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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

On SYG, Clelland and Zimmermann explain why they broke with Dems

15

August

It’s already been decided -- there will be no special session on stand your ground. Still, votes by lawmakers keep trickling in.

Florida’s Secretary of State office received 12 more votes on Thursday. The new tally is 90 lawmakers, 88 of them Republicans, voting against convening a special session that would address changing or repealing the law. Only 42 lawmakers, all Democrats, voted for it. The 27 lawmakers who still have yet to cast a vote have until Monday to do so.

About the only fun now is figuring which lawmakers will skip the vote and whether any more Democrats join Rep. Mike Clelland, D-Lake Mary, and Rep. Carl Zimmermann, D-Palm Harbor, in voting against a special session.

So, why exactly did Clelland and Zimmerman stray from the party line?

Keep in mind, Clelland and Zimmerman represent pretty conservative districts. Clelland, a retired firefighter, has a district in Seminole County that includes, oddly enough, parts of Sanford. Some have dubbed him the “Dragon Slayer” because last year he narrowly ousted the man who was to become House Speaker in 2014 -- Chris Dorworth. If Clelland strays too far to the left, then he becomes an easier target.

“My district isn’t like other districts,” Clelland said. “It leans Republican. And I’m an independent thinker. I’m not a party line guy. I’m part of the disappearing middle in Florida politics.”

The way Clelland sees it, a special session wasn’t the proper venue for revisiting stand your ground. He said a committee was a better place to review the law because testimony from the residents and experts could be given. He sits on the House’s criminal justice subcommittee, which is already going to hold a hearing on the law.

“With a special session, it’s 120 lawmakers (in the House) debating the issue,” Clelland said. “There are no outside voices.”

Does he favor making changes to the law?

“I don’t have a definitive answer for you until the debate is over,” he said.

Zimmermann does have an answer.

“I support stand your ground pretty much the way it is now,” Zimmermann said. Like Clelland, Zimmermann is a rookie lawmaker, having knocked off shirtless wonder Peter Nehr last year. President Barack Obama won only six out of 48 precincts in this particular Pinellas County house district.

“I’m in an extremely Republican district,” said Zimmermann, who is a teacher. “I have to represent the district, not just me. But I’m a moderate myself.”

Although he wouldn’t change the law now, Zimmermann said he favors holding a hearing on it. He said he’d like to hear what law enforcement has to say about enforcing it to decide if the 2005 law should get changed. But a special session would be wrong.

“We’re going to be up here anyway in September,” he said. “The idea of rushing a special session and spending that extra money I just didn’t think was necessary.”  

As of Thursday night, here's the tally: 

Florida House of Representatives

YES Votes:  

Antone

Berman

Castor Dentel

Clarke-Reed

Cruz

Fullwood

Gibbons

Jones (M)

Jones (S)

Lee Jr. (L)

McGhee

Moskowitz

Pafford

Powell

Rader

Reed

Richardson

Rodriguez

Rogers

Rouson

Saunders

Schwartz

Slosberg

Stafford

Stark

Thurston

Torres

Waldman

Watson (B)

Williams

Florida Senate

YES Votes:

Braynon

Bullard

Clemens

Gibson

Joyner

Margolis

Montford

Ring

Sachs

Smith (C)

Sobel

Thompson

Florida House of Representatives

NO Votes:

Adkins

Ahern

Albritton

Artiles

Beshears

Bileca

Boyd

Brodeur

Broxson

Clelland

Coley

Combee

Corcoran

Crisafulli

Cummings

Davis

Diaz (J)

Eagle

Fitzenhagen

Fresen

Gaetz (M)

Gonzalez

Goodson

Grant

Hager

Harrell

Hill

Holder

Hood

Hooper

Hutson

Ingram

La Rosa

Magar

Mayfield

McBurney

McKeel

Metz

Moraitis

Nelson

Nunez

O'Toole

Passidomo

Patronis

Perry

Peters

Pigman

Pilon

Porter

Precourt

Raburn

Raschein

Raulerson

Ray

Roberson

Rodrigues (R)

Santiago

Smith (J)

Spano

Steube

Stone

Tobia

Trujillo

Van Zant

Weatherford

Wood

Young

Zimmermann

Florida Senate

NO Votes:

Altman

Benacquisto

Bradley

Brandes

Dean

Diaz de la Portilla

Evers

Gaetz (D)

Galvano

Gardiner

Grimsley

Hays

Hukill

Latvala

Lee (T)

Legg

Negron

Richter

Simmons

Simpson

Stargel

Thrasher


 

 

[Last modified: Thursday, August 15, 2013 9:34pm]

    

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