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Senate passes streamlined seaport security rules

In an effort to improve the flow of business at Florida's roughly one dozen seaports, the Florida Senate on Wednesday approved a proposal that would streamline security requirements that currently force port workers to undergo separate security screenings -- and pay separate fees -- at every port.

The dozens of identification cards workers need for each port can cost more than $2,500 a year.

The proposal by Sen. Dave Aronberg, D-Greenacres, and Rep. Sandy Adams, R-Orlando -- which cleared the Senate 36-2 -- would allow ports to share security screening information, enabling workers to carry one ID card and reducing fees by at least 95 percent.

A similar proposal cleared the House last week, and the bill now heads to the governor.

Supporters say multiple layers of port security and bureaucracy have gotten so bad that it has driven business away from Florida ports and into other states.

"This is a bill that will significantly reduce the cost to workers," Aronberg said. "And it will cut down on red tape...This is going to be good for workers and good for security.