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National Politics

Gov. Scott signs highway safety bill, other legislation


Published:   |   Updated: June 12, 2013 at 09:10 PM

TALLAHASSEE - Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday vetoed three bills, including two that received overwhelming support from the Republican-controlled Legislature.

He also signed a wide-ranging highway safety bill that includes a provision designed to force slower drivers out of the left-hand lane. A similar measure was vetoed several years ago by then-Gov. Jeb Bush.

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

The Republican governor struck down a bill that would have changed how the state deals with criminals who are deemed mentally ill and incompetent to stand trial.

The legislation (SB 1420) would have dismissed charges against certain criminal defendants three years after the defendant was declared incompetent to stand trial. The current time period is five years.

But Scott in his veto message said the change could "pose a serious public safety risk." Scott's veto of the measure was praised by State Attorney Bill Eddins, who said the bill "offends the rights of those who have been victims of crimes."

In another matter, Scott vetoed a bill (HB 725) that would have removed a requirement to record meetings of the state child abuse death review committee. The committee can hold confidential meetings but it still must record them.

The governor also vetoed a third bill, which dealt with property taxes charged on businesses that lease property from the federal government.

Scott acted on a total of seven bills.

He signed into law a measure allowing on-site sales of liquor at the state's craft liquor distilleries.

The highway safety bill that Scott signed included many provisions likely to impact drivers, including allowing them to display proof of their insurance electronically instead of producing just a paper copy.

But the bill also includes a provision that states that drivers cannot drive in the left-hand lane 10 miles or more slower than the posted speed. A driver who violates the provision could get a $60 ticket.

Bush in 2005 vetoed the "Road Rage Reduction Act," which was similar to the bill that Scott signed. That bill required slower-moving drivers to get out of the left lane to make way for motorists traveling faster.

In his veto message, Bush questioned why the state would punish a law abiding motorist. He also said it could have an adverse impact on tourists who visit the state.

"The predominate shortcoming of the bill is that it seeks to provide relief for those traveling at high rates of speed, or possessed of emotional temperance at the expense of cautious and careful drivers," Bush wrote at the time.

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