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Special Event

The Florida Vote: Florida House Speaker Calls for Civil Debates in Heated Special Session

Aired December 8, 2000 - 12:22 p.m. ET

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

FRANK SESNO, CNN ANCHOR: We want to take you back down to Florida for a couple minutes just to listen into the Florida legislature in special session. House Speaker Tom Feeney is now speaking, explaining why the legislature has weighed in and Republicans want to name their own slate of electors to end the drama in election 2000.

TOM FEENEY (R), FLORIDA HOUSE SPEAKER: ... ensuring that all of our debate will be conducted in this chamber in an atmosphere of respect for each of our fellow members.

It is my goal that the commentators around the country that often complain about the decline of civility in American politics will be able to point to the forthcoming debates that we have here in the House as examples of how people can disagree deeply and yet be civil and respectful to one another.

Leader Fasano, Leader Frankel, while passionately advocating their position have done a tremendous job outside this chamber and I know all of us can do a great job inside the chamber. Mason's Manual of Legislative Procedure, which we rely on as an authority on construction and application of our rules, sets out good guidelines for our behavior. And I quote Masons: "Members must not be permitted by their conduct to deny to others that which they may claim for themselves. It is the duty of all members to conduct themselves so as not to obstruct the like right of other members. Freedom of speech involves obedience to all of the rules of debate," end quote.

And so...

SESNO: Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives Tom Feeney there, admonishing members that in the coming debate in this special session that civility should rule and, even though they may disagree deeply, they want people here at CNN and elsewhere to reflect favorably on the caliber and the conduct and the quality of their debate; even as they proceed with what, to some, is a very, very controversial step forward in naming elector for George W. Bush, because Republicans dominate in the Florida legislature.

We're going to take a quick break; we'll be back.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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