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Atwater, Cretul tell members special might be called Monday

Legislators might not be thankful for this heads-up: Senate President Jeff Atwater and House Speaker Larry Cretul just sent letters to members in their respective chambers to notify them that if negotiations continue to move positively, a special session on commuter and high-speed rail could be called Monday -- to begin just three days later on Thursday, Dec. 3.

Previously, it was expected any special would be called to coincide with the committee week that begins Dec. 7. But Hannukah is at the end of that week, and Cretul and Atwater don't want to risk a lengthier than expected session that conflicts with the Jewish holiday.

Keep reading for their letters...

To:      All Senators

From:      Jeff Atwater, President

Date:     November 25, 2009

Subject: Special Session

As you know, we have been working diligently with our partners in the Florida House and Governor’s Office to develop comprehensive legislation that will establish statewide policy for rail transit.  At this time, I am optimistic that we are very close to having legislation that achieves this objective, while addressing the concerns raised by Senators regarding liability for freight and passenger rail and a dedicated, sustainable funding source for commuter rail.  

I am in ongoing conversations with Speaker Cretul and fully anticipate that we will be announcing a Special Session in the next few days.  In which case, I expect we would convene on Thursday, December 3, 2009.  For many, this would require making travel arrangements to be in Tallahassee on Wednesday evening, December 2.  Our goal is to complete our work prior to Hanukkah, which begins on December 11.  

We will update you again on Monday. Thank you for your patience and commitment to Florida.  I wish you all a joyous Thanksgiving Day with your families.



To:   Members, Florida House of Representatives
From:    Larry Cretul, Speaker
Date:    November 25, 2009
Re:   December Calendar Update

This is to provide each of you with the best information I have available about
the possibility of a special session in December.

Constructive conversations in recent days have encouraged the hope that a
special session on passenger rail may in fact occur.  While we have no agreement
to do so, if President Atwater and I do convene a session, I expect that it
would begin on Thursday, December 3, and end on or before Thursday, December 10. 
This would complete any work before Hanukkah begins on December 11.

Please be prepared for the House to revise its previously announced December
meeting schedule if and when a Proclamation is issued.