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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Sen. Baker still a 'no' on rail, plus Rich and maybe even Lawson



Republican Sen. Carey Baker said he remains in discussions with Senate President Jeff Atwater about the commuter rail proposal, but he still has enough concerns about the legislation that he remains in the "no" camp.

"If I had to vote today, I'd vote no," Baker said this morning, while couching it with: "But I am not voting on it today."

Sen. Nan Rich, meanwhile, said she opposes the proposal -- even though it includes money for TriRail in her South Florida district. She shares the labor union's concerns about worker protections, "but it's not just labor," she said.

"This is a bad deal," said Rich, D-Sunrise.

Even one of the legislation's co-sponsors, Democratic Senate leader Al Lawson, is poised to vote no if labor's concerns aren't worked out in the final bill that goes to the Senate floor.

"I co-sponsored the bill with the idea that we could work this labor issue out," said Lawson, D-Tallahassee. "If not this thing might go down. Because I already know some members (who were in support) are peeling off."

Lawson said Atwater told him Sunday that there were plans for continued discussions between DOT officials and union leaders. Republicans supporting the proposal need the votes of Dems to pass the deal. The Senate Dem caucus meets at noon today and could indicate which way they're leaning...

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 1:08pm]


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