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Panel's split vote kills get-out-of-lane bill

Published February 21, 2007


TALLAHASSEE - Don't worry, left lane lingerers, you won't be accused of inciting road rage this year.

Senators on Tuesday killed a bill that would have required drivers to move out of the left lane if they are approached from behind by a speedier driver.

Bill sponsor Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton, thought the third time might be a charm for his Florida Highway Patrol-backed bill, which Gov. Jeb Bush vetoed two years ago.

But Tuesday's tie vote in the Senate Committee on Transportation spelled its demise once again with Paula Dockery, R-Lakeland, Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa, Alex Villalobos, R-Miami, and Daniel Webster, R-Winter Garden, all opposed.

"Wow," Bennett said as he left the lectern, shaking his head, clearly frustrated by the lack of support.

Dockery said she worried the bill would unfairly penalize those who don't speed and favor those who do. "What he really wants is a left lane with no speed limit," she said.

Villalobos said the vote was a sign of smarter government. Extra scrutiny early in the lawmaking process is better than moving legislation along just for the sake of it.

"That's going to make good public policy," he said.

Rep. Michael Scionti, D-Tampa, is sponsoring a companion bill in the House.

He was disappointed to hear of the Senate committee vote: "That's an unfortunate turn of events. ... We'll have to retool."

[Last modified February 21, 2007, 01:36:43]

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