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Florida oil drilling special session abruptly ends with no vote
TALLAHASSEE, Florida: After months of discussion, the special session ended the very day that it started. After less than 50 minutes from convening the House voted 67-44 to adjourn the session. The Senate voted 18-16 to adjourn. The session, called for by Gov. Charlie Crist, was arranged to discuss and vote on referring a constitutional amendment to the 2010 general election ballot.
The proposed Oil Drilling Ban Amendment called for permanently ending efforts to open Florida's near-shore waters to oil and gas exploration. The measure was developed following the 2010 explosion on an oil drilling rig that lead to a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Some called the measure redundant because a statewide law currently exists that doesn't allow oil drilling between three to 10 miles offshore. Others, however, called it necessary.
In reaction to the votes by the legislature to end the session, Gov. Crist said, "I am significantly disappointed for the people of Florida...I call this legislature the do-nothing legislature. And I'm going to give them hell for it." Additionally, Crist said that he does not plan to call the legislature back for a second special session. It is reported that the next attempt for a drilling ban amendment may not be until the 2012 ballot.
Of the decision to adjourn the session, House Speaker Larry Cretul said, "The fact remains that he has called us here at the last possible moment to consider a constitutional amendment for which he never proposed language and permitted far too little time for reflection and review. That is a terrible way to propose constitutional changes." According to reports, Cretul and Senate President Jeffrey Atwater planned to review the oil spill situation in the Gulf and planned to convene later in 2010.
- Florida special session to ban offshore drilling scheduled for mid-July
- Florida 2010 ballot measures
- Associated Press, "Fla. House adjourns oil drilling session, no vote," July 20, 2010
- The Jacksonville Observer, "Constitutional Drilling Ban Dead Until 2012 at the Earliest," July 21, 2010
- The Palm Beach Post, "Crist says he won't call 'do-nothing legislature' back on oil," July 20, 2010
- Sunshine State News, "House Spikes Charlie Crist's Special Session," July 20, 2010