Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

SESSION NOTEBOOK; Left-Lane Driving Rule Advances

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

SESSION NOTEBOOK; Left-Lane Driving Rule Advances

Article excerpt

Both sides of the Legislature have now approved a bill that prohibits driving slowly in the left lane of roadways within some exceptions.

The Senate on Thursday voted 28-10 for the bill (SB 732, HB 157) by Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton, which was already approved by the House 109-4 Tuesday. Legislators call it the "Road Rage Reduction Act" and say it will curb dangerous driving on the state's roads by no longer allowing drivers to drive slowly in the left lane. The bill does not specify speeds, prompting critics to say drivers could be ticketed for obeying speed limits.

The bill requires slower vehicles on three-lane roads to move to the closest right-hand lane and yield to vehicles traveling faster. Drivers would be subject to a $60 fine for violating the law, although there are several exceptions such as during times when there is no traffic, drivers are making a left-hand turn or trying to avoid a hazard. The law applies equally to two- and four-lane roads and interstate highways. Senators amended the bill Thursday to specify that drivers who violate the law would be assessed three demerit points on their license instead of four.

J. Taylor Rushing

DOGGY BAG FOR WINE

The Senate voted 38-1 Thursday for final approval of Sen. Jim King's "merlot to go" bill to allow patrons at restaurants to take home unfinished bottles of wine.

The legislation (SB 1114) has attracted widespread state and national attention and is backed by the Florida Restaurant Association. Restaurants must choose to participate, however, and patrons must reseal the wine and follow other requirements such as putting the bottle in a locked compartment or trunk during their drive home.

King, R-Jacksonville, said his bill will promote economic development, tourism and sobriety, since patrons will no longer feel forced to drink any remaining wine after finishing their meal. Sen. Lisa Carlton, R-Osprey, said she voted against the bill because it promoted alcohol.

A House version of King's bill, HB 719, is still being heard in committees.

J. Taylor Rushing

OUTSOURCING SAFEGUARDS

Legislation to tighten scrutiny over Florida's outsourcing procedures were pushed through the Senate Thursday by Sen. …

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