Is Rick Scott’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ panel too friendly?

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State Rep. Dwight Bullard, D-Miami, is calling on Gov. Rick Scott to change the composition of his Citizen Safety and Protection task force – which meets Tuesday for the first time – by removing a backer of the 2005 “Stand Your Ground” law at the heart of the panel’s mission. Scott announced the task force weeks after the Feb. 26 shooting of unarmed black teen Trayvon Martin, which struck a national nerve as the acknowledged shooter, George Zimmerman, avoided arrest. Now, with Zimmerman facing second-degree murder charges and the state poised to review the law and possibly racial profiling as well, Bullard wrote Scott that the panel is too heavily weighted with the law’s supporters, including House sponsor Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala. “Though on face you have selected a mixed group,” wrote Bullard to Scott, “in reality the lawmakers chosen for this task force all represent a singular viewpoint, having all voted [for] and/or co-sponsored the bill that would become the “Stand Your Ground” statute.” Bullard wants Scott to remove Baxley or Sen. David Simmons, R-Maitland, who co-sponsored the law, and instead tap a lawmaker from the Miami Gardens district where Martin lived: either Rep. Barbara Watson or Sen. Oscar Braynon, both Democrats. Bullard also called for the addition of a gun victim’s rights representative and/or a conflict resolution specialist to the panel.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.