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  • Charlie Crist is a boogeyman for many in GOP primaries 1, August23, 2016
    Former Governor Charlie Crist isn’t on the ballot until November in his effort to become a Congressman in his hometown of St. Petersburg, but as Mike Vasilinda tells us, the former Republican turned Democrat could be a factor in multiple  primary races next week. As Governor, Charlie Crist had sky high approval ratings, but now, […]
    Mike Vasilinda
  • Solar Push Heading into Primary 1, August23, 2016
    Early voting is in full swing and the primary is next week, but as Matt Galka tells us, voters will be deciding on more than local elections with a group of environmentalists pushing a constitutional amendment. Florida voters have a solar choice in the August primary. On the ballot – Amendment 4 – which gives […]
    Matt Galka
  • FPL seeking one point three billion for “good service” 1, August22, 2016
    A months long hearing into whether Florida Power and Light should be allowed to increase its rates by one point three billion dollars a year began today in the state Capitol. FPL spokeswoman Sarah Gatewood says the company has earned the increase because it’s done such a good job keeping rates low. “We have worked […]
    Mike Vasilinda
  • Third Grade Retention Policy on Trial 1, August22, 2016
    Parents from six counties (Orange, Hernando, Sarasota,Broward, Osceola, and Pasco)were in court today challenging a star law that requires the retention of third graders who don’t perform well on state assessment tests. As Mike Vasilinda tells us,  the parents told the court their kids were not given alternative ways to be promoted as star law […]
    Mike Vasilinda
  • Opting Out Law Suit takes unusual turn 1, August19, 2016
    Legal gymnastics played out in a Federal Court today in a lawsuit by parents whose kids opted out of state tests last spring and were held back.  As Mike Vasilinda tells us, a state court judge is on track to decide as early as next week if kids who dan’t take a standardized test can […]
    Mike Vasilinda
  • Task Force Makes Dozier Recommendations 1, August19, 2016
    The Dozier School for Boys – the panhandle reform school and site of alleged child beatings, sexual abuses, and murders – still stands. But as Matt Galka tells us, a statewide panel was appointed to try and come up with a proper memorial, and in their final meeting – solutions were hard to come by. […]
    Matt Galka
  • Pharmacy Flap Could Limit Patient Access 1, August18, 2016
    More than 650 thousand Floridians receiving Medicaid in Florida are being told that after November first,  they can only use big chain pharmacies to have prescriptions filled. As Mike Vasilinda tells us, the policy of two providers has locally owned drug stores crying foul. Massy Pharmacy is a locally owned business in Quincy Florida…25 miles […]
    Mike Vasilinda
  • Citizens Insurance Seeking Rate Increase 1, August18, 2016
    Nearly half a million Floridians have a state-run Citizens property insurance policy, the so called “insurer of last resort.” As Matt Galka tells us, Floridians who are sticking with citizens could be paying more next year. A rate hike for Citizens customers? Policy holder Joe Walsh from Monroe County told state regulators ‘no way’ Thursday. A […]
    Matt Galka
  • Changes coming to Guardianships in Florida 1, August17, 2016
    New legislation licensing public guardians, the people who care for someone when their families can’t, are coming under strict new scrutiny after years of complaints of abuse. As Mike Vasilinda tells us,  the new protections are the result of dozens of families pushing back against the system. We’ve followed the saga of Doug Franks and […]
    Mike Vasilinda
  • Bear Management 1, August17, 2016
    The Fish and Wildlife Commission has 825 thousand dollars this year to help local governments and residents bear proof their neighborhoods. Today, FWC signed an agreement with Waste Pro to provide bear resistant trash container in the panhandle. FWC Chairman Brian Yablonski says Floridians need to be more involved in bear proofing their property. “You […]
    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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