Florida politicos compete for items other than offshore drilling to be debated in next week's special session

And then you have representatives like Tallahassee Democrat Michelle Rehwinkle Vasilinda, who wants a bill setting aside $150 million to boost solar, wind and other alternative energy sources.  Also, the Florida Renewable Energy Producers Association is calling for an initiative requiring utilities to draw more of their power from renewable sources.

Hillsborough area Republican Representative Kevin Ambler has proposed the Legislature look at a favorite bill this year, something that resembles what Arizona just passed regarding illegal immigration.  His state Senate GOP opponent, Hillsborough Commissioner Jim Norman, blasted the idea last week as "grandstanding."  However, now gubernatorial candidate  Rick Scott is proposing the same thing.

“Taxpayers are on the hook to pay for the special session,” he said in a statement. ” Floridians should at least get some return on their investment with the passage of meaningful legislation and that is why I am urging the legislature to pass an Arizona style immigration law during this special session.”

Last week's announcement by Governor Charlie Crist that he is calling the state Legislature to hold a special session between July 20-23 was greeted with enthusiasm by House and Senate Democrats who have been calling for such a session for over two months, and with sneering by virtually everyone else.

Even U.S. Democratic Senate candidates Kendrick Meek and Jeff Greene, who hope to be competing against Crist this fall in the U.S. Senate race, found the opportunity to blast the Governor, while simultaneously endorsing the concept of putting a constitutional amendment on the November ballot that would allow Floridians to decide whether to ban drilling for oil and natural gas off the state's waters forever.

Many Republicans took the opportunity to ask that the Legislature work on other items related to the massive BP oil spill, such as Attorney General Bill McCollum, who said the Legislature should look at different tax and regulatory incentives to attract tourists, who are not avoiding Florida this summer.  McCollum also said that his office needs greater authority to go after environmental crimes.

Early Monday Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink followed suit, with a series of items that she said should be addressed in Tallahassee next week. Among them include authorizing  property tax rebates for business and residential property owners whose property values have fallen because of the oil spill, similar to hurricanes, tornados, and fires.

She also wants to pass tourism tax incentives, such as a temporary waiver of the bed tax, to help the tourism industry recover and rebound, injecting tourism spending dollars back into our economy.

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