Crist signs 'shylock' bill; other developments
Gov. Charlie Crist on Monday signed a bill removing the words "shylock" and "shylocking" from the Florida statute books, a term widely viewed as demeaning to Jewish Floridians. The governor was accompanied by Rabbi Schnurr Oirchman and four Democratic lawmakers who worked to pass the bill (SB 318): Sens. Nan Rich and Eleanor Sobel and Reps. Elaine Schwartz and Richard Steinberg.
[Gov. Charlie Crist signs the bill. SCOTT KEELER | Times]
On other matters:
* Crist said "there's still an opportunity for a good decision to be made" and for legislators to reach a budget deal by Friday, an idea most lawmakers have rejected as impossible. He declined a reporter's suggestion that he personally convene Senate President Jeff Atwater and House Speaker Larry Cretul
together in public, a scene that his predecessor, Jeb Bush, might have made happen by now. "I'm still hopeful. I think it's important that we continue to work hard and do what's necessary. But I have my own style," he said.
* The governor does not want to see the Senate combine offshore oil drilling and some of his energy proposals in the same bill. "Each of those ideas can stand on their own merit," he said.
* Crist said he is ready to sign an executive order dealing with the possibility of cases of swine flu in Florida if necessary, after a briefing with Surgeon General Ana Viamonte-Ros.
"Isn't this fun? It's pretty cool," Crist sais to Sobel as she sat next to him during a bill signing ceremony as a half dozen TV and newspaper cameras captured the moment. Rich told Crist she wants to return for another bill-signing ceremony, following expected passage of her bill requiring stricter enforcement of seat belt violations. "Yeah, yeah. I'm on board," Crist replied.