Saying he was moved by the death of a highway patrol trooper this month, Gov. Rick Scott announced Tuesday he will veto SB 392, which would have raised the speed limit by 5 miles per hour on some highway stretches.
In a conference with reporters after the Cabinet meeting, Scott said he attended the funeral last Thursday of Master Trooper Chelsea Richard, 30, killed on duty May 3 along with a tow truck driver and the driver's friend, when a pickup truck veered onto the shoulder of Interstate 75 near Ocala.
With Scott at the funeral was Attorney General Pam Bondi, politicians, hundreds of law enforcement officials from agencies inside the state and out and many complete strangers, according to news reports.
"It was convincing," the governor told reporters. "(Richard) ... had a 4-year-old son."
At her funeral, Richard's fellow officers asked Scott to veto the controversial bill -- legislation that bumped along, barely passing in the House every step of the way. On the House floor it passed 58-56, with eight members not voting.
No agency had asked for the increase and no agency spoke on its behalf.
"I'm going to stand with law enforcement," Scott said. "I want everybody to stay safe. I dont want anybody to be injured, so I'm going to veto that bill.
After the governor promised a veto, messages of thanks came into his office. Here are some of them:
Kevin Bakewell, senior vice president of AAA, The Auto Club Group, said, AAA thanks Gov. Scott for listening to our organization and to constituents across the state when he announced his veto of the increase to speed limits on Florida highways. By his action today, the governor has demonstrated a commitment to the safety of Floridians and the millions who visit our state every year, and we are proud to stand with him.
President of the Florida Sheriffs Association and Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said, The announcement that Gov. Scott will veto the increase to speed limits on our highways is welcome news. By standing together with law enforcement and safety advocates today, Gov. Scott is sending a clear message that he is focused on keeping Floridians safe.
Amy Mercer, executive director of the Florida Police Chiefs Association said, Creating the safest possible environment for Floridas families and visitors is our No. 1 goal, and that is especially true of our highways. Gov. Scotts decision to veto the increase of speed limits on Floridas highways will help ensure this goal is met, and will also help keep our law enforcement officers safe as they serve our state.
Colonel David Brierton of the Florida Highway Patrol said, I applaud Gov. Scotts veto of the legislation that would have allowed speed limits to increase on our roads. This decision exemplifies the governors strong support of the law enforcement community and his continuing commitment to the safety and well-being of Floridas families and visitors.
Wakulla County Sheriff Charlie Creel said, Gov. Scott made a smart choice today when he announced that he will veto the irresponsible increase of speeds on our highways. The law enforcement community stands with Gov. Scott as we work to keep all Floridians safe.
Walter Dartland, executive director of the Consumer Federation of the Southeast said, Gov. Scott has taken a positive step for everyone who drives or rides on Floridas highways. This legislation was a bad idea from a safety standpoint, and it was even worse when you consider the potential impact to consumers of higher insurance rates, reduced fuel efficiency and other societal costs.