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Digest

Task force to study Sarasota house election

By TIMES WIRES
Published March 20, 2007


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WASHINGTON

The Buzz has learned that the U.S. House Administration Committee has formed a three-person task force to look into the disputed Sarasota congressional race. An official announcement has not been made yet, but it seems that last week's news about a possible problem with the touch screen machines may have led committee Chairwoman Juanita Millender-McDonald to act. The task force is made up of two Democrats, Charles Gonzalez of Texas and Zoe Lofgren of California, and one Republican, Kevin McCarthy of California. Gonzalez will serve as chairman. No one on Capitol Hill will talk about the task force, so we don't know when it will start meeting.

TALLAHASSEE

Complex dedicated to Bob Martinez

Gov. Charlie Crist dedicated the Department of Environmental Protection complex in the capital as the Bob Martinez Center. Martinez, a Tampa Republican, is credited with pushing through environmental issues during his term as governor from 1987 to 1991. Among his accomplishments was passing legislation in 1990 to create Preservation 2000, a 10-year, $3-billion environmental land acquisition program, preserving 1.7-million acres from development.

On the agenda

UF FEE HITS FIRST HURDLE:

The University of Florida's push to charge undergraduates an extra $500 per semester gets its first test today, when a House education committee is the first to review the controversial proposal. Gov. Charlie Crist opposes the fee, which would generate more than $35-million in extra revenue each year. UF president Bernie Machen would use the money to hire 100 academic counselors and 200 faculty members, a move he says would reduce class sizes and improve course offerings. The House committee's approval is necessary for the bill to move forward on its way to a floor vote.

CERVICAL CANCER VACCINE:

Should vaccination against cervical cancer be a school attendance requirement for middle school girls? House and Senate committees this week will decide, in the first of several votes needed to bring the measure to the chamber floors for a final vote. The House proposal will go before the K-12 committee today. It would require that eighth-grade girls in public and private schools, beginning with the 2011-12 year, get the Gardasil vaccine - the first and only vaccine proved to protect against the deadly cancer. Starting in 2009-10, schools would have to inform sixth-graders and their guardians about the vaccine, which is made by the pharmaceutical giant Merck.

[Last modified March 20, 2007, 01:27:17]


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