08/13/2013 01:40 pm ET Updated Aug 13, 2013

Florida Legislature Polled On Stand Your Ground Special Session


After Gov. Rick Scott refused to hold a special session on Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law, critics are hoping an obscure procedure in the state's legislative process can bypass that roadblock.

Florida law says that if 20 percent of the legislature petition for a special session, all 160 members must be polled.

The Dream Defenders, a Miami protest group that have been camped out at the capitol for the past month, enlisted the support of the 32 politicians necessary to trigger such a poll, according to a release.

The lawmakers, all Democrats, sent letters to Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner requesting a special session to address Florida’s Stand Your Ground law.

Rep. Alan Williams of Tallahassee, one of the 32, said self-defense laws need review “especially given the fact that many of our law enforcement agencies have difficulty applying the law in an equitable manner.”

Florida politicians have until August 19 to respond to the poll. Three-fifths of the largely Republican legislature must agree in order for politicians to return to Tallahassee to debate "Stand Your Ground."

If it sounds like a long shot, that's because it is. A poll triggering a session has never happened in the history of the state, according to an analyst at the Florida Department of State.

The Dream Defenders recently had another small victory that may go nowhere.

House Speaker Will Weatherford agreed to hold a hearing to review Stand Your Ground in the fall, but then he appointed staunch Stand Your Ground supporter, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fort Walton Beach) as its chair.

Weatherford also said he'd need a consensus from the state's law enforcement in order to consider any changes to the state's "Stand Your Ground" law.

Last week, the Florida Sheriffs Association came out in full support the law as it is currently written.

Weatherford also said if the legislature rejects a special session, the Dream Defenders should leave the capitol, according to



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