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  • Untitled 1, April16, 2015
    Hard ball politics over health care reform are on full display at the State Capitol this week, and as Mike Vasilinda tells us, Governor Rick Scott is now threatening legal action against the Obama Administration. ”We need you to flip one more time Rick!” Rick Scott was once for expanded healthcare. Now he is against […]
    Mike Vasilinda
  • End of Life Marijuana 1, April16, 2015
    Debate over legislation allowing terminally ill people to use experimental drugs turned into a debate about medical marijuana at the state Capitol today. Rep. John Wood, of Winter Haven sited the constitution and says sick people who believe marijuana will help their condition should go ahead and break the law. “The right to try represents […]
    Mike Vasilinda
  • Online Voter Registration 1, April16, 2015
    Registering to vote by using a pen and paper in person could be a thing of the past under a proposed online voter registration bill. But as Matt Galka tells us, one of the Governor’s top officials, the Secretary of State, is adamantly opposed, much to the dismay of Senators. Florida lawmakers say it’s about […]
    Matt Galka
  • Same Sex Bathroom Bills fails to get key Committee Hearing 1, April15, 2015
    Same sex bathroom legislation that has been highly controversial a the state capitol failed to get a key committee hearing  this week effectively killing the bill. But as Mike Vasilinda tells us, transgender activists say it is too early to claim total victory. the legislation requires people to use restrooms matching the gender on their […]
    Mike Vasilinda
  • Millennials Push for Health Care Extension 1, April15, 2015
    As the House and Senate remain divided over how and whether to expand health care using Federal money, two dozen young adults told reports they were being forced to choose between education or careers and health care. Charlotte Cassell is a young lawyer for Florida Legal Services who has a client in dire need of […]
    Mike Vasilinda
  • Seer Sucker Suit Day in the Legislature 1, April15, 2015
    Blue and white seersucker suits, a trademark of times gone by were revived at the state capitol today by two dozen or so state House members. The annual day is a nod to when times were more simple. Wikipedia says seersucker weave was introduced to the American south, probably through British colonial trade, sometime in […]
    Mike Vasilinda
  • Senior Day at the Capitol 1, April15, 2015
    Rain didn’t dampen the spirits of a thousand senior citizens at the state Capitol today. Some came to make their voices heard on health care, others, like Donnell Crews of Jacksonville came to make his wish for the future known. “What I’d really like to see is mass rail system in Florida. A mass rail […]
    Mike Vasilinda
  • Bear Hunt Likely 1, April15, 2015
    It could soon be open season on bears in Florida, but as Matt Galka tells us, animal rights advocates say killing the animal isn’t the way to go about cutting down dangerous interactions with humans. Protestors took to the state’s Fish and Wildlife meeting Wednesday. Bryan Wilson put on a bear costume before it began but […]
    Matt Galka
  • Body Camera Legislation Watered Down in Senate, but is it Enough? 1, April14, 2015
    Legislation giving police almost total control over who can see video from body cameras was watered down today at the state Capitol, but as Mike Vasilinda tells us, open government advocates say the legislation is almost self defeating. The video of a man fleeing and being shot by a police officer in South Carolina. If […]
    Mike Vasilinda
  • Gaetz for US Senate? 1, April14, 2015
    Former State Senate President Don Gaetz is considering running for the US Senate seat being vacated by Marco Rubio. Gaetz says he never considered such a run until people started reaching out to him this weekend. “Ah, but when you get calls from people you respected admire, as I have. People here and elsewhere around […]
    Mike Vasilinda

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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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