Special session bid fails, but protest heading into its 2nd monthby John Kennedy | August 14th, 2013
Democrats have failed in a bid to call a special session of the state Legislature to repeal the controversial “stand your ground law.”
Enough Republicans had voted ‘no’ by late Wednesday to scuttle the push for a session which used a never-before-tried poll of lawmakers. Protesters on Wednesday also marked the 30th day of their sit-in outside Gov. Rick Scott’s office demanding the special session, a protest spawned by George Zimmerman’s acquittal in the Trayvon Martin shooting.
Although a decision on the session won’t become official until midnight Monday, more than 80 of Florida’s 119 lawmakers refused to endorse the push for a session. Three-fifths support of the Legislature, or roughly 95 votes in favor, are needed under the state constitution.
All but one of the ‘no’ votes have come from Republicans, with only Rep. Mike Clelland, D-Lake Mary, breaking ranks with Democratic leadership.
“Not enough votes 4 SYG Special Session,” House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, said in a message on Twitter. “FL supports self defense laws. We’re spending way too much on protest security.”
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement said Wednesday that overtime costs for security at the Capitol has neared $150,000 since the protest began. So far, legislative leaders, Scott and the state’s Department of Management Services have not indicated they would seek to end the protest.
Still, Wednesday evening signs were posted at the Capitol warning that “routinely scheduled” fire alarm safety testing would occur between 8 p.m. and midnight. “This testing will include the constant ringing of a loud, high pitch fire alarm throughout multiple floors of the Florida Capitol Building,” the sign warned.
“We’re not leaving,” said Dwayne Campbell, a student at Tallahassee Community College and a member of the Dream Defenders. “We are only becoming more mobilized.”