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Breaking News

GOP Sources Say Florida Legislature Won't Meet This Weekend

Aired November 22, 2000 - 2:49 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Well, right now, we have more developments for you. They continue.

Kate Snow is in Tallahassee right now. Kate, what's up?

KATE SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good afternoon, Natalie. All day we've been talking about whether the Florida legislature here in Tallahassee might now try to insert itself into this complex situation. Last night, there was some talk after this Florida state Supreme Court decision came down, that legislators weren't happy about it, and that perhaps they could get involved.

Well, what we're hearing now is that senior Republicans in the Florida legislature telling CNN that they are advising that they should not hold a special session of the Florida legislature this weekend, that over this holiday weekend they're advising that it's not the right time to hold a special session. That's contrary to some rumors that had been flying around here earlier.

But I should say that if at some later time, they feel like they're process of choosing Florida's electors late in December, when they have to do that, if they feel that process is not going smoothly, perhaps because there's a contest of this election, that at that point, the Florida state legislature still keeping the doors open. They may still try to hold some sort of a special session.

To do that, both the speaker of the House and the Senate president here in Florida would have to decide together to hold a special session. There has been a lot of talk here today about whether that's warranted. Earlier this afternoon, this morning, we talked with the House majority leader, Mike Fassano, and asked him what would warrant having the state Florida legislature get involved.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAKE FASSANO (R), FLORIDA STATE LEGISLATURE: We have a responsibility to make certain that those 25 electors represent the wishes of the people of the state of Florida.

You know, we talk about or people are talking about Broward, Dade and Palm Beach, and every vote counting -- counted, well, what happens if no vote is counted because of the delay after delay? I think at some point in time you have to have a finality here, and somewhere the legislature may have to step in and select those electors. (END VIDEO CLIP)

SNOW: But again, looking like they will not step in over this holiday weekend with a special session. The office of the speaker of the House has asked this afternoon for some constitutional experts to look into this question just to advise him. We may hear from the speaker and expect to hear from the speaker of the Florida House later this afternoon.

One thing to keep in mind, just because they're not going to call a special session of the legislature doesn't mean it's over from their point of view. They could potentially get involved in some legal action.

Last night, I spoke with State Senator Daniel Webster: Now, he was very concerned that the Florida Supreme Court decision last night effectively, he thinks, stepped on the authority of the state legislators.

In other words, he says that there was a mix, that there was a movement by the court to step on the authority of the legislative branch, crossing the line between judicial and legislative authority here in the state of Florida.

He says there's a legal precedent that a case in 1992 that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court found that the Florida Supreme Court, state Supreme Court, had gone -- encroached on the duties of the legislature. He says that's a precedent. There's a legal precedent. We might be able to fight this one in court.

So just because we don't have a special session coming, we can't be sure that there won't be further legal action here.

Natalie and Stephen, back to you.

STEPHEN FRAZIER, CNN ANCHOR: Kate, one question from a nonconstitutional scholar about what might happen if they elect later to hold a special session and put together a new slate of electors. Is it possible -- does that automatically replace the original slate, or is it possible that two competing groups of electors could show up?

SNOW: That's a very good question, and I'm not a constitutional expert either. I don't know the answer to that.

I know that they're -- that they're going to essentially watch this very closely. They're very concerned about Florida, as the court was the other day, you'll remember. When the Florida Supreme Court heard the oral arguments on Monday, they asked a lot of questions about the timing and the timeline here.

Everyone's concerned that what if it gets down to a point where their electors are in jeopardy, where they may not be able to send electors to the federal level to vote, to have the votes for the Florida people, for all the Florida residents matter. So there's a lot of concern.

I don't know the specific answer to your question. We'll look into it for you, Stephen.

ALLEN: We'll certainly get it. Don't worry. We've got David Cardwell hanging around, Kate Now. We'll ask him that question in just a moment.

FRAZIER: Thank you, Kate.

ALLEN: As she said, if the Florida legislature gets involved in this, the Democrats are already saying they'll fight whatever they try and do there involving the electors.

FRAZIER: And as the Gore campaign, "You ain't seen nothing yet" -- that was their campaign slogan, and it should be what we say about the recount now. So we're going to take a little break here and then come back and bring you back up to date on everything that's happened so far today.

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