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The Legislature in brief

Today is the 38th day of the 60-day session.

By DIANE RADO and ALISA ULFERTS

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 12, 2001


Today is the 38th day of the 60-day session.

FEA poll backs help for teachers

Stepping up its attack on tax breaks during a tight budget year, the Florida Education Association released poll results Wednesday showing wide support for higher salaries and better working conditions for teachers.

"We call on the governor and the Legislature to abandon tax giveaways," said FEA president Maureen Dinnen.

Gov. Jeb Bush has proposed $277.9-million in tax cuts, and the House is pushing $355-million at a time when educators say there's not enough money to recruit and retain teachers.

The FEA said the poll of 625 registered voters showed that 74 percent believe the priority of state and local leaders should be improving teacher salaries and working conditions, such as lowering class sizes and removing disruptive students; and that 65 percent support the Senate's resistance to enacting more tax breaks.

Bill shields gunmakers from suits

Cities and counties would be prohibited from suing gun manufacturers to recoup medical costs of injuries under a bill preliminarily passed by the Senate.

Democrats tried and failed to tack on amendments that would have encouraged manufacturers to include safety devices on weapons and spelled out that guns with trigger locks also are covered by the bill.

Sponsor Charlie Bronson, R-Indian Harbour Beach, objected to the amendments, saying they would substantially affect his bill. Betty Holzendorf, D-Jacksonville, said she offered her amendment to raise awareness of the need for trigger locks. She promised to raise the issue again.

The bill is up for final approval as early as today. Its companion is pending in the House.

- 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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