House chairman backs up on BP funds

For Immediate Release:

Wednesday, March 2—

Statement by Speaker-Designate Richard Corcoran Regarding BP Oil Spill Settlement

Tallahassee, Fla. – Florida House Speaker-Designate Richard Corcoran (R-Land O’ Lakes) today released the following statement regarding the BP oil spill settlement.

“Recently, individuals have been spreading rumors and misinformation regarding the Florida House of Representative’s position on the BP settlement funds. Specifically, they have alleged that the House intends to redirect funds for uses other than remediating losses stemming from the BP oil spill. This is unequivocally and patently false. The House remains steadfastly committed to helping the areas of the state adversely impacted by the BP oil spill most notably the Florida Panhandle.

“However, even in our zeal to help the Panhandle, we will not consent to processes and actions that are unconstitutional and undemocratic. Article VII, Section 1 of the Florida Constitution clearly states that ‘no money shall be drawn from the state treasury except in pursuance of an appropriation made by law.’ This constitutional provision exists to protect the citizens of Florida. It ensures that the appropriations process is conducted in the sunshine by elected officials who are ultimately accountable to the voters.

“Florida has not yet received the settlement money. When that money is eventually received, it will be deposited in the State Treasury and appropriated in the manner required by the Florida Legislature. The House strongly believes that the money should absolutely be spent to the benefit of the small businesses and citizens of the Panhandle who were hardest hit by the BP oil spill.

“We will fight any shadowy efforts to undermine or end run the Florida Constitution.

“There has been some reference to the Oil Spill Economic Recovery Act. This was a law created by the Legislature in 2011 and, like all laws written by the Legislature, is subject to appropriation from the Legislature. The notion that this law prohibits future action by the Legislature is nonsense.

“This issue comes down to a simple choice. The House has opted to place the demands of the Florida Constitution, government in the sunshine, and the people and businesses of the Panhandle ahead of all else.”