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Chances for SYG special session doomed

Nearly half the votes for Florida lawmakers were tallied Tuesday on whether to hold a special session on changing or repealing the state’s “stand your ground” law, and it appears Democrats will fall far short of the total needed.

Out of 160 lawmakers, 79 cast a vote by Tuesday night. Of those, 55 lawmakers voted “no” on holding a special session, or 70 percent. One Democrat, Rep. Mike Clelland, of Lake Mary, voted with 54 Republicans.

Only 24 voted for a special session, barely 30 percent. All were Democrats.

A total of three-fifths from both chambers is required to trigger a special session. There are 81 votes that remain outstanding, but Democrats would need a sudden surge, somehow mustering  72 more votes, or 89 percent of what’s left.


Democrats have been far less unified on the SYG issue than Republicans and no one believed there were the 96 necessary votes to trigger a special session. That conventional wisdom appears correct.

The Dream Defenders, a group of young activists who have protested stand your ground at the Capitol for the past five weeks, helped convince Democratic lawmakers to request the poll. Some Republican leaders said Tuesday that after the effort to convene a special session is defeated, the Dream Defenders should go home.

"Once this poll concludes, the question of a special session will be final," House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, told the News Service of Florida. "I trust our protesters will accept the results and return the Capitol back to normal business. It's time."

But Phillip Agnew, the executive director of the group, said that won’t happen. He said the group knew they probably didn’t have the votes, but it was worth a try. With a defeat likely to come on Wednesday, Agnew said the group will push other ways to get lawmakers to address concerns about stand your ground and other issues, like racial profiling.

“We’ll leave when we’ve done the work we’ve come to do,” Agnew said. “The momentum that we’re building isn’t contingent on the poll.”

Here’s how the Legislature has voted as of Tuesday night.

YES Votes  

Rep. Bruce Antone, D-Orlando

Rep. Lori Berman, D-Lantana

Sen. Oscar Braynon, D-Miami Gardens

Rep. Castor Dentel, D-Maitland

Sen. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth

Rep. Janet Cruz, D-Tampa

Rep. Joe Gibbons, D-Hallandale Beach

Rep. Shevrin Jones, D-West Park

Rep. Larry Lee Jr., D-Port St. Lucie

Sen. Gwen Margolis, D-Coconut Grove

Rep. Kionne McGhee, D-Miami

Rep. Mark Pafford, D-West Palm Beach

Rep. Betty Reed, D-Tampa

Sen. Jeremy Ring, D-Margate

Rep. Hazelle Rogers, D-Lauderdale Lakes

Rep. Joe Saunders, D-Orlando

Rep. Elaine Schwartz, D-Hollywood

Sen. Eleanor Sobel, D-Hollywood

Rep. Cynthia Stafford, D-Miami

Rep. Richard Stark, D-Weston

Rep. Perry Thurston, D-Plantation

Rep. Victor Torres, D-Orlando

Rep. James Waldman, D-Coconut Creek

Rep. Allan Williams, D-Tallahassee

NO Votes

Rep. Larry Ahern, R-Seminole

Rep. Ben Albritton, R-Wauchula

Rep. Frank Artiles, R-Miami

Sen. Thad Altman, R-Rockledge

Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, R-Ft. Myers

Rep. Michael Bileca, R-Miami

Rep. Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton

Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island

Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg 

Rep. Michael Clelland, D-Lake Mary

Rep. W. Travis Cummings, R-Orange Park

Sen. Charlie Dean, R-Inverness

Rep. Jose Diaz, R-Miami

Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, R-Coral Gables

Sen. Greg Evers, R-Baker

Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen, R-Fort Myers

Rep. Erik Fresen, R-Miami

Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach

Sen. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton

Rep. Eddy Gonzalez, R-Miami

Rep. Jamie Grant, R-Tampa

Rep. Bill Hager, R-Delray Beach

Rep. Gayle Harrell, R-Stuart

Sen. Alan Hays, R-Umatilla

Rep. Mike Hill, R-Pensacola

Rep. Charles David Hood, R-Daytona Beach Shores

Rep. Travis Hutson, R-Elkton

Rep. Clay Ingram, R-Pensacola

Rep. Mike La Rosa, R-St. Cloud

Rep. MaryLynn Magar, R-Tequesta

Rep. Debbie Mayfield, R-Vero Beach

Rep. Seth McKeel, R-Lakeland

Rep. Larry Metz, R-Yalaha

Rep. George Moraitis, R-Fort Lauderdale

Rep. Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples

Rep. W. Keith Perry, R-Gainesville

Rep. Cary Pigman, R-Avon Park

Rep. Holly Raschein, R-Key Largo

Rep. Lake Ray, R-Jacksonville

Sen. Garrett Richter, R-Naples

Rep. Kenneth Roberson, R-Punta Gorda

Rep. Ray Rodrigues, R-Estero

Sen. David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs

Sen. Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby

Rep. Ross Spano, R-Dover

Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland

Rep. Charlie Stone, R-Ocala

Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine

Rep. John Tobia, R-Melbourne Beach

Rep. Carlos Trujillo, R-Miami

Rep. Charles Van Zant, R-Keystone Heights

Rep. Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel

Rep. John Wood, R-Winter Haven

Rep. Dana Young, R-Tampa