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Smith Not Deterred By Gaetz’s Rejection Of Forming Stand Your Ground Select Committee

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Florida Senate
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Florida Senate Minority leader Chris Smith says he’s not giving up on getting a bipartisan group of lawmakers to take a look at the state’s Stand Your Ground law, despite being turned down by the Senate President Tuesday. Smith wanted Don Gaetz to form a select committee, but Gaetz rejected that request.

In a letter responding to the Senate Democratic Caucus leader , Senate President Gaetz says he will not create a select committee because it would duplicate the work of a task force assembled by Governor Rick Scott last year. The group, headed by former Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll, suggested a number of options to Scott, including the one he chose – not changing it. But, Smith says he disagrees with Gaetz’ argument, calling it a legislative issue.

“And, since the Governor’s task force, we see Stand Your Ground being used in a school bus fight and many other places. And, I think 1, the Legislature is a separate branch of Government and we should as a Legislative prerogative take our look at it, and 2, there’s a lot more things that have come forward since the Governor’s task force that I think we should consider,” said Smith.

Smith also pointed to former Senate President Mike Haridopolos, who formed a select committee following the not-guilty verdict of Casey Anthony in the death of her two-year-old daughter Caylee. He says that’s an example of a Florida issue gaining such national attention, that Gaetz should reconsider because the nation is watching.

“So, I’ll continue to work with the President to try and convince him to do the Select Committee. I think it really has benefits,” Smith added.

Smith had also called on Gaetz to allow bills addressing Stand Your Ground to be on the committee’s agenda, should the panel form. Gaetz says while Smith is welcome to file a bill, it would be a violation of Senate rules to create a select committee for the purpose of voting on bills.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on twitter @SaschaCordner.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.