Mitch Perry Report 5.14.14: You still can't drive 75 in Florida

A host of bills from the 2014 Florida legislative session await Governor Rick Scott's signature, among them two pro-life bills that have angered Democrats and some women's groups, prompting a conference call to protest them led by DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz yesterday.

But it's a bill the governor refused to sign that's getting him the most press.

Yesterday, he vetoed SB 392, a bill that would have increased the speed limit on some Florida highways from 70 to 75 mph, and he's getting rave reviews for doing so.

"I'm going to stand with law enforcement and I want everybody to stay safe," Scott said at his press event Tuesday in signaling his opposition to the Jeff Brandes/Jeff Clemens bipartisan bill. 

And really, what's the downside to doing this politically? Zero. The folks who care most about this bill are folks like Florida legislators who have to make long commutes up I-75. Throw in the parents of students attending UF, FSU or UM from the Tampa area. And maybe some others whose jobs requires them to drive on those highways. The rest of us? Hell, most of us go faster than 70 mph anyway. The rule of thumb, a former Tampa Police Chief said once, was that there was a cushion of around 5-8 mph that most officers would give. Whether that's true or not, as long as there's no state trooper around, most folks exceed the speed limit. Moving it up to 75 mph would allow people who have long drives to get to their destination quicker, but the statistics are incontrovertible that it's more dangerous. 

No, Governor Scott would have created a stink if he had actually signed the bill. So if you're glad he didn't, thank Trooper Tod Cloud, whose comments to Scott last week apparently persuaded the gov to oppose the legislation. Cloud also advised the governor to consider  reducing the speed limit on I-75 to 55 when the road surface is wet from rain. I wholeheartedly agree, and you would too if you were on I-75 12 days ago when torrential rains hit the Tampa Bay area. There's too much pressure to continue to drive at a rapid rate when in fact weather conditions almost blind you while driving on an interstate road.

In other news… Where do we begin about Ed Jany and CD13? Well, just read our story here if you haven't yet.

And while hashtag activism is certainly ripe for discussion, some of the criticism coming from the political right seems overzealous. Take former Congressman Allen West. Please. The Tea Party favorite, who's currently out of office, drew attention to his blog when he said he thought there was a "Wag the Dog" element to the administration's focus on the kidnapped Nigerian girls.

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