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  • Tracking TS Erika 1, August28, 2015
    Watching and waiting. That’s what state officials and Floridians are doing as all eyes are on Tropical Storm Erika and it’s still to be determined path towards Florida. As Matt Galka tells us, the Governor has already issued a state of emergency. The effect Tropical Storm Erika will have on Florida is still very unclear.  […]
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    A small panhandle dairy 50 miles west of the State Capitol has been fighting the state for three years over whether or not it can sell it’s skim milk without being forced by the state to add vitamins to the milk. As Mike Vasilinda tells us, A federal judge may soon make the call. Ocheese […]
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  • Hurricane Ready 1, August27, 2015
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  • Virginia Shooter had Tallahassee Ties 1, August27, 2015
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  • FSU Murder Suspect 1, August25, 2015
    Nicole Nachtman, the 21 year old Florida State Student accused of killing her mother and stepfather in Tampa, was denied bail Tuesday morning. Matt Galka spoke to students living in the same dorm she was about the shocking arrest just before school started. This video shows Florida State Student Nicole Nachtman making her first appearance […]
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  • Right Medicine, Right Time Legislation to be Filed (Again) 1, August24, 2015
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  • Legislature Adjourns without Congressional Map 1, August21, 2015
    State lawmakers gave themselves 12 days to come up with a map of new congressional districts. Time ran out a noon with no map, and as Mike Vasilinda tells us, one side refusing to keep working until next week. The meltdown began Friday morning when Senate negotiators walked out of a meeting with their House […]
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Number of Special Session Subjects Growing

July 12th, 2010 by Anna Laura Rehwinkel

Legislative leaders, forced to come back to Tallahassee for a special session on oil drilling, may use the opportunity to work on more than just a drilling ban. Since the announcement, as Whitney Ray tells us, lawmakers have been busy thinking of other ways to use the session.

Governor Charlie Crist was very clear when he called lawmakers back to Tallahassee to consider a constitutional ban on offshore oil drilling.

This is a rifle shot. This is one issue. This is very tightly drafted, Crist said

But Crists wishes dont carry as much weight as they did before he broke with the Republican Party to run for office as an independent. Once lawmakers get back on this floor anything could happen. Theyre likely to vote for some form of a drilling ban, but they may also take up other issues.

The negotiations have already begun to shorten the ban to five years. Legislative leaders may also rewrite a redistricting amendment a judge kicked off the ballot. Representative Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda is filing legislation to set a state renewable energy goal and to create incentives for people to use alternative energy.

Now is the time. Now I think Floridians feel it. They know what we need to do. I think they know that we need to have alternative energy sources, and actually its another way to get people back to work, said Rehwinkel Vasilinda.

Democrats are supporting the push to use the special session to promote renewable energy.

If we can bring forth a renewable portfolio standard at the same time we are in session, then I think the citizens really get a bang for their buck, said Williams.

Whatever happens in the special session, its likely to follow lawmakers through November when voters will decides who gets to keep their seat. The special session is scheduled to run from July 20th, through the 23rd. If the constitutional ban on drilling in state water is going to make it onto the November ballot, lawmakers will have to approve the resolution before August 4th.

Why Supporters Say a Constitutional Ban is Needed

Opponents of a special session to put a constitutional ban on offshore oil drilling on the November ballot says its not needed. Their reasoning: Florida already has a ban on drilling in state waters. But supporters of the constitutional ban say the current law isnt strong enough, and they point to last years vote by the state House to lift the ban. Eric Draper of Audubon Florida says putting the ban in the state constitution would keep lawmakers from caving into pressure from oil lobbyist to lift the ban.

Because the legislature voted to eliminate the ban on drilling in Floridas waters, thats why we need to put it in the constitution. We need to make it permanent so that you cant have the oil industry coming in here, buying off legislators, and changing the law. Thats what happened last year, said Draper.

The House voted to give the governor and state cabinet the authority to lift the ban, but the state Senate never voted on the issue; thus killing the measure.

Posted in Charlie Crist, Environment, Gulf Oil Spill, Legislature, State News, Wildlife | No Comments »

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