Florida briefly

Published July 28, 2006

Poll: Nelson still leads Harris by big margin

TALLAHASSEE - U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris of Sarasota holds a double-digit lead in her bid to win the Republican Senate nomination in September, but she trails incumbent U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson of Melbourne by 37 points in a general election matchup, a new poll shows.

Nelson, who is completing his first Senate term, was favored by 61 percent, while Harris had 24 percent and 11 percent were undecided in the survey released Thursday by the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

Earlier this week, a Mason-Dixon poll showed Nelson with 57 percent and Harris with 29 percent.

She was favored by 40 percent in Quinnipiac's survey of the GOP primary while Orlando-area attorney Will McBride received 21 percent, LeRoy Collins Jr. 6 percent and Tampa Bay-area developer Peter Monroe 3 percent.

Governor signs repeal of intangibles tax

TALLAHASSEE - A tax on stocks, bonds and other intangible property that Gov. Jeb Bush repeatedly has labeled "insidious" will be repealed by a bill he signed into law Thursday.

Only about 300,000 people, some of Florida's wealthiest citizens, will share in annual savings totaling more than $131-million. That's because exemptions have steadily increased since 1999. Just those individuals with more than $370,000 in taxable assets and couples with more than $620,000 still are required to pay the tax.

The Republican-sponsored legislation won easy passage 100-20 in the House and 30-9 in the Senate.

Most Democrats opposed the repeal.

Group skirts ban on feeding homeless

ORLANDO - A charity skirted the city's new ordinance against feeding the homeless in downtown public parks by serving food out of a van on a nearby street.

Joined by a local American Civil Liberties Union representative, Food Not Bombs distributed vegetarian meals to the homeless Wednesday just as it has for more than a year. But this time, with police officers there to monitor, volunteers scooped the items from containers in a parked van nearby.

That could be a loophole in an ordinance passed Monday that prevents serving large groups in parks and other public property within 2 miles of City Hall. Such feedings would be legal only with a one-time use permit.