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Nancy Smith

House Democrats' 'Dirty Politics' Disgusts Lawmakers Looking for Real School-Safety Solutions

February 22, 2018 - 6:00am
Kionne McGhee, Blaise Ingoglia and Matt Caldwell
Kionne McGhee, Blaise Ingoglia and Matt Caldwell

It really was -- as Rep. Blaise Ingoglia, R-Spring Hill, called it -- "a disingenuous political stunt ... the very definition of dirty politics." 

The Democrats -- some of them, anyway -- knew Tuesday when they tried to force a premature floor debate on an assault weapons ban that a debate was never going to happen. 

It wasn't time. And it isn't the way the Florida Legislature makes laws.

The plot to make a procedural motion to bring House Bill 219 to the floor was a stunt, say Democrats behind the scenes, hatched by Rep. Kionne McGhee, D-Miami, in cahoots with Sen. Gary Farmer, D-Parkland. 

I Beg to Differ

The idea was to trick the dozens of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students in the House gallery into believing only the Democrats care about students' lives. Look at that, the arrogant Republicans won't even allow a conversation about guns.

And it worked. By the time the floor session ended, emotional students who watched were crying and the Republicans' "refusal to talk about an assault weapons ban" was crawling all over social media. Soon after, one after the other of CNN commentators were shaking their heads, playing and replaying Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes' gavel moment: "The motion is not adopted."

Ingoglia, who is also chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, said hate mail poured in Tuesday afternoon and all of Wednesday, all based on the stunt motion. He took time Wednesday to blast out an angry response on his Facebook page

"Let me be clear," Ingoglia wrote. "Yesterday was not a vote to ban 'assault weapons.' It was a 'procedural game' to bring a bill to the floor for a vote (with no notice) that had never been heard in committee. 

"This means straight to a vote: no questions of the bill sponsor as to what is actually in the bill; no time to read the bill; no time to amend the bill; no time to hear testimony on the bill.

"Basically," he said, "they wanted us to vote on a bill without knowing what was in it!"

Ingoglia told me Wednesday, "It's a page straight out of Nancy Pelosi's playbook. You have to pass it to know what's in it."

It's not only Republicans who were soured by such a political and exploitive farce. Many Democrats were also caught by surprise. "We all voted yes for the motion to be heard," one Democratic representative told me. "We had no notice and thought it was a motion to have the bills heard in committee." 

Rep. Jared Moskowitz, D-Coral Springs, who was attending the funeral of student victim Peter Wang on Tuesday, might have been the angriest of the Democrats and apparently didn't care who knew. In a written statement in the Tampa Bay Times he tore into his fellow Dems for making a procedural motion to bring HB 219 to the floor "with zero notice."

“Procedural games will not make policy," he said. "Only members from both parties working together on legislation will bring the gun safety changes we need to prevent this from ever happening again.”

Moskowitz's statement caught the attention of Rep. Amber Mariano, R-Hudson. She responded on Twitter: "For those of you confused and upset about yesterday -- we are confused and upset too. When lives are at stake ‘procedural games’ are not the answer. Looking forward to working on BIPARTISAN gun reform & policy change on this issue."

Rep. Matt Caldwell, R-North Fort Myers, candidate for commissioner of agriculture, twice appeared on CNN Wednesday "to defend the Second Amendment and discuss real solutions to the devastating tragedy in Parkland." Sadly, both times the increasingly left-leaning network had something to say to degrade Caldwell's attempt to answer questions honestly. See the CNN interview clips on this page.

“Trying to pull a bill out of committee is a political stunt," Caldwell repeated Wednesday evening. "We are trying to work in a bipartisan manner. The point is to be able to hear everybody’s voices, make sure that we do the right thing, and not just pull a political stunt.”

The Feb. 14 mass shooting at the Parkland high school led to 17 deaths and has revived the national debate over gun control. Suspect Nikolas Cruz, 19, had bought his first gun months after his 18th birthday. He used a military-style semiautomatic rifle to carry out the bloody attack.

Meanwhile, Parkland students, empowered by their outrage, will take their anti-gun crusade beyond Tallahassee, and they'll have a wealth of celebrity help to do it. Five Douglas students have organized a March 24 Washington, D.C. rally called "March for Our Lives"  -- Jacqueline Coren, Emma Gonzalez, Cameron Kasky, David Hogg, and Alex Wind, in collaboration with the nonprofit Everytown for Gun Safety. And they've inspired Hollywood celebrities to pitch in.

George and Amal Clooney, Steven Spielberg and Kate Capshaw, Jeffrey and Marilyn Katzenberg, and Oprah Winfrey each have vowed a $500,000 donation to the "March" event, according to The Clooneys and Katzenbergs also will participate in it.

Winfrey announced the donation on her social media channels Tuesday, with a hat-tip to the Clooneys who launched the donation charge. "George and Amal, I couldn’t agree with you more," she tweeted. "I am joining forces with you and will match your $500,000 donation to ‘March For Our Lives.’  These inspiring young people remind me of the Freedom Riders of the 60s who also said we’ve had ENOUGH and our voices will be heard."

Reach Nancy Smith at or at 228-282-2423. Twitter: @NancyLBSmith


Politicians are showmen, con men, and opportunists. You shake their hand, check for your rings and wallet when done. Expect activities for photo ops or to inappropriately influence people that don't know how government works, to believe that a real effort is being made. We failed to teach history, government, and civics in a manner that people understand. We now have a society that will consume the distorted truths and outright lies as the truth. The kids protesting and pushing for better gun control laws are being USED! When they figure that out and vote.....Well get ready for a roller coaster ride.

I don't know about this incident but you are wrong that these kids are being used. You are watching history changing because they are acting like the adults in the room. They are not patsies, they are not actors, they are genuinely concerned intelligent young people with the integrity and courage to fight for their own safety.

They're being lead and helped by the media. You're Looney Tunes if you think a bunch of kids could organize any of this without help. Follow the money for who's really behind this.

Yes, the left hijacked them. Why else than at the Rally would Senator Farmer bring up an education bill?

Yes, the left hijacked them. Why else than at the Rally would Senator Farmer bring up an education bill?

...BUT,.. they are victims of a corrupt "education system" that has existed since the "Vietnam Era"! (..."being used"..? You can "bet on it"! )

you are being used by your neighbor...take your fat can back to NY and get a job... You wouldn't know the first thing about an educational system, you have none poser...

We are now where we are after years of GOP/NRA control over Florida state government. 2018. Vote. Time to open the window for a fresh breeze and a through house cleaning.

A "Spring Cleaning" of both Democrats and Republicans!

Thanks to Rep. Moskowitz for the truth! I said that as soon as Insaw it happening but didn’t think a D would admit it. We need an independent state investigation of what happened at Stoneman Douglas

Rep. Moskowitz, thanks for your perspective as I'm sure you will be part of the solution rather than part of the continued political hi-jinks as demonstrated by what we saw with the "no notice" Bill brought forth by news hungry Legislative Democratic member trolls who continue to be part of the problem.

ROTHLOL! Lot of words, lots of drivel. Nothing you can say, Nancy, will justify the years of inaction by the FL Legislature on common sense killing control.

I want to know WHEN the TRUTH will be told.... That in 2015, Obama & Holder MANDATED any schoolkids caught commiting a CRIME could NOT be charged! Cops could NOT even write them up! They had armed robberies, home invasions & worse... but they took the perps home & "Supposedly" THE SCHOOL would determine the correct action. TELL THE TRUTH @MARCORUBIO

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nancy smith

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