Precedent for Charlie Crist's Special Session

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist is taking a beating from his opponents for calling a July 20-23 special session of the legislature to discuss a constitutional ban on offshore drilling: Republican Marco Rubio says it's pointless, since state law already bans offshore drilling, and Democrat Kendrick Meek has asked why Crist waited so long.

But apparently there's precedent in Florida for special sessions* to ban things that are already banned. At St. Petersburg Times political blog The Buzz, Alex Leary points out:

Whether a $50,000-a-day special session is needed is a legitimate matter of debate, and no doubt Crist is seeking a political edge in his U.S. Senate race. But the double down talk could use a history check.

That line of thinking was pushed aside when antigay marriage forces pushed a constitutional amendment to ban something that has been banned under state law since 1997. Urged by Tom Lee, the Republican Party of Florida contributed $300,000 to the citizen petition campaign.

Then-Gov. Jeb Bush called it unnecessary when the idea surfaced in 2005 but later said the amendment may be needed to protect against challenges to the state law. Many Republicans agreed. The amendment passed in 2008. Today, Crist and his allies are saying the same thing about oil drilling. The challenge this time would not come from an activist court; rather from a pro-drilling Legislature.

Read the full post at The Buzz.

*As Leary notes, this wasn't a special session; it was a petition campaign.