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Another session? It's not likely

The governor won't call one, and one lawmaker says there's no need. But one is scheduled for October just in case.

By ALISA ULFERTS
Published September 10, 2003

TALLAHASSEE - Flush with their success at finally passing a medical malpractice bill last month, lawmakers predicted another special session in October.

That now appears unlikely.

"There are no pressing issues we need to take care of right now. If I had to guess I'd say no session," said Sen. Ken Pruitt, R-Port St. Lucie, who is scheduled to serve as Senate president in 2006.

Gov. Jeb Bush says lawmakers can call their own special session, but he has no plans to call one.

House Speaker Johnnie Byrd, R-Plant City, suggested taking up a bill to replace an abortion notification law struck down by the Florida Supreme Court.

Byrd supports a constitutional amendment that would require minors to notify their parents before they get an abortion.

The measure has a good chance of passing the Senate, but some senators say it can wait until the regular session in the spring because it wouldn't go on the ballot until the 2004 general election.

Lawmakers began talking about meeting in October during their special session in August, their third on medical malpractice. The pressing issue: an exemption in licensing laws engineers want for workers in the defense, space and aerospace industries.

Some lawmakers wanted to include a bill forbidding cemeteries from selling the same plot twice, an issue that drew their attention after former Sen. Howard Futch was reburied when his cemetery interred another person in his wife's adjacent plot.

And then there's water. A statewide business group studying the state's water supply has put forth a proposal to create a statewide commission that could route water from rural counties to booming areas. The proposal has sparked controversy.

Senate President Jim King, R-Jacksonville, says revamping the state's water system is too complex an issue for a special session.

Other bills that have been suggested include stricter measures on amateur boxing matches, which gained public attention after a Bradenton woman died in June at a match, and a resolution calling on the United States to continue fighting narcotics trafficking in Colombia.

Just in case, lawmakers have scheduled the special session to start Oct. 20.

[Last modified September 10, 2003, 05:10:18]


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