Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Gov. Rick Scott vetoes speed limit bill, as promised

Among the bills Gov. Rick Scott approved was one authorizing the use of state funding to help build a coast-to-coast bike trail. 


Among the bills Gov. Rick Scott approved was one authorizing the use of state funding to help build a coast-to-coast bike trail. 

TALLAHASSEE — In addition to signing the $77 billion state budget Monday, Florida Gov. Rick Scott approved 20 bills and vetoed a controversial one.

Scott made good on his promise to nix legislation that would have allowed state officials to raise the speed limit to 75 mph on highways. He announced his position last month, just days after attending the funeral of Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Chelsea Renee Richard. She was struck and killed by a passing pickup trick while investigating an accident on Interstate 75 in Ocala; two others also died.

"Although the bill does not mandate higher speed limits, allowing for the possibility of faster driving on Florida's roads and highways could ultimately and unacceptably increase the risk of serious accidents for Florida citizens and visitors," Scott wrote in his veto letter for SB 392.

Law enforcement officials had lobbied against the speed limit increase even before Richard's death. Bill sponsor Sen. Jeff Brandes said the accident altered the tone of the debate.

"It became a political issue, even though Officer Richard's death was not directly related to speeding, and I think the report would ultimately vet that out," Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, said.

Brandes does not plan on trying to raise the speed limit again next year, saying Scott made his position clear and is unlikely to waiver if he is re-elected.

Among the bills the governor approved was a measure directing the Department of Transportation to use $15 million in state funding to construct a coast-to-coast biking trail. Scott also approved legislation that authorizes the hiring of three new appeals court judges and a bill that allows death row inmates to be represented by private practice attorneys while seeking clemency.

Most of the legislation Scott signed Monday was related to spending decisions contained in the budget. For example, the bill authorizing the bike trail conforms with the budget allocation for the project.

Last year, Scott vetoed $50 million in the budget for this initiative, a priority of incoming Senate President Andy Gardiner, an Orlando Republican.

Gardiner said in April that he felt optimistic the bike trail money would not be killed again this year, especially since Scott joined him for a groundbreaking ceremony in Titusville.

"Over the last two years, the discussion surrounding the Coast to Coast Connector has created an increase in public awareness about the importance of ecotourism in Florida," Gardiner said via a statement.

Once completed, the bike trail will allow a cyclist to navigate 275 miles of terrain from the Atlantic Coast to St. Petersburg. The state estimates that it will cost $42 million to complete the gaps between existing trails, meaning the connector can't be completed unless additional state resources or private funding is obtained.

Contact Tia Mitchell at (850) 224-7263 or

Gov. Rick Scott vetoes speed limit bill, as promised 06/02/14 [Last modified: Monday, June 2, 2014 9:49pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Clearwater officer fired after investigation reveals use of unnecessary force on teen

    Public Safety

    A Clearwater police officer was fired after an internal investigation found he used unnecessary force on a teenager in custody, the agency said Wednesday.

  2. Meadowlawn Middle School teacher arrested on molestation charges


    ST. PETERSBURG — A Meadowlawn Middle School teacher was arrested Wednesday morning on charges that he molested three underage girls, police said.

    Joseph Zavalnak, 41, a Meadowlawn Middle School teacher, was arrested May 24, 2017on charges that he molested three underage girls, police said. He faces  five counts of lewd and lascivious molestation. The victims were between the ages of 12 and 18, police said. [Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
  3. Letter from 'many' St. Petersburg High faculty, staff to Pinellas School Board pushes for assistant principal to be next principal


    A St. Petersburg High teacher sent a letter on the behalf of "many" school faculty and staff to the Pinellas County School Board and school district superintendent Mike Grego in support of appointing their assistant principal, Darlene Lebo, as principal.

    Darlene Lebo, an assistant principal at St. Petersburg High, is supported by "many" school faculty and staff to be the school's next principal, according to a letter sent to the Pinellas County School Board.
  4. 2017 Florida Theme Park Guide: A look at this summer's top attractions


    Florida's theme parks are getting ready for their busiest season with new rides, shows and perks, and we have rounded up a guide to the best new things to see.

    The newest fireworks presentation at Magic Kingdom uses lasers, lights, projections and pyrotechnics showing characters and scenes from more than 25 Disney films. [Walt Disney World]
  5. Meet 'rave pops,' the EDM-loving, hard-dancing 72-year-old who went viral via the Sunset Music Festival (w/video)

    Music & Concerts

    Alan Grofé is a 72-year-old, semi-retired entrepreneur and former tech executive with frost-white hair, two grown children and five grandchildren.

    Alan Grofe dances at the Electric Daisy Carnival festival in Orlando in 2016. [aLIVE Coverage for Insomniac]