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Higher speed limit may be Scott's first veto target

Gov. Rick Scott says he has not decided whether to sign or veto the bill that increases the speed limit on Florida interstates to 75 miles per hour. But signs are growing that Scott could make the bill (SB 392) a target of his veto pen.

Scott attended a funeral service last week for Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Chelsea Renee Richard, who was struck and killed on I-75 in Ocala on May 3 while she investigated a traffic accident.

The young trooper, who died one week before her 31st birthday, left a four-year-old son. The heavily-traveled stretch of I-75 is one of the areas where drivers could go 75 under the bill awaiting Scott's decision.

At the funeral, The Ocala Star-Banner reported, Trooper Tod Cloud told Scott that it "wasn't a bright idea" for lawmakers to support higher speeds on interstates, and that people often "do not drive with common sense" on I-75. Contrary to supporting higher speeds, Cloud said the state should reduce the speed limit to 55 on I-75 when the road surface is wet from rain.

On Monday, to mark the start of National Police Week, the Florida State Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police and other police organizations announced they are designating June as "Move Over, Slow Down, Save a Life" month in Florida. Two other people, a tow truck driver and his friend, were also killed in the same crash that claimed the trooper's life.

FOP President James Preston said his group is considering making a recommendation to Scott on the speed limit bill. "We haven't yet. We're discussing it," Preston said. "We know it's on his desk." (Scott does not have possession of the bill yet, and he will have 15 days to act when he gets it). 

AAA Auto Club South is seeking a meeting with Scott or his staff to make the case for a veto, and public reaction from constituents is running heavily against the measure. It passed the Senate 27-11 and the House 58-56 and was the closest House floor vote of the 2014 session.