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Dan Gelber, Keith Fitzgerald and Rick Kriseman urge Charlie Crist to call Summer Special Session

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State Sen. Dan Gelber (D-Miami Beach) and state Reps. Keith Fitzgerald (D-Sarasota) and Rick Kriseman (D-St. Petersburg) today sent a letter to Governor Charlie Crist urging him to convene the legislature in a summer special session to address the complex challenges from the BP oil spill. In their letter, the trio present five areas on which legislative leaders should focus their attention during the special session.

“I renew my call for Governor Crist to summon the legislature back into a summer special session to confront head on solutions to these complex challenges,” said Sen. Gelber. “The special session must include aggressive measures that protect Floridians by ensuring that the state has the proper laws in place to hold BP and others accountable, coupled with a constitutional amendment to ban near-shore drilling.”

“Inaction by the legislature is not an option Floridians can tolerate,” said Rep. Fitzgerald. “We must accept the fact that families and businesses throughout Florida are having their livelihoods and their primary source of income washed away from this horrific incident. And it’s time that the pro-oil supporters put their interests aside and allow the legislature to get to work on solutions that can mitigate the pain.”

“These are proposals that must be addressed immediately,” said Rep. Kriseman. “Passage of this legislation will provide short-term relief and long-term protections.  I applaud Governor Crist for being open-minded and seriously considering our requests, and trust he will continue to put the interests of Florida and its citizens first despite the efforts of some out-of-touch politicians in the Florida Legislature.”

In their letter, the three lawmakers offer five items that should be included in the special session:

ü  Revise Statutes to Maximize Recovery for Victims

ü  Give Attorney General environmental crimes authority

ü  Create Compensation Commissioner to facilitate recovery

ü  Small Business Relief

ü  Near-shore drilling ban

Gelber added, “Floridians are nervous and rightfully so.  BP’s promises to ‘make things right’ only go so far, and it’s more than possible that our state’s share of a $20 billion escrow will be woefully inadequate to compensate Florida for the decades of damage that may follow. So while I hope for the best, we must prepare for the worst and make sure we have the backs of our residents and businesses that may find themselves damaged by BP’s gross negligence.”

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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