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    Phone bill override vote not on leaders' agenda

    By Times staff writer
    © St. Petersburg Times
    published April 25, 2002

    TALLAHASSEE -- The talk in the Capitol on Wednesday focused on whether the Legislature will try to override Gov. Jeb Bush's veto of a phone rate increase during a legislative session next week.

    Legislators say it's unlikely.

    The state Constitution says any override attempt must begin in the chamber that originated the bill. In this case, that would be the House.

    House Majority Leader Jerry Maygarden, who sponsored the bill, said he won't try to bring the bill back up at next week's special session. A spokeswoman for House Speaker Tom Feeney, who is running for Congress, said she is not aware of any such effort.

    "I'm not interested in pursuing one," said Maygarden, R-Pensacola.

    Phone companies shocked by Bush's veto are trying to decide whether to begin lobbying for an override. "It'll take a day or two to decide," said Ron Book, a lobbyist for BellSouth.

    A veto override would take a two-thirds vote to consider, and then another two-thirds vote to pass in each chamber.

    The bill (HB 1683) likely would have increased monthly local rates by as much as $5 over five years in the Tampa Bay area in an attempt to increase competition among phone companies.

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