Politics

Gov. Scott Signs Transportation Bill; Vetoes Others

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Governor Rick Scott  (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Governor Rick Scott (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Politics

TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) — Gov. Rick Scott has signed four new bills, one of which makes it tougher for local governments to issue tickets to drivers turning right on red.

The highway safety bill (HB 7125) tweaks the state’s red-light camera law. It makes clear that turning right while the light is red is OK provided the motorist makes a complete stop, even after crossing the stop line, before proceeding.

The bill also includes a provision designed to force slower drivers out of the left-hand lane. The provision states that drivers can drive in the left-hand lane 10 miles or more slower than the posted speed. A driver who violates the provisions could get a $60 ticket. A similar measure was vetoed several years ago by then-Gov. Jeb Bush.

The bill also includes a slew of other changes, including revamping laws that deal with ignition-interlock devices issued to some people convicted of drunken driving and approving new specialty license plates. Among the groups that would receive plates are the American Legion, Big Brothers Big Sisters and Lauren’s Kids, which is a program aimed at preventing sexual abuse of children.

Scott acted on a total of seven bills on Wednesday.

He signed into law a measure allowing on-site sales of liquor at the state’s craft liquor distilleries. HB 347 allows about 20 small craft distillers in Florida that annually produce less than 75,000 gallons of spirits to offer on-site sales. The bill imposes a two-bottle-per-customer annual cap for the purchases.

What’s more, Scott approved a bill (HB 573) allowing residents of mobile homes to get insurance from Citizens Property Insurance Corp. and a measure (HB 7025) specifying that certain condo board election requirements don’t apply to timeshares.

Meanwhile, Scott vetoed three bills, including a measure that would have revamped laws dealing with the competency of mentally ill people charged with crimes. In a veto letter, Scott said he rejected the measure (SB 1420) because it would have led to many types of criminal charges being dismissed after three years if defendants are determined to be incompetent to stand trial. Current law sets that time frame at five years.

Under the bill, the shortened period of time would not have applied to violent crimes such as murder, kidnapping and sexual battery. But Scott wrote that dismissal of charges after three years for people accused of attempting to commit violent crimes “could pose a serious public safety risk.”

Scott also vetoed HB 725, which would have eliminated recording requirements for closed meetings of the State Child Abuse Death Review Committee. He wrote that the recordings are already exempt from disclosure, but that the “careful balance between openness and reasonable confidentiality” would be best met by maintaining the current requirements.

The third veto hit a measure (SB 354) that involved a property-tax exemption on certain housing for active-duty military members. But Scott wrote that an amendment added to the bill could inadvertently impose property taxes on other military housing that already is exempt from property taxes.

“The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.”

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