Buckhorn has said he intends to reach out directly to Governor Rick Scott to allow the city an exemption from that state law, at least during the last week of August when tens of thousands of people, who in some cases severely disagree with each other, will be rubbing shoulders during the Republican National Convention.
On Thursday, Tampa City Council member Lisa Montelione presented to the council a letter she wrote backing up Buckhorn's requesting that the Governor issue either an Executive or Emergency Order allowing the city to opt out of the law, at least during the convention.
Montelione said she had consulted with four different city attorneys, past and present, before presenting her letter to the council for their approval. Councilman Harry Cohen made some suggestions that Montelione said she would adopt before sending the letter out.
Montelione said that though she knew the odds were incredibly slim, there was always the chance that the Florida Legislature could vote during in a special session to allowing Tampa to opt-out of the law, something that's possible since lawmakers are scheduled to return to Tallahassee as part of the redistricting process.
Despite the well known sentiments of Buckhorn and now the council, 0there haven't been any Republicans — high ranked or otherwise — who have suggested that they support allowing Tampa to be able to ban guns in the area of town called the "event zone," a selected region around the Tampa Bay Times Forum that the city is heavily regulating once the convention commences.
In other action that came up as new business was introduced, the Council approved a motion by Frank Reddick to have the city's legal department research whether they have jurisdiction to create an ordinance requiring employers receiving tax breaks from the city to consider hiring Hillsborough County citizens first when filling jobs.
The issue is one that the group Hillsborough Organization for Progress and Equality (HOPE) questioned Reddick, Montelione and Harry Cohen on Monday night at an assembly in front of nearly 1,000 people.
While Reddick said for certain he would do so, Cohen registered a "maybe," and Montelione said that while she generally supported the idea, she wasn't sure if the city could put such a requirement on a local business.
The Council's vote today would only be whether they had the authority to carry out such an ordinance; if the legal department says yes, they would then suggest a workshop on the subject.
One Councilman who said he has no interest in supporting HOPE in terms of this specific request was Charlie Miranda, who said his role on council was not to "hire and fire." Using the term "big government," the Council Chair said to make such a request of a local business — even one getting a taxpayer rebate — was "working against yourself." Cohen said he found himself in agreement with Miranda's views.