Stand Your Ground: Governor Rick Scott walks out on press conference

12:56 PM, Jul 19, 2013   |    comments
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TAMPA, FL - In a week filled with a number of growing controversies, Governor Rick Scott has apparently had enough.

After scheduling a press conference Thursday, Gov. Scott made the media wait nearly an hour, then answered one question for a total of 51 seconds.

The question had to do with the national outcry over Florida's Stand Your Ground law and dozens of protesters waiting in the Capitol to talk to the governor.

Scott answered with what seemed to be a well-rehearsed rebuttal to criticism, saying he has no desire to change Stand Your Ground after a 19-person, bipartisan panel analyzed the law and suggested no changes.

But critics - including Democrats who were on that panel - say it was stacked with Stand Your Ground supporters and significant changes were never considered.

Meanwhile, groups around the country are calling for boycotts on travel to Florida and of Florida businesses until the state "fixes" Stand Your Ground.

Andy Marlette from the Pensacola News Journal, which is also owned by WTSP's parent company, Gannett, penned this editorial cartoon about Florida's reputation following the exoneration of George Zimmermann.

Florida is embroiled in a number of other hot-button issues the governor failed to discuss Thursday, including:

Yet Governor Scott's office had time to put out two jobs-related press releases Thursday.  One touted a new Bristol-Myers Squibb warehouse in Tampa that could create up to 600 jobs, while the other touted how the state's unemployment held steady at 7.1 percent, "below the national average of 7.6 percent for the fourth consecutive month."

Scott also utilized a back entrance and exit to the Suntrust Building, where the press conference was held.  Out front, a pair of parking spots had been reserved and two peaceful protesters waited in vain.

"It just shows that Gov. Scott is refusing to even acknowledge that there is a problem with racial discrimination and impression of nationalities in this state," said protester Jared Hamil.  "Obviously, people are very upset - there's been a mass protest and he won't even say a thing about it, so we're saying, 'Meet with the people in Tallahassee.'"

UPDATE: Scott agreed to meet with a group of Capitol protesters late Thursday night but said he would not call a special session to review "Stand Your Ground."

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