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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rivera backs off stem cell, Cuba travel bans

Miami Republican Republican Rep. David Rivera decided it wasn't worth pushing budget proviso banning higher-education institutions from spending tax money on embryonic stem cell research or travel to terrorist nations -- that is, Cuba.

Rivera, a House budget chief, acknowledged that universities don't have the money anyway to pursue the expensive research, and that a current law still limits taxpayer funds from being spent on Cuba travel.

Plus, Rivera said, Floridia International University will now get the full amount of money (c. $20m) to build and staff an FIU medical center. A trade off? No says Rivera. He called it a "compromise."

The House also decided not to push a driver-education course for first-time Florida drivers, criticized in the Capitol as a late-breaking vendor-driven idea that one benefit just one client. The House and Senate have also agreed to give libraries and cultural centers $14.6m more, but Senate President Jeff Atwater and House Speaker Larry Cretul will have to decide where the money will come from. The Senate opposes taking the library money from a transportation trust fund that the Senate nearly holds sacred.

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 5:58pm]


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