A third Democrat, and the second one from Pinellas County, joined Republicans this weekend in voting against holding a special session on “Stand Your Ground.”
Late Friday, Rep. Dwight Dudley, issued a statement explaining why.
“Any review of ‘Stand Your Ground’ would be incomplete without input from the citizens of Florida and from our law-enforcement community," Dudley said in a statement. "If we were to convene for a special session, participation in that discussion would be limited to members of the legislature. Furthermore, no bills have been introduced for either chamber to consider. I believe that committee meetings, which begin in September, would provide a far more suitable forum to thoroughly review the law and to allow for public testimony. This approach would also prevent taxpayers from being burdened with additional costs.”
Dudley represents Florida House District 68 in the state legislature, covering portions of St. Petersburg, Pinellas Park, Feather Sound and Lealman. He beat Republican Frank Farkas last year. Like the other two Democrats who have voted against holding a special session, Rep. Mike Clelland of Lake Mary and Rep. Carl Zimmermann of Palm Harbor, Dudley was elected for the first time in 2012 and represents a competitive district.
Dudley’s vote was sent in too late to be recorded in Friday’s total by the Florida Secretary of State’s office. And the requisite number of no votes had already nixed the session earlier in the week by the time he cast a vote (96 lawmakers were needed to say "yes" to session). With Dudley’s vote, 97 lawmakers are against holding special session and 45 are for it. All three Democrats against it are from the House. Seventeen lawmakers still have yet to cast a vote, 10 Democrats and seven Republicans. They have until 11:59 p.m. tonight to vote. A non-vote is recorded as a no vote.