Tuesday, November 22, 2016
Good riddance to Portilla.
Florida state senator from Miami, Miguel Diaz de la Portilla (R) has lost his seat in the Florida State Legislature to a democrat in the recent round of elections. To that I say, "good riddance" and may he never hold another office ever again.
First, let me mention that in another state senate race, a democrat also lost his seat to a republican, so we see that the Republican Party in the legislature maintains its 25-10 majority.
Now, onto the good part. Portilla was a great example of how we can no longer afford to simply depend on one party over another to do what's in our best interests. Last year and in previous years, the Florida legislature was poised to pass several pro-gun pieces of legislation, including the "campus carry" bill, which would allow people with a Florida Concealed Weapon Permit to carry a concealed weapon on college and university campuses in Florida. Another bill that was on the move was one that would allow all Florida residents who are eligible to own a handgun to carry a concealed weapon during a mandatory evacuation. This bill was primarily designed to allow people to bring their personally owned firearms with them during an evacuation rather than leave them behind to be stolen. Portilla was instrumental in killing both of those bills, though the emergency evacuation bill was finally passed last year.
Portilla's worst action, however, was to completely deny a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee (of which he was the chairman) of a bill that would have allowed the open carrying of handguns by Florida residents possessing a permit. As chairman, he was able to deny committee members the opportunity to debate and vote on the movement of the bill to the Senate floor.
The removal of Portilla from the Senate should clear the way for the open carry bills and the campus carry bill to be reintroduced. Without an obstructionist republican senator standing in the way of even a simple committee debate, the bills should have a much easier path to the senate floor.
It is worth noting that the Florida House of Representatives passed both of the House versions of these bills through all committees easily.