On May 19, Gov. Crist announced that, while he still want to call the Florida Legislature into a special session to propose a constitutional ban on offshore oil and gas drilling, his original suggestion for a session beginning as early as May 24 was overly optimistic. In a meeting with the editorial board of the Miami Herald, Gov. Crist said that he would prefer not to call a session until there was a consensus about legislative proposals. He told the editorial board that Senate leaders were amenable to the idea of amending the state constitution to prohibit drilling but that he did not yet have the support of the House.
Drilling within Florida waters is currently prohibited by state statute.
Earlier in the week, the governor met with Tony Hayward, CEO of BP PLC, owner of the well that began releasing oil into the Gulf of Mexico after the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded on April 20. Mr. Hayward promised that BP would give the state $25 million to support tourism-related advertising, in addition to the $25 million in recovery funds that the company had already committed to the state.
Visit Florida, the state tourism agency, ran a $2.5 million advertising campaign in several southeastern markets during the weekend of May 21 to 23, but had no immediate plans for spending the extra funds promised by BP. A spokesperson for Visit Florida said the agency had not received any direction from the governor's office on how much of the funding would be used for statewide promotion and how much would go to local tourism agencies.