TALLAHASSEE — Former Gov. Charlie Crist and former Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink returned to the Capitol on Wednesday to try to do what they couldn't while in office: ban oil drilling.
Sink and Crist joined Democratic lawmakers and environmental activists to launch a petition drive to place a constitutional amendment banning drilling on the November 2012 ballot.
"This puts it in the hands of the people and that's exactly where it should be," said Crist, who failed to persuade legislators to put the question on the 2010 ballot. The amendment, if it makes the ballot and receives 60 percent of the vote, would prohibit drilling or exploration in waters within 10 miles of shore. The petition is available at saveourfloridabeaches.net.
"It's time for the people of Florida to stand up and say we don't have to worry about the Legislature," said Sink, who lost the governor's race to Rick Scott. "We'll go straight to the amendment process."
Crist, who took a job with law firm Morgan & Morgan after losing the U.S. Senate race to Marco Rubio, sidestepped opportunities to criticize Scott or his budget proposal in talking with reporters.
But not Sink. She said Scott's education plan would kill jobs, and that making teachers take a de facto 5 percent pay cut by having them contribute to their retirement is wrong.
"To cut teacher salaries 5 percent — we ought to be talking about how to increase teacher salary," Sink said. "That's going to have a very destabilizing and negative impact on our economy, and it will impact jobs in a negative way."