Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Bringing you the latest on the Legislature

The Florida Legislature is in full session, and the Bradenton Herald and are keeping tabs on our local representatives. We'll also bring you comprehensive coverage throughout the session from our shared bureau with the combined forces of the Miami Herald and St. Pete Times.

In our front-page story today, reporter Alex Leary opened the door on the property tax debate, and how the muted response "may foretell the fate of an array of property tax bills during the 60-day session dominated by the more than $5 billion state budget shortfall." The most popular story online yesterday was on Sen. Mike Bennett's bill that would require anyone applying for unemployment to take a drug test.

Here at home, reporters Sara Kennedy and Carl Mario Nudi will lead our coverage, with help from the rest of the staff as warranted. In today's story, Carl examines a bill introduced by Bennett that would prevent local governments from seeking reimbursement for the expense of public safety departments responding to accidents. That's become a hot topic for the city of Bradenton, which is considering a proposal by Cost Recovery Corp. of Dayton, Ohio, to charge such service fees for public safety departments to direct traffic, clean up and write reports in accidents. The Herald has opined against this -- our position is that the plan is nothing more than double taxation.

In the coming days, we'll capture these stories and more in our online legislative page. Let us know which issues concern you the most.

-- Joan

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