Lawmakers Prepare For Busy Session

By: Andy Alcock Email
By: Andy Alcock Email

By: Andy Alcock
September 23, 2013

Tallahassee, FL - There's a renewed push to make changes to Florida's controversial "stand your ground" law.

It comes as state lawmakers are returning to the Capitol to begin committee meetings.

Those lawmakers are also promising to better police themselves.

The Dream Defenders held a training and lobbying session in chambers in the old Florida Capitol on Monday.

A key part of that legislative package addresses the state's "Stand Your Ground" law.

"I would like for the Stand Your Ground law to be reviewed and for the proper reforms or for repeal," said Dream Defenders Political Director Ciara Taylor.

"I think there's legislation being proposed in both the house and the senate," said Senate President Don Gaetz. "I understand that house committees are going to be meeting and certainly senate committees," he said.

"I believe in the Stand Your Ground law, but I also believe there are fallacies in it," said State Senator Bill Montford. "There are ways it needs to be tweaked," he said. "There are too many people using it as a defense," said Montford.

And while state lawmakers will be discussing that self defense law, they will also be policing themselves.

Gaetz says there will be a new rule or rules in place for the Senate and House to tighten residency requirements by the start of session next year.

He points out both chambers have the responsibility of seating qualified members.

"I expect that proposed rule will have Senators living among the people they represent and that residency won't be defined by legal hair splitting," said Gaetz.

"I'm very happy the leaders of both houses have recognized that this is a situation that needs to be dealt with," said State Senator Jack Latvala.

Latvala started looking at this issue after a South Florida TV station raised questions about the residency of several lawmakers.

WCTV Eyewitness News also questioned State Representative Alan Williams about his residency in July.

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