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Charlie Latham

Tougher texting-and-driving ban sails through Senate committee

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Legislation to make texting while driving a primary offense was passed Wednesday unanimously by the Senate Transportation Committee. Miami Republican Rene Garcia sponsored the legislation (SB 144). Florida was one of the later states in the country to adopt anti-texting laws, not doing so until 2013. But the fact that it’s a secondary offense has led critics to call the law toothless. Under Garcia’s bill, police could pull over drivers for texting while driving. In the past, some lawmakers have expressed concerns…

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Bill Nelson files federal bill blocking seismic testing off Florida

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U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson says he filed legislation that he says would block a federal plan to allow oil and gas exploration off Florida’s Atlantic coast. The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is considering 10 permits to allow seismic testing from Delaware south to about Melbourne off the coast of Florida. There is no timeline on a permitting decision because they involve multiple agencies, a bureau spokesman said. Environmental groups and 75 scientists have asked President Barack Obama to halt the program because…

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