Senate President Atwater has announced that a special session of the Legislature to address the new Seminole Tribe gaming compact in October 2009 is “highly unlikely.” In a memorandum to members of the Senate, Senate President Atwater said:
An initial review has raised questions regarding some of the terms of the Compact. I have directed Senate staff to work with the Governor's office to receive additional clarification … .This is a complex issue and conducting a thorough analysis will take time. We have a responsibility to exercise due diligence to ensure we understand the long term ramifications of the proposed Compact.
Gov. Crist had urged the Legislature to take up the gaming compact in an October session.
The memo also addressed another matter that has been widely discussed as a potential special session issue: offshore oil drilling. Senate President Atwater appeared to cast doubt on the Senate's willingness to consider the issue in a special session, stating:
[T]his issue involves a series of complex conversations with a variety of interests and impacts throughout our State. There are policy decisions to be considered that are not well served by undue haste. If, or when, the Senate takes up this I issue it will be in a manner that allows for sufficient time to debate the facts and the merits of such policy. The citizens of Florida deserve a thoughtful and deliberative process that establishes a factual baseline for our conversations.
If and when the Legislature convenes a special session, property insurance also may be on the agenda. Rep. William “Bill” Proctor (R-St. Augustine) and Sen. Michael “Mike” Bennett (R-Bradenton), who sponsored the “Consumer Choice” property insurance bill that Gov. Crist vetoed earlier in the year, have said that a special session may be the appropriate time to return to the question of a partial deregulation of the property insurance market. Sen. Bennett said, “In a special session we can work together to come up with a compromise. I think it's some minor tweaks. The question is, can we find the tweak?”