Florida Legislature won’t meet on ‘stand your ground’ because of Republican opposition

Only one lawmaker, Tampa state representative Shawn Harrison, voted for holding a special session on the controversial law.
Video footage of Thursday's shooting at a Circle A Food Store in Pinellas County. [Times]
Video footage of Thursday's shooting at a Circle A Food Store in Pinellas County. [Times]
Published Aug. 10, 2018

Lawmakers won't hold a special session on the state's "stand your ground" self-defense law, as Republican opposition has made it impossible for Democrats to force a session.

As of Thursday night, 49 House members had voted against the proposal, blocking the possibility of reaching the three-fifths support required from both legislative chambers to hold a special session.

In the Senate, the vote stood at 14-14, with the results split along party lines. The request to revisit the self-defense law came in response to the shooting death last month of Markeis McGlockton in the parking lot of a Clearwater convenience store. No charges have been filed against the shooter.

Rep. Sean Shaw, a Tampa Democrat running for attorney general, on Thursday defended the effort to seek a special session.

"You've still got to show up on the field and fight," Shaw said. "I mean, that's what a lot of being up here in Tallahassee is … speaking truth to power. The Democrats are outnumbered in the Florida House of Representatives by a pretty large margin. We know what a lot of these votes are going to be, but you've still got to stand up and hold your microphone and fight."

According to poll results posted by the Department of State, Plantation Democrat Katie Edwards-Walpole joined House Republicans in opposing the session, while Rep. Shawn Harrison, R-Tampa, is listed as voting for the session. Lawmakers were given until noon Friday to submit their votes to the Department of State.