Texting while driving ban passes, goes to Gov. Rick Scott

Last Updated: Thursday, May 16, 2013, 1:25 PM EDT
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Florida lawmakers have passed a statewide ban on texting while driving.

The Senate passed a bill (SB 52) on Thursday by 39-1. Republican Sen. Joe Negron of Stuart was the only no vote.

The House approved it earlier this week but added a provision allowing police to use drivers' mobile phone records against them only when texting causes a crash resulting in death or personal injury. That change required it to come back to the Senate.

Bill sponsor Sen. Nancy Detert said she decided "not to let the perfect get in the way of the possible" and agreed to the late amendment.

The bill now goes to Gov. Rick Scott's desk. Thirty-nine states and the District of Columbia already have texting-while-driving bans for all drivers.

Also Thursday...

More homes on Citizens Insurance to go to private insurers

A measure that makes modest changes to Citizens Property Insurance is heading to the desk of Gov. Rick Scott.

The Florida Senate voted 32-1 in favor of the bill (SB 1770) which creates a clearinghouse that will attempt to shift homeowners over to private insurers. The legislation also puts a $700,000 cap on the value of homes that can be insured by Citizens.

Citizens has nearly 1.3 million policyholders.

The Florida Senate initially passed a bill that would have allowed Citizens to charge much higher rates to new customers. But the House refused to go along with the bill.

Lawmakers have pushed to shrink Citizens because of fears that it may not enough have enough money to cover damages from a massive hurricane or a series of storms.

Fla. Legislature makes it easier to evict tenants

Florida legislators are making it easier to evict tenants under a bill now heading to Gov. Rick Scott.

The Florida House voted 92-25 in favor of the bill on Thursday. The Florida Senate approved it last week.

The legislation was pushed by Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, who is an investment property manager. Court records show Stargel has been forced to evict people who rent property she owns.

Under the bill a tenant could pay partial rent and still be evicted within days if they fail to turn over the rest of the money.

The measure (HB 77) would also allow a landlord to evict a tenant if a person if breaks rules twice in one year. Those rules can include parking in the wrong spot or having an unauthorized pet.