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  • From the state wire

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  • Key dates in the life of Terri Schiavo
  • An excerpt from the unanimous ruling in the Schiavo case
  • Four confirmed dead after small plane crash in Panhandle
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    Legislature in brief

    Today is the 24th day of the 60-day session.

    By STEVE BOUSQUET, ANITA KUMAR and Associated Press
    February 14, 2002


    Bradley gets PSC post

    After a flurry of questions, mostly from Democrats, Rudy Bradley won confirmation from a Senate committee as one of Gov. Jeb Bush's appointees to the Public Service Commission, which regulates electricity and phone service.

    Bradley, 55, is a former state House member from St. Petersburg. He switched parties and became a Republican and ran unsuccessfully for a Senate seat in 2000.

    Bradley was confirmed on a 9-1 vote, with Sen. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston, voting no. She said Bradley's answers showed "a lack of understanding of the issues that will come before you."

    The vote followed a sometimes contentious hearing at which Bradley was asked technical questions about regulatory policy and his education credentials. Bradley received a master's degree in administration from the University of Michigan in 1979 while living in Pinellas. He said he was allowed to finish his courses as a "visiting student" at the University of South Florida.

    Anesthesia assistants

    The House passed a bill Wednesday that would allow a new type of health care worker to administer general anesthesia.

    The bill (HB 599), sponsored by Rep. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, passed 71-46 over the objections of some legislators who said patient care and the nursing profession would be compromised.

    "This is a bad, bad bill," said Rep. Susan Bucher, D-Lantana. "It reduces the standard of medical care to our constituents."

    Now, only anesthesiologists, who are doctors, and nurse anesthetists may give anesthesia. The proposal would let anesthesiologist assistants be licensed to practice in Florida under anesthesiologists' supervision.

    "This is the right bill at the right time," Fasano said.

    Anesthesiologists support the bill because they say there is a shortage of anesthesia providers in the state. Nurse anesthetists say the bill is a move to replace them with lesser-trained and lower-paid people.

    The measure goes to the Senate, which has a companion bill (CS SB 966) moving through committees.

    Seaport security

    The House passed a measure (CS HB 811) to provide money for tighter security at Florida's 14 seaports. It would let transportation and economic development grants be used for surveillance cameras, gates and other security. The bill goes to the Senate.

    Instructional imbibing

    The Senate Regulated Industries Committee approved a bill (SB 1176) allowing underage students to taste small amounts of wine if it is part of a college course. It can now go to the Senate floor. The House may vote on a similar measure (HB 417) next week.

    * * *

    For information about legislation, call 1-800-342-1827 or 1-850-488-4371 toll-free during business hours.

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    From the Times state desk