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The Legislature in brief

Today is the 29th day of the 60-day session.

By TIM NICKENS and LUCY MORGAN

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 3, 2001


Today is the 29th day of the 60-day session.

Interview easy on astronauts

They'll never make it as reporters.

Gov. Jeb Bush, Lt. Gov. Frank Brogan and state legislators spent 15 minutes on Monday questioning members of the international space station crew as they flew over the Pacific Ocean. The goal was to promote Florida's connection with the space industry, which has a $4.5-billion impact on the state's economy.

But the questions were softballs.

How do you spend your day?

They still get eight hours of sleep.

How is the space station assembly going?

Fine.

What can you see?

"Stand by while we look out the window real quick," answered flight engineer Susan Helms.

Banking regulation debate set

The stage is set for negotiations on how the state will regulate banks and insurance companies.

Senate Banking and Insurance Committee Chairman Jack Latvala, R-Palm Harbor, is sponsoring a bill that would leave regulating the two industries in the direct control of an elected official, a position favored by Insurance Commissioner Tom Gallagher.

The House and Comptroller Bob Milligan want to leave regulating in the hands of appointed commissioners who would serve at the pleasure of the governor and Cabinet.

Latvala said he believes the result will be somewhere in the middle once the Senate and House start working out their differences.

The comptroller and insurance commissioner positions will be combined in a single Cabinet office in 2002 under a constitutional amendment voters approved in 1998.

Silence on stadium question

Gov. Jeb Bush refused to swing Monday at a question about legislation that would help pay for a new stadium for the Florida Marlins. On opening day of the baseball season last year, Bush wrote an opinion piece in the Miami Herald that outlined his reasons for opposing a surcharge on cruise ships to help build a stadium. The awkward timing upset baseball fans and embarrassed Bush, whose brother once was the managing general partner of the Texas Rangers.

Bush wouldn't venture an opinion Monday on a new legislative proposal to help pay for a Marlins stadium.

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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.

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