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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Scott sidesteps questions about legislation



When Gov. Rick Scott says his focus this legislative session is on a teacher pay raise and a tax break for manufacturers' equipment purchases, he isn't kidding.

As he repeatedly demonstrated at a news conference Thursday, he's not ready to publicly take a stand on a range of other issues.

On the so-called "parent trigger" bill that would allow parents to take over failing schools, Scott said: "I haven't seen it ... When I look at it, I'll give you my thoughts."

On legislation to stop utilities from passing on costs of future nuclear plants to ratepayers, Scott said: "I haven't (taken a position) today."

On a bill requiring background checks for sales and transfers of guns, Scott said he supports the Second Amendment, adding: "I'd have to see the bill and read it first."

Scott was asked to explain his strategy for becoming engaged on a range of legislative issues, and he smiled and answered with his top two priorities: the teacher pay raise and the tax break. He's not the first governor to shy away from showing his hand on legislation before it's absolutely necessary.

The governor did express a firm position on the need for Florida to repeal a 2012 law that requires international visitors to buy Florida driver's licenses. The law has caused a furor among Canadian "snowbirds" who love Florida and make a huge contributions to Florida's economy every winter.

Asked if he supports repealing the law, Scott said: "It made no sense what was going on, so absolutely."

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[Last modified: Thursday, March 7, 2013 5:34pm]


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