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Atwater and Villalobos on today's session

More reaction, from two key players in the Senate. Sen. Alex Villalobos, the Miami Republican who sponsored the oil drilling ban: "I told the members of the Senate that I am ready willing and able to present my arguments, and I think I would prevail. The House chose to leave. I mean, how disappointing is that?"

Villalobos said he simply doesn't trust the Legislature to keep the current ban intact: "It passed the House last session, and but for a few senators over here, it would have passed (here) also."

How will the average Floridian look on today's events? "I think people are going to be pissed off. They expected to have an opportunity to vote on their fate."

A clearly frustrated Senate President Jeff Atwater said he tried again and again to get House Speaker Larry Cretul or Gov. Charlie Crist to expand the call to include tangible issues such as economic relief. "I've been asking the governor, I've been asking the speaker for weeks -- let us have an agenda that nobody's going to walk out on. Give us an agenda that dares somebody to walk out on it."

Such a move, he said, would essentially dare the House to leave when real oil spill relief is at play. He called the Senate "the on chamber that's been trying to get this done."

Atwater said he is happy to come back at any time -- even before the Aug. 4 deadline for new ballot measures -- and pass both economic relief and a constitutional ban. But in a subsequent press conference, Crist said he doesn't plan to call the Legislature back. So right now it looks like we're headed back in about September.

"Now, to have this kind of parade going on, this circus act going on -- it's time to address real issues," he said.

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Realist

Atwater deserves an oscar for the performance of shock that he put on today.

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