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    Legislature briefs

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

    By LUCY MORGAN and ALISA ULFERTS

    © St. Petersburg Times, published March 13, 2001


    Independent gas station owners and distributors rallied Monday at the Capitol to oppose a bill backed by Wal-Mart and Murphy Oil Co.

    The bill would repeal a 1985 law that prevents big oil refiners from selling gasoline below wholesale cost. The independents say the repeal would drive them out of business.

    "We are threatened by two giant corporations from Arkansas," said Miami service station owner Max Alvarez.

    "These two corporations aren't concerned about the citizens of Florida," added Jim Smith, a Gulfport resident who owns Co-Op Oil Co.

    Wal-Mart and Murphy say the law prohibits consumers from getting cheaper gas.

    Bill seeks rape protection in jails

    State Rep. Frederica Wilson wants corrections officers to spot -- and stop -- sexual assaults in the state's jails and prisons.

    The Miami Democrat has filed a bill that would require corrections facilities to train workers to help prevent sexual assault, including giving inmates tips on how to avoid being raped in prison.

    At a news conference Monday, Wilson said she plans a bus tour next week to spotlight the bill, which adds county jails and privately run prisons to the law that already includes state prisons.

    * * *

    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: www.leg.state.fl.us.

    Capitol Update, a half-hour program on the day's legislative highlights distributed by the Sunshine Network, airs weekday evenings on a number of public TV stations. Check TV Times for schedules.

    Coverage of the legislative session can be heard by radio on Capitol Report weekdays throughout the 60-day session at 6:30 p.m. on WUSF-FM 89.7.

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    From the Times state desk