tampabay.com

Legislature okays $8.5M for paralyzed girl

By TIMES STAFF AND TIMES WIRES
Published May 4, 2007


TALLAHASSEE - Minouche Noel's family should have no problem buying a house with hallways wide enough for her wheelchair, now that the Legislature has approved an $8.5-million settlement awarded in a malpractice lawsuit. The Senate on approved the settlement a Broward County jury awarded Noel, now 19, and her parents in 1999, a decade after a botched spinal surgery at a state clinic left her paralyzed. The measure (HB 593) now goes to Gov. Charlie Crist.

Designated drivers

Fear not, designated drivers. It soon may be illegal for bartenders to boot you out for not running up a booze tab. After a customer complained that a Pinellas Park bar kicked him out for not buying drinks while accompanying his wife and several friends, Rep. Bill Heller, D-St. Petersburg, and Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, offered legislation protecting designated drivers. Both Houses passed it, and Crist is expected to sign it.

Abortion vote

Lawmakers may have cleared their plates of the controversial main course of property tax, but they still have a hot potato. Sen. Ronda Storms, R-Valrico, is awaiting a vote on SB 1602, which would tighten restrictions on minors seeking waivers from the state's parental notification abortion laws. Senators debated it and several amendments Thursday. And though Democrats seemed amenable to supporting it with amendments, some Republicans, including Sen. Mike Bennett and Sen. Jim King, expressed hesitation about tweaking a controversial law so late in the session.