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Rivera backs off stem cell, Cuba travel bans

Miami Republican Republican Rep. David Rivera decided it wasn't worth pushing budget proviso banning higher-education institutions from spending tax money on embryonic stem cell research or travel to terrorist nations -- that is, Cuba.

Rivera acknowledged that universities don't have the money anyway to pursue the expensive research, and that a current law still limits taxpayer funds from being spent on Cuba travel.

Plus, Rivera said, Floridia International University will now get the full amount of money (c. $20m) to build and staff an FIU medical center. A trade off? No says Rivera. He called it a "compromise."

The House also decided not to push a driver-education course for first-time Florida drivers, criticized in the Capitol as a late-breaking vendor-driven idea that one benefit just one client. The House and Senate have also agreed to give libraries $14.6m more ($21m total), but Senate President Jeff Atwater and House Speaker Larry Cretul will have to decide where the money will come from. The Senate opposes taking the library money from a transportation trust fund that the Senate nearly holds sacred.