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Miami-Dade commission was for repealing Florida's Stand Your Ground law before it was against it


Miami-Dade commissioners can't seem to make up their minds about Florida's Stand Your Ground self-defense law.

Last year, shortly after the death of Miami Gardens teenager Trayvon Martin, the commission unanimously agreed to ask state lawmakers to hold hearings on the contentious law and repeal it. They didn't.

Wednesday, the commission disagreed with a similar proposal asking the Legislature to convene a special session to repeal the law. Parts of Wednesday's resolution were identical to the one the board approved in April 2012.

"We don't like them to tell us what to do, and I don't like to tell them what to do," Chairwoman Rebeca Sosa said Wednesday of lawmakers. She took particular issue with asking lawmakers to repeal Stand Your Ground.

"If we encourage the Legislature to review the law, it's something different. But not to repeal, because I sincerely think there has to be a term of respect" between the two governments, she said.

Yet she voted for the hearings to repeal the law last year.

So did Vice Chairwoman Lynda Bell and Commissioners Bruno Barreiro, Esteban "Steve" Bovo, Sally Heyman and Javier Souto, who all voted against a special session to repeal the law Wednesday. Commissioner Juan C. Zapata, who also voted against Wednesday, was not in office at the time the first resolution was adopted.

All are Republicans except for Heyman, who is a Democrat. Heyman said she opposed calling for a special session rather than asking lawmakers to consider a repeal during their regular session in the spring.

Sticking with their support of both measures were Commissioners Barbara Jordan, Jean Monestime and Dennis Moss, all Democrats. Commission posts are nonpartisan.

"I'll continue to bring it up until something happens," said Jordan, who sponsored Wednesday's resolution.

Seventeen-year-old Trayvon was shot and killed in Sanford by George Zimmerman, who was acquitted of murder charges by a jury in July. Trayvon's mother, Sybrina Fulton, is on unpaid leave from her job in Miami-Dade's department of public housing and community development.

Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, said last month he would order Stand Your Ground hearings in the fall. They will be led by Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Fort Walton Beach Republican and staunch supporter of the law.