SCOTT WILL VETO FASTER HIGHWAY SPEED BILL
By Jim Turner, The News Service of Florida // May 13, 2014
'I'm going to stand with law enforcement'
THE CAPITAL • TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA – Six days after a Florida Highway Patrol trooper gave an impassioned request against the proposal during the funeral service for a fellow trooper, Gov. Rick Scott said he will veto a measure that could increase speeds on state highways.
Scott told reporters after the state Cabinet meeting Tuesday that he will “stand with law enforcement” and veto the bill (SB 392), which has yet to be forwarded to his desk by state lawmakers.
“I’m going to stand with law enforcement and I want everybody to stay safe,” said Scott, who noted he had heard a wide range of opposition to the bill that would have allowed the Florida Department of Transportation to consider hiking maximum speed limits by 5 mph.”
Scott added that comments last week against the bill by Trooper Tod Cloud were also “convincing.”
During a May 8 funeral ceremony for FHP Master Trooper Chelsea Renee Richard in Ocala, Cloud used his comments to tell Scott, who was in attendance, that the legislation “wasn’t a bright idea,” according to the Gainesville Sun.
Cloud was “very concerned about troopers being out there on the highway and people driving too fast,” Scott said. “By doing this we’re doing the right thing for our troopers and the right thing for law enforcement. I’ve been to too many law enforcement funerals.”
Richard was killed May 3 after being struck by a pickup truck while she was finishing up work on an earlier traffic accident on Interstate 75 near Ocala.
During the legislative session that ended earlier this month, the speed-limit proposal faced opposition from lawmakers at every stop in the committee process before being passed by a narrow 58-56 vote in the House and a more comfortable 27-11 Senate vote.
Shortly after Scott’s veto comments were reported, St. Petersburg Republican Sen. Jeff Brandes, one of the sponsors of the measure, tweeted he will bring the proposal back next year.
“I am proud of the bipartisan support we received on SB 392 and I look forward to continuing this discussion next year,” Brandes tweeted.
Kevin Bakewell, vice president of AAA Auto Club South, which sought a face-to-face meeting with Scott to lay out their opposition to the bill, said the veto “will undoubtedly prevent injuries and save lives on our roadways.”
“Speed-related crashes are a major contributing factor in traffic crashes including 30 percent of traffic fatalities,” Bakewell said.
Sen. Jeff Clemens, a Lake Worth Democrat who also sponsored the bill, argued during session that a 5 mph increase is unlikely to impact road safety.