Cretul compromise with black caucusby Dara Kam | December 2nd, 2009
House Speaker Larry Cretul offered a compromise of sorts with black lawmakers after refusing to delay the special session to accommodate a scheduling conflict.
The black members are hosting the National Black Caucus of State Legislators’ annual conference in Ft. Lauderdale, an event that began today. Sen. Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa, is chairing the gala which was two years in the planning.
House Democrats asked Cretul repeatedly to postpone the session, which begins Thursday and lasts through next Friday, until the conference ends this weekend.
He turned them down saying that he had promised Senate President Jeff Atwater the House would send a bill over to the Senate by Monday afternoon.
Now, Cretul is having a briefing session for the black lawmakers – all but one of whom are Democrats – next week and will allow them to offer amendments to the bill on second and third reading.
“They weren’t backing down. We weren’t backing down. So this avoided a confrontation,” said Rep. Joe Gibbons, D-Hallandale Beach, who is attending the conference.
But, he added: “We’re not happy with it.”
He said it was disrespectful of GOP legislative leaders to schedule the special session during the time when they knew the conference was taking place.
Cretul and Atwater have offered excused absences for black lawmakers who are at the event.
“We would be totally embarrassed, nationally, by not being here. We have people from the White House here, from Congress here, from all over the nation,” Gibbons said. “It would be like we invite them to dinner at our house and then we’re not going to be home.”