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Bill to raise interstate speed limits advances in Senate

A proposal to increase speed limits to 75 mph on Florida's interstates is ready for the full Senate's consideration.

The Appropriations Committee approved Senate Bill 392 with four dissenting: Sen. Dorothy Hukill, R-Port Orange, Sen. Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa, Sen. Eleanor Sobel, D-Hollywood, and Chairman Joe Negron, R-Stuart.

The rest of the committee signed off on the bill co-sponsored by Sen. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth, and Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg. Clemens argued that the state Department of Transportation should be allowed to adjust speed limits using data and statistics.

"This bill takes myth and politics and replaces it with facts and engineering," Clemens said.

Safety advocates have argued that higher speed limits would lead to more accidents and fatalities and that drivers would push speedometers past the posted maximums. Clemens' bill also would allow speed limits to be increased 65 mph on four-lane highways outside urban areas and 60 mph on other roads the state manages.

The House version of the proposal, HB 761, has one more committee stop before it makes it to the floor. If the bill is passed by both chambers, it would go into effect July 1. The FDOT would have final say on which roads would allow faster vehicles.

Advice for the GOP

Conservative commentator Michael Reagan says Republicans need to put aside their differences and work together to achieve success in presidential and congressional elections.

Speaking at the Pinellas Republican Party's annual Lincoln Day Dinner on Wednesday night, he said Sen. Marco Rubio came up with an immigration policy and "the next thing you know we're throwing him off the bus." Something similar happened to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, he said.

Republicans criticize New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie as not conservative enough, but he won election in a Democratic-leaning state.

"We should be asking Chris Christie, 'What did you do right?' " he said.

Turning to local figures, Reagan referred to the late U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young, saying "the reason Bill Young got elected, and re-elected and re-elected and re-elected … was that people liked him. People will forgive you on some of your issues if they like you."

Reagan said he once ran into actor Alec Baldwin, considered a liberal, and Baldwin told him: "Your father had a good soul."

Board appointment

Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday named Orlando businesswoman Marva Johnson to the state Board of Education. Johnson, 44, is a corporate vice president for Bright House Networks LLC. Her term begins March 26.

Scott fundraiser

Gov. Scott will raise money in Tampa on April 3 at the Bayshore Boulevard home of Gary and Margo Harrod.

Alex Leary, Curtis Krueger and Kathleen McGrory contributed.

Bill to raise interstate speed limits advances in Senate 03/27/14 [Last modified: Thursday, March 27, 2014 6:39pm]
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