Bill would force payment for lost school supplies

TALLAHASSSEE — Florida legislators are going to school in their quest for money.

A Senate bill (SB 1248) approved in committee Thursday would give school districts the authority to seek from parents 100 percent of the actual replacement cost for instructional materials not returned at the end of the school year.

The measure’s sponsor, Sen. Stephen Wise, R-Jacksonville, said lost inventory in public schools in the past two years totaled more than $65 million.

During Thursday’s debate, one lawmaker suggested that teachers and school administrators also be held accountable for missing supplies and equipment.

Schools’ zero tolerance policies

TALLAHASSEE — Florida lawmakers want school districts to come up with some realistic “zero tolerance” policies so youngsters using plastic knives to spread peanut butter on bread don’t wind up in the state’s juvenile justice system.

Sen. Stephen Wise, R-Jacksonville, used that example Thursday before his proposal (SB 1540) won unanimous committee approval. The House is also considering similar legislation.

Lawmakers eye eyewear tax

TALLAHASSEE — Buy a pair of prescription glasses or contacts in Florida, and there’s no tax, but lawmakers are taking a closer look at that tax exemption and others.

Lobbyists for ophthalmologist and optometrists stood in front of the House Finance and Tax Council on Thursday, telling lawmakers they shouldn’t tax the 30 percent or more of Floridians who wear glasses.

One estimate says the state could get more than $45 million a year by taxing contacts and glasses — a sum lobbyists disputed.

Tax glitch bill goes to governor

TALLAHASSEE — A bill to fix a corporation income tax law glitch, which could have cost Florida businesses millions, was the first measure to pass both houses.

A unanimous House vote sent the bill to Gov. Charlie Crist. He is expected to sign it.

— Herald wire reports