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HRS chief questions price of juvenile justice agency

Health and Rehabilitative Services Secretary Jim Towey, in a letter to Senate President Pat Thomas, said the Senate is seriously underestimating the cost of creating a new agency for rehabilitating juvenile delinquents. The Senate says it could create the new agency for $2.5-million; Towey puts it at $16.9-million. Transferring the department without enough money will leave HRS understaffed, Towey said. Legislators have said they want to create a new agency for juvenile justice, because they've lost confidence in HRS' ability to do the job.

League opposes property rights bill

Florida's League of Women Voters joined forces with the state's leading environmental groups Tuesday to oppose a property rights bill that would increase the money landowners collect when governments restrict land use. Calling it "an obnoxious bill" that would allow developers to "do anything they want, wherever they want to do it," League president Nancy Maggiacomo urged legislators to oppose the bill. League officials said the bill would benefit only big landowners and agribusiness at the expense of taxpayers who would be forced to divert money from education, prisons and other needs to compensate landowners who face growth management restrictions.

Orlando prepares teen curfew rules

ORLANDO _ Orlando's city attorney is preparing a proposed ordinance on a teen curfew following a televised presentation to high school students by Mayor Glenda Hood. Supporting the recommendations of an 11-member panel of volunteers and the police chief, the mayor wants everyone 17 and younger out of downtown starting at midnight, seven nights a week. The City Council voted 7-0 to have City Attorney Bob Hamilton draft a curfew law as well as an ordinance on "cruising," allowing police to write tickets to any driver passing the same part of downtown four times within two hours. The American Civil Liberties Union has threatened to sue if Orlando adopts a curfew. It contends such laws are unconstitutional. Dozens of other cities also ban teens from the streets, including Miami, Tampa, Phoenix, Dallas and Atlanta.

Suspect in shootout with deputy charged

LAKELAND _ A man who wounded a sheriff's deputy in an exchange of fire was in stable condition Tuesday recovering from gunshot wounds. He was charged with attempted first-degree murder. Detective Brian Rall was hit by about 30 shotgun pellets as he traded shots Monday night at a mobile home park with Bobby Lamar Steverson, sheriff's spokeswoman Sonya Dodds said Tuesday. Rall was treated and released, Dodds said.

_ Compiled from Times wires

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