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Crist Pushes Seminole Deal, Lawmakers Still Skeptical

Gov. Charlie Crist said Wednesday he remains hopeful that lawmakers will still ultimately approve the gaming deal he inked at the end of August with the Seminole Tribe.

Crist's normal optimism comes despite continued skepticism in the House over the details of the proposal that are making it look less and less likely, however, that the compact will be approved this year.

Senate President Jeff Atwater has said a special session prior to November was unlikely and as the weeks pass, a November special session may be out of the question as well. And Rep. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, who is heading up the House committee that would have first crack at approving the deal, has said his panel won't even meet until November.

Crist said, though that he's cotninuing to work it.

“We remain hopeful,” Crist said speaking with reporters in Lake Buena Vista after addressing the Florida Chamber of Commerce. “I think in order to have additional revenue for our children and our school system it's an important thing to get accomplished and I'm hopeful that the Legislature will look on it with a positive eye.”

So far, many don't appear to be.

In an interview last week with Capitaldatelineonline.com, House Majority Leader Adam Hasner, R-Delray Beach, represented the view of many in House leadership: “When you start looking at the details of the governor's deal with the Seminole Tribe, it's not a good deal for the people of Florida,” Hasner said. “There's a lot of questions about it, and the House and the Senate have suggested back to the governor, they need to come back and answer some of those tough questions.”

“We support the idea of a compact,” Hasner said in the interview. But, he said, the details had to be right. “It needs to be on the right terms, and it needs to be the best deal for the people of the state of Florida.”

Hasner also said “it might be a little premature” to start talking about a special session on the issue.

Rep. Will Weatherford, also interviewed by Capitaldatelineonline.com, said last week that even anti-gambling lawmakers know Florida already allows gaming in the state, but he believes the federal government is going to approve slots for the tribe anyway, so the state should try to figure out a way to get something out of it, mirroring Crist's position.

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