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  • Schools Not Jumping at Uniform Switch 1, August4, 2015
    The legislature put incentive money on the table for schools that made the switch to mandatory uniforms this year. But as Matt Galka tells us, not many districts are jumping at the idea. Teacher Rod Durham didn’t grow up wearing a uniform for school “I did not, I went to the high school I teach […]
    Matt Galka
  • New Environmental Rules 1, August3, 2015
    The President announced a new rule Monday set at cutting into greenhouse gasses that experts say are helping to cause climate change. As Matt Galka tells us, environmentalists in the state are praising the effort. Florida will have to continue to cut down on greenhouse gasses under a new federal plan released Monday.   The […]
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  • Preventing Wildfires 1, July31, 2015
    National wildlife groups  are ramping up efforts across the southeast to help out vulnerable ecosystems, and that includes plant life here in Florida. As Matt Galka tells us, part of that effort is teaching people the difference between good fires and bad fires, and hopefully preventing wildfires. The longleaf pine once stretched from Virginia to Texas […]
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  • Docs vs. Glocks Battle Continues 1, July30, 2015
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  • Third Special Session Called 1, July29, 2015
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  • Walton County Votes to Replace Confederate Flag…With Different Confederate Flag 1, July28, 2015
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  • State, Tribe Fire Off Letters On Gaming 1, July27, 2015
    The deal allowing blackjack and other table games at Seminole casinos in the state is just about up. As Matt Galka tells us, the state is wondering when the Tribe will end those games. Cards are still being dealt at Seminole Casinos around the state…for now.  The provision in the Seminole Compact that gives the […]
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  • State Seeks E-Cig Regulations from Feds 1, July24, 2015
    The state’s top doctor is calling for warning labels on e cigarette devices and vials of liquid nicotine., It is already illegal for anyone under 18 to use or be sold e cigarette products, but as Mike Vasilinda tells us, being illegal hasn’t stopped an explosion in underage use. State lawmakers make it clear last […]
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  • ADA Turns 25 1, July24, 2015
    Life wasn’t easy for Americans living with disabilities a quarter of a century ago. But as Matt Galka tells us, the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities act is a cause for celebration, but doesn’t mean the work is done. John Kemp says there’s no comparison between 2015 and 1990. “It’s so much better […]
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  • Attorneys General Want Big Five Phone Companies to Crack Down on Robo Calls 1, July23, 2015
    If you’ve ever scrambled to answer your phone only to hear a recorded message, you are not alone. As Mike Vasilinda tells us, 45  State Attorneys General, including Florida’s, want the phone companies to do something about the calls. The come on a daily basis. Calls offering something for nothing. “It’s already been paid for, […]
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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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