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  • Legislature 2001
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  • 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

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    Legislature 2001

    Compiled from Times wires

    © St. Petersburg Times, published April 21, 2001

    Today is the 47th day of the 60-day session.

    Senate passes bill on beer sizes

    The Senate voted 37-2 Friday to lift size restrictions on beer bottles and cans. The bill went to the House, where a similar bill awaits floor action.

    Existing Florida law limits beer and other malt beverage containers to 8, 12, 16 or 32 ounces. It does not apply to containers over 32 ounces.

    The law has kept many foreign brands and micro brews out of Florida because they are sold in containers of other sizes, often metric.

    Wholesaler distributors have defeated repeal bills in the past with arguments that eliminating the size restrictions would boost beer prices because more warehouse space and bigger trucks would be needed to handle the wider variety.

    Nursing homes compromise emerges

    Struggling with how much protection to give nursing homes against punitive damages for abuse of residents, a House panel came up with a new compromise Friday.

    The proposal: allow unlimited damages, but make an injured resident prove the nursing home guilty "beyond a reasonable doubt," the standard of proof required to send a person to prison.

    The Council for Ready Infrastructure approved that amendment before unanimously approving the nursing home bill. The bill must go through two more panels before reaching the floor.

    A companion Senate bill may reach the floor next week.

    Both bills also increase minimum staffing standards for nursing homes.

    New tack on health insurance pool

    The House Insurance Committee approved a bill to reopen a state-backed health insurance pool for people too sick to get private coverage, after deleting a 25 cents-a-month assessment on private policies that would have helped subsidize the plan.

    Insurance lobbyists have opposed the assessment, saying it amounts to a tax on their customers. The assessment was retained, however, in a companion bill the Senate passed this week.

    Sponsor Rep. Carole Green, R-Fort Myers, changed the House bill to get the subsidy instead from a fee on tobacco companies that lawmakers hope to have in place this year. But the money isn't guaranteed. It's part of a bill that hasn't passed yet.

    If it doesn't, "obviously, we've got a problem again," Green said.

    The money would be part of a $25-million assessment on tobacco companies that didn't participate in Florida's 1997 settlement meant to recoup costs of treating sick smokers.

    * * *

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

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