Florida’s top lawmakers have decided there are no urgent issues with regard to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill that necessitate convening another special session of the Legislature.
In July, Gov. Charlie Crist called lawmakers back to Tallahassee and gave them four days to consider authorizing a constitutional amendment that would ban oil drilling in state waters. The Republican-led Legislature met in special session for less than an hour and killed all attempts to put the issue on the ballot in November.
As a result of the failed special session, House Speaker Larry Cretul created work groups to examine issues related to the oil spill to determine if another special session would be necessary.
The work groups evaluated responses to the current incident and preparedness for future incidents, assessed resources to meet the needs of affected areas, studied processes for compensation, reviewed public sector recovery of damages, identified long-term regional economic recovery opportunities, and examined the adequacy of penalties levied following environmental disasters.
After reviewing reports from the workgroup last week, Cretul said another special session is not necessary.
“Based on the work groups’ recommendations, it would appear that while there are some issues where legislative action may be appropriate, there are no issues that require immediate formal legislative action,” he said. “Additionally, there are several areas where it is clear that we do not yet possess the information necessary to make informed decisions.”
Many issues require solutions that would benefit from closer scrutiny during a regular legislative session, Cretul said.