Rubio gives hope to Minouche Noel
House Speaker Marco Rubio met with Minouche Noel this morning and gave her hope that the Legislature will finally pass her claims bill. Noel was paralyzed as an infant after a botched back surgery by a state-contracted doctor.
"It's a very compelling case. I mean, If you're going to do claims bills, this is the one to do," Rubio said. "We passed it last year," he added. "This should have happened a year ago. But things happen for a reason."
The House last week passed the $8.5-million award, but it now needs Senate approval. Now 19, Noel is confined to a wheelchair. But she has not let it be a total impediment. Noel, smiling and laughing with Rubio, said she has plans for a college degree. The money, she says, will help her get a better wheelchair, a wheel-chair accessible van and a new home for her and her parents that is also wheelchair friendly.
In another claims development, the House Policy and Budget Council today passed the $4.8-million claims bill for Martin Lee Anderson, the 14-year-old boot camp victim. But an amendment passed that would limit attorney/lobbyist fees to $630,000. The House has amended other claims bills with a similar fee restriction. The bill to pay Alan Crotzer, the St. Petersburg man who spent more than 24 years in prison on a wrongful conviction, was linked to the Anderson bill, a move to force the Senate to take up the $1.25-million award.