St. Petersburg Times Online: News of Florida
Place an Ad Calendars Classified Forums Sports Weather
  • Bill would allow dirty water to be pumped into aquifer
  • State faces $1-billion Medicaid shortfall
  • Legislative briefs
  • Disclosure bill advances
  • Committee backs sales tax breaks for sports venues
  • Every day is somebody's day
  • Around the state

  • From the state wire

  • Hurricane Jeanne appears on track to hit Florida's east coast
  • Rumor mill working overtime after Florida hurricanes
  • Developments associated with Hurricanes Ivan and Jeanne
  • Four killed in Panhandle plane crash were on Ivan charity mission
  • Hurricane Frances caused estimated $4.4 billion in insured damage
  • Disabled want more handicapped-accessible voting machines
  • USF forces administrators to resign over test score changes
  • Man's death at Universal Studios ruled accidental
  • State child welfare workers in Miami fail to do background checks
  • Hurricane Jeanne heads toward southeast U.S. coast
  • Hurricane Jeanne spurs more anxiety for storm-weary Floridians
  • Mistrial declared in case where teen was target of racial "joke"
  • Panhandle utility wants sewer plant moved to higher ground
  • State employee arrested on theft, bribery charges
  • Homestead house fire kills four children, one adult
  • Pierson leader tries to cut off relief to local fern cutters
  • Florida's high court rules Terri's law unconstitutional
  • Jacksonville students punished for putting stripper pole in dorm
  • FEMA handling nearly 600,000 applications for help
  • Man who killed wife, niece, self also killed mother in 1971
  • Producer sues city over lead ball fired by Miami police
  • Tourism suffers across Florida after pummeling by hurricanes
  • Key dates in the life of Terri Schiavo
  • An excerpt from the unanimous ruling in the Schiavo case
  • Four confirmed dead after small plane crash in Panhandle
  • Correction: Disney-Cruise Line story

    printer version

    Legislative briefs


    © St. Petersburg Times, published March 8, 2001

    Today is the third day of the 60-day session.

    Crist backs performance audits

    TALLAHASSEE -- Public school districts would be required to undergo performance audits at least once every five years under a bill backed by state Education Commissioner Charlie Crist and to which the House gave preliminary approval Wednesday.

    Florida's 67 school districts already submit to financial audits that monitor whether they operate according to state and federal law. Eleven districts, including Hillsborough, have volunteered in the past for optional state-administered performance audits. Crist and the bill's Republican sponsors, Rep. Sandra Murman of Tampa and Sen. Jim Horne of Orange Park, would mandate such audits in order to identify potential savings. The audits, conducted by private firms, would cost the state $4.1-million over a five-year period. School boards and superintendents who do not adopt auditors' recommendations may be required to appear before the Legislature to explain their decisions. Any resident of a school district where recommendations are not adopted can appeal that decision to the state Board of Education.

    Growth issues narrowed to two

    A controversial set of changes to the state's growth laws may be too much for the Legislature to swallow this year. So Gov. Jeb Bush and and some key legislative leaders are trying to narrow it to two key issues: linking new building approvals to school capacity, and coming up with a formula to assess the cost of new development.

    Bush's top growth official, Department of Community Affairs Secretary Steve Seibert, laid out the administration's agenda at a Senate committee meeting Wednesday. A former DCA secretary, Tom Pelham, urged the committee to keep growth controls intact.

    The big topic was the new plan to link schools and planning.

    "We're talking about tying our community's ability to grow to its ability to provide classroom space," said Sen. Tom Lee, R-Brandon.

    The Legislature is expected to try to come up with a formula for "full-cost accounting" -- a sort of balance sheet to find out how much new development will cost a community.

    Said Lee: "If growth was paying for itself, we'd be rolling in the dough in Florida.'

    Bills seek end to gas price law

    With petitions signed by 150,000 Florida consumers, Wal-Mart and Murphy Oil Co. are fighting for bills that would repeal a 1985 law forbidding the sale of below-cost gasoline.

    Sen. Ginny Brown-Waite, R-Brooksville, and Rep. Randy Ball, R-Mims, have filed bills that would allow service stations to sell discounted gas.

    The bills are the latest steps in a fight between the big discount chain and other service station owners who say it will force independent owners out of business and ultimately lead to higher gas prices.

    Ball said he signed on to help repeal the old law in an effort to lower consumer gas prices.

    Asthma sidelines Brown-Waite

    State Sen. Ginny Brown-Waite, R-Brooksville, was missing from the Capitol on Wednesday after doctors checked her at a Tallahassee emergency room.

    Aide Paul Sullivan said Brown-Waite went to the hospital early in the morning after cold weather, heavy spring pollen and a busy work schedule caused an asthma attack.

    Brown-Waite rested at home but expected to be back in the Senate today to handle an important nursing home bill, Sullivan said.

    Bill aids slain teachers' families

    The House on Wednesday passed a bill to provide help to families of teachers killed at school, naming it for a murdered Palm Beach County teacher.

    The Barry Grunow Act passed unanimously. It still needs Senate approval.

    The bill guarantees a $75,000 payment to the families of teachers or school administrators killed on the job and $1,000 toward funeral expenses. It also provides for continuing the teacher's health insurance for a surviving spouse and children and waives tuition for the teacher's children at state colleges.

    Grunow was shot and killed outside his classroom at Lake Worth Community Middle School on May 26 last year, the final day of classes. A seventh-grade student, 14-year-old Nathaniel Brazill, is charged with first-degree murder and awaits trial.

    Grunow's two children will not have to pay for their college educations. The Florida Education Foundation bought scholarships for 5-year-old Samuel and 1-year-old Lee-Anne Grunow.

    * * *

    - For information about legislation, call this number toll-free during business hours: 1-800-342-1827. For Internet users, Online Sunshine is the official site for the Legislature:

    Back to State news
    Back to Top

    © 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
    490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111
    Special Links
    Lucy Morgan

    From the Times state desk