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Crist mum on running for Senate as independent

Gov. Charlie Crist didn't want to talk much Wednesday about a report that he may run for the U.S. Senate as an independent, rather than continue his bid to win the Republican nomination. "I'm really not thinking about the other," Crist said, referring to his Senate primary race against former House Speaker Marco Rubio. "You all may find this hard to believe but I'm fairly consumed with this (legislative issues)." But Crist didn't refute a report in the Wall Street Journal, which quoted his campaign manager saying that the governor would qualify for the Senate race, but not necessarily as a Republican. Crist has until the end of the month to decide. "So I've been informed," Crist chuckled.

Crist signs 'slip and fall' bill

Crist quietly signed into law Wednesday a major priority of retailers that was opposed by trial lawyers, shifting the burden of proof in negligence cases, in so-called slip and fall scenarios. Since a 2002 court ruling, the burden of proving the safety of a business' premises has been on the business, a situation that had retailers complaining that they were essentially guilty of having a dangerous shop until they could show otherwise. Crist signed HB 689 restoring the burden of proof to a person who is injured in a slip and fall case. They now will have to prove the business had knowledge of a dangerous condition and didn't fix it. Crist also signed HB 437, which limits cases in which the attorney general can hire outside lawyers to work on a contingency fee basis to sue deep-pocketed defendants. Trial attorneys who seek to win big payouts at what many Republicans say is the expense of business to an unfair degree have been one of the GOP's biggest targets over the last decade or so.

Huckabee signs up to vote in Florida

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has registered as a voter in Florida where he rents a beach house in the Panhandle. Huckabee and his wife, Janet, completed their registrations as Florida Republicans on Feb. 22.

New father-son team in Legislature

State Sen. Don Gaetz's 28-year-old son, Matt, is joining him in the Florida Legislature after winning a House seat formerly held by Ray Sansom. The younger Gaetz, a Fort Walton Beach Republican, is set to be sworn in today. He won a special election Tuesday to replace Sansom, who resigned just before legislative hearings were to be held on an ethics complaint against him.

Associated Press; News Service of Florida

Crist mum on running for Senate as independent 04/14/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 14, 2010 9:52pm]
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  1. Pinellas grants St. Pete's request to add millions to pier budget

    Local Government

    Times Staff Writer

    The Pinellas County Commission has granted St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman's request to dedicate millions in county funding toward the city's new pier.

    The St. Petersburg City Council on Thursday  voted 7-1 to appropriate $17.6 million for the over-water portion of the Pier District. This is a rendering of what the new Pier District could look like. [Courtesy of St. Petersburg]
  2. Small helicopter crashes into Odessa home


    ODESSA — Firefighters and sheriff's deputies were investigating Monday after a small helicopter crashed into the roof of a house in northwest Hillsborough County.

    Rescuers respond to a crash of a small helicopter on the roof of a home in the Odessa area on Monday. [Hillsborough County Fire Rescue]
  3. State investigation cites multiple failures in death of Largo child


    LARGO — It was sweltering in the bedroom of the Largo mobile home the day a child welfare case manager visited in July.

    Liz Rutenbeck, 24, poses with her son William in a Facebook photo. Baby William Hendrickson IV died while his mother was in jail after police said his father left ihim in a sweltering room.  A state investigation into the boy's death found multiple failures on the part of the child welfare system.
  4. 'Siesta Key' star punched in face, not sure who did it


    TAMPA —Alex Kompothecras, cast member on MTV's reality show "Siesta Key," tells police he was punched in the face outside a bar in Tampa's SoHo district.

    Alex Kompothecras, Juliette Porter, Pauly Apostolides, Madisson Hausburg, Chloe Trautman, Garrett Miller, Kelsey Owens and Brandon Gomes pose for a photo in Siesta Key in June before the debut of the MTV reality series Siesta Key. [
EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  5. Editorial: Senate health care bill would be disastrous for Florida


    The frantic effort by Senate Republicans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act with something — anything — ranks raw politics over sound policy and threatens the health care of millions of Floridians. It is a desperate attempt to declare victory by shifting responsibility from the federal government …

    Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., speaks in August in Doral.