16 Florida House members broke party-lines on open-carry amendment
Last night's debate over allowing concealed-weapons licensees to carry handguns openly went much as excepted, with questions-and-answers and votes on amendments generally falling along partylines.
But on the night's biggest vote -- an amendment to allow lawmakers to carry concealed in official meetings of the Florida Legislature (full details here) -- some Republicans and Democrats broke party lines, several from more moderate districts.
The 120-person chamber has 81 Republicans and 39 Democrats.
The 72-43 vote on the controversial amendment by Rep. John Wood, R-Winter Haven, included support from five Democrats and opposition by 11 Republicans.
The Democrats who joined Republicans in adopting the change were: Reps. Bruce Antone of Orlando, Amanda Murphy of New Port Richey, Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda of Tallahassee, Katie Edwards of Plantation, and David Kerner of Lake Worth. Kerner has been one of the most vocal opponents of both the open-carry and campus-carry bills, which will get a final vote in the House tonight.
The Republicans who joined the rest of the Democrats in opposition were: Reps. Jose Oliva of Miami Lakes, Jeanette Nunez of Miami, George Moraitis Jr. of Fort Lauderdale, Patrick Rooney of West Palm Beach, Chris Latvala of Clearwater, Chris Sprowls of Palm Harbor, Kathleen Passidomo of Naples, Charles McBurney of Jacksonville, Cyndi Stevenson of St. Johns, Larry Metz of Yalaha, and Julio Gonzalez of Venice -- who last week called open-carrying a "God-given right."
After the vote, Oliva switched his vote to the affirmative side, but that doesn't count toward the official vote of record.
Neither do the after-the-fact "yes" votes from Halsey Beshears, R-Monticello, and Dane Eagle, R-Cape Coral, who were two of five members to miss the vote. The others absent were: Reps. Lori Berman, D-Lantana, Bill Hager, R-Delray Beach, and Ed Narain, D-Tampa.