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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Charlie Crist again calls for special session on oil

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Gov. Charlie Crist, center, meets with, left to right- Capt. Marti Heath, Madeira Beach, Capt. Travis Palladeno, Madeira Beach, and Robert Spaeth, executive director of the Southern Offshore Fishing Association Inc. on Monday morning at Latitudes Restaurant in Madeira Beach. [Scott Keeler, Times]    

Although no consensus among legislative leaders has yet emerged, Gov. Charlie Crist is again calling for a special session to consider a constitutional ban on oil drilling in Florida waters. He said a session could occur as early as July. "I think that is feasible and simply the right thing to do," he said.

Rep. Ron Saunders, the Key West Democrat who is set to be the next minority leader, was with the governor and said the hold-up is incoming House Speaker Dean Cannon, who had previously pushed for drilling off Florida's shores. "People don't want to have to flip flop on their previous vote," Saunders said.

Cannon and other House leaders have said a constitutional ban is not needed. Florida law already bans drilling in Florida waters. And with the backdrop of one of the largest environmental disasters in recent history, lawmakers aren't likely to change that law any time soon.

UPDATE: July looks to be nearly the deadline to pass a proposed amendment. Department of State spokeswoman Jennifer Davis notes that the department must receive proposed changes to the Constitution at least 90 days before the general election. That's Aug. 4.

Cristina Silva, Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau

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[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 11:41am]

    

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