TALLAHASSEE – The Florida House abruptly adjourned a special legislative session after 49 minutes Tuesday, rejecting Gov. Charlie Crist’s proposal to let voters place a permanent ban on offshore drilling in the Florida Constitution.
The party-line vote to adjourn the session was 67 to 44, with Republicans supporting adjournment and Democrats in favor of continuing the debate.
A heckler from the visitors’ gallery shouted that all 67 were “in the pocket of BP.”
The Senate adjourned at 2:20 p.m. with an 18-16 vote.
House Speaker Larry Cretul began the special session at 12:02 p.m. and promptly rejected Gov. Charlie Crist’s call for a referendum to ban oil drilling. Instead, Cretul criticized the nonpartisan governor for his “surprise proclamation” calling lawmakers back to Tallahassee on short notice.
“The fact remains that he has called us here at the last possible moment to consider a constitutional amendment for which he never proposed any language and permitted far too little time for reflection and review,” Cretul told the House and a visitor gallery packed with drilling protesters. “This is a terrible way to propose constitutional changes.”
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