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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Thurston files request for SYG special session -- but don't hold your breath



Florida House Democratic leader Perry Thurston is requesting a special session in a letter that suggests he has at least the 32 votes necessary to trigger the first step in a review of the stand your ground law.

Still, it’s a longshot.

“I make this request for a special session based on my belief that there is demonstrable confusion within and among police departments, prosecuting offices and the courts about the application of the law,” Thurston wrote in a letter sent Thursday morning to Secretary of State Ken Detzner. “As presently crafted, the statutes have not simply helped law-abiding citizens protect themselves from attack, but rather they have been used as cover for perpetrators of crimes.”

Thurston cited Florida statute 11.011 (2) that states the Legislature may convene a special session when 20 percent of the 160 lawmakers, which is just 32 lawmakers (there are 58 Democrats in the Legislature), send in requests like Thurston’s. If the Department of State receives 32 letters, then it has seven days to poll the remainder of the Legislature. Then, if three-fifths of the Legislature agrees (that would be 96 lawmakers), Detzner would have to set the day for the session. Notice then must be sent to each member within seven days after the requisite number agree to a special session.

If Detzner doesn’t get the required number of letters asking for a special session within 60 days, then all prior requests, including Thurston’s, are scrapped.

Sounds rather remote, no? Thurston, D-Plantation, said he thinks at least 32 letters by lawmakers will be delivered to Detzner by next week. 

"It'll be more of a climb to get the three-fifths," Thurston said. "I hope the citizens of Florida will help us clear that hurdle by reminding their legislators the importance of reviewing this law."

[Last modified: Thursday, August 1, 2013 7:08pm]


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