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Parasailing Rules Soar Through Senate

Associated Press

A long-sought effort to impose regulations on the parasailing industry glided Monday through its second Senate committee.

The Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee unanimously supported a measure (SB 320) that would prohibit parasailing operations when sustained winds are 20 mph or higher or when lightning storms are within seven miles.

The bill, which comes after similar proposals repeatedly failed in past legislative sessions, also would require parasailing operators to have at least $1 million in liability coverage.

The proposal is named the "White-Miskell Act" after two people killed while parasailing in Florida in recent years. However, the proposed regulations gained support after two Indiana teens were videotaped last summer being seriously injured while parasailing in Panama City Beach, which is within the district of Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville.  

The bill, sponsored by Delray Beach Democrat Maria Sachs, has one more committee appearance before reaching the Senate floor.

The House version of the bill (HB 347) has gone through two committees without opposition and still needs to go to the Regulatory Affairs Committee.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission estimates there are about 100 active commercial operators in Florida, mostly along the coasts, with one at Walt Disney World on Bay Lake in Orange County.

Also in Tallahassee:

Attorney General Pam Bondi and a closely linked political committee combined to raise $204,250 in February, as the incumbent Republican continued to build on her fund-raising lead, according to newly filed reports.

Bondi collected $114,250 for her campaign account, raising its total to $850,621. Also, a committee known as "Justice for All" raised $90,000 in February and reported a total of $484,250. Another Bondi committee, "And Justice for All," did not raise money in February but previously had collected slightly more than $1 million.

One of Bondi's Democratic challengers, former Department of Children and Families Secretary George Sheldon collected $64,621 for his campaign account in February, bringing its total to $143,133.

Meanwhile, another Democratic candidate, House Minority Leader Perry Thurston, collected $52,615 for his campaign account, bringing its total to $91,109.

Also Monday, state Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater reported raising $210,665 in February, giving his campaign account a total of nearly $1.5 million. 

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