 10:54am]


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