TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Legislators in Florida have approved a bill repealing a law from last year that requires foreigners visiting the state to have international driving permits.

The bill passed unanimously in the Florida House on Wednesday and now goes to the Senate, where it is expected to pass as well.

Under the law that quietly took effect in January, foreign drivers who didn't have the $25 permit that translates license information into English could have been charged with driving without a license.

Florida officials had said the law was passed so police weren't faced with foreign licence documents in languages they couldn't understand.

But as the law prompted a flurry of indignant reaction in mid February, much of it from Canadians, the state highway department learned that the permit requirement violated an international driving treaty.

At the time, the department said it would "not take enforcement action" based solely on the lack of the permit, and would work on amending the legislation.

Under Florida's laws, international visitors still must have a valid license from their country of residence to drive in the state.

The passage of the bill repealing the contentious law will be welcome news for the many Canadians who pushed for Florida to accommodate Canuck drivers who frequently motor around the state.

Many had expressed astonishment at the lack of publicity around the new rules.

Even the Canadian Automobile Association had said it only learned of the change when an American Automobile Association worker in Florida called to discuss the changes.

Officials in Florida had scrambled to reassure Canadians they were still welcome to visit the state as news of the change prompted a flurry of anxious questions and angry responses from snowbirds.

Florida's official state tourism marketing corporation has identified Canada as its top international market. Visit Florida said 3.1 million Canadians travelled to the state in 2010.

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    Beneath spreading Live Oak branches, Trinity Episcopal Church has served <a href="http://www.visitflorida.com/Apalachicola" target="_hplink">Apalachicola</a> since 1838. [Colin Hackley for <a href="http://www.visitflorida.com" target="_hplink">VISIT FLORIDA</a>]

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    After 18 years and covering more area than any other festival of its kind, <a href="http://www.visitflorida.com/Lake_Worth" target="_hplink">Lake Worth</a> claims bragging rights to having the largest street painting festival in the country. [Peter W. Cross for <a href="http://www.visitflorida.com" target="_hplink">VISIT FLORIDA</a>]

  • Stuart

    The St. Lucie River is <a href="http://www.visitflorida.com/Stuart" target="_hplink">Stuart's</a> water gem. There's Riverwalk Stage, the fishing pier and boat docks as well as a beautiful boardwalk where you can take a stroll along the river's edge. [Peter W. Cross for <a href="http://www.visitflorida.com/" target="_hplink">VISIT FLORIDA</a>]

  • Madison

    Lunch is served at Rancho Grande Mexican restaurant, one block from <a href="http://www.visitflorida.com/Sebring" target="_hplink">Madison's</a> courthouse. [Colin Hackley for <a href="http://www.visitflorida.com" target="_hplink">VISITFLORIDA</a>]

  • Micanopy

    Mosswood Farm Store and Bake House in <a href="http://www.visitflorida.com/Micanopy" target="_hplink">Micanopy</a> sells organic foods, coffee and artisan bread baked in a brick oven. [Lara Cerri and Ted McLaren for <a href="http://www.visitflorida.com/" target="_hplink">VISITFLORIDA.com</a>]

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    Visitors stroll along the wooden boardwalk at Cooter Pond Park in <a href="http://www.visitflorida.com/Inverness" target="_hplink">Inverness</a>. [Lara Cerri for <a href="http://www.visitflorida.com" target="_hplink">VISIT FLORIDA</a>]

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    <a href="http://www.visitflorida.com/DeLand" target="_hplink">DeLand</a> history is told in a series of vivid murals that illustrate the town's evolution. [Julie Fletcher for <a href="http://www.visitflorida.com/" target="_hplink">VISIT FLORIDA</a>]

  • Winter Park

    Quaint alleyways provide intimate dining and shopping experiences. <a href="http://www.visitflorida.com/" target="_hplink">Winter Park</a> is best-known for its outdoor cafes, bistros, upscale specialty shops, history and culture. It has many museums and galleries in the downtown core. [Julie Fletcher for <a href="http://www.visitflorida.com/" target="_hplink">VISIT FLORIDA</a>]

  • Leesburg

    <a href="http://www.visitflorida.com/Leesburg" target="_hplink">Leesburg's</a> Mote Morris house, built in 1892, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The building was moved one block south and two blocks west from its original location in 1990. [Lara Cerri for <a href="http://www.visitflorida.com/" target="_hplink">VISIT FLORIDA</a>]

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    Forty of the orignal 100 feet is all that remains of the Florida East Coast Railway Station, constructed in 1896 and located just one block north of Atlantic Avenue in downtown <a href="http://www.visitflorida.com/Delray_Beach" target="_hplink">Delray Beach</a>. [Peter W. Cross for <a href="http://www.visitflorida.com" target="_hplink">VISIT FLORIDA</a>]

  • Cedar Key

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  • Monticello

    Locals gather for food and a how do you do in <a href="http://www.visitflorida.com/Monticello" target="_hplink">Monticello</a>. [Colin Hackley for <a href="http://www.visitflorida.com" target="_hplink">VISIT FLORIDA</a>]