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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Will House agree to expand session for Panhandle economic relief?



Pressure is mounting for legislators to expand the special session next week to revamp Florida's laws to help ailing Panhandle residents recover from the financial hit of the oil disaster.

A committee of the Senate's leading Republicans and Democrats, along with Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, are urging Gov. Charlie Crist and the House to go beyond the debate over putting a constitutional amendment on the November ballot when they meet July 20-23 to including economic relief for thousands of businesses, individuals and governments. "The urgency is that people are going bankrupt -- or about to go bankrupt,'' Sink said Tuesday.

But House leaders continued to stonewall. They are convinced that Crist's call for the July 20-23 session to ban oil drilling in Florida waters is a self-serving political ploy designed to help him garner attention for his U.S. Senate bid. They think it's illogical for anyone to pursue oil drilling now, in light of the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

"The situation in Northwest Florida deserves serious attention,'' said Rep. Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park, in a statement. Cannon is designated to be House speaker in 2011, and his Orlando-area district is land-locked and oil free. More here.


[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 10:47am]


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