*An earlier version of this story stated that Sen. Cruz had called for the session. Later information provided by Florida Democratic leadership clarified that Sen. Cruz is working in conjunction with her party colleagues in an effort started by Rep. Joseph Geller (D-Aventura).

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — State Senator Janet Cruz (D-Tampa) joined an effort by state Democrats, requesting a special session of the legislature be called to address gun violence. She joined an effort in combination with the state’s Democratic lawmakers, headed by Sen. Joseph Geller of Aventura.

Florida’s Democratic lawmakers wrote to newly-appointed Sec. of State Cord Byrd on Friday, requesting the legislative effort. The letters from Florida Democrats, including Cruz, who represents Tampa, rely upon the same statutory mechanism used by Sen. Jeff Brandes to attempt a session on property insurance in May.

With the letters submitted, Democrats will need the support of colleagues in the Florida Legislature to bring lawmakers back to Florida’s Capitol. Cruz and her colleagues in the legislature all submitted identical letters to the Sec. of State, according to party leaders in Florida speaking with WFLA.com.

Geller submitted his letter on June 1.

Joining Geller, Florida Democrats requested the special session, should it occur, address high-capacity rifle magazines, universal background checks and expanded red flag laws, such as the one passed after the Parkland shooting in 2018.

The letter to Sec. Byrd reads, in part:

It is imperative that we take common sense steps to address this epidemic of gun violence that has led to atrocities in places like Parkland, FL, Buffalo, N.Y, and most recently in Uvalde, TX. We should address these issues with legislation regulating high capacity rifle magazines, mandating universal background checks, and expanding red flag laws. Without concrete action, we will see continued violence, which will have devastating consequences for the people we serve in Tallahassee.

Letter from Sen. Janet Cruz to Sec. of State Cord Byrd, shared with WFLA.com

For the session to be called, Democrats needed the support of 20% of the Legislature writing letters to the Secretary of State requesting a special session within the next seven days. According to Florida Democratic leadership, that threshold has been reached, pushing the process to its next step, a three-fifths vote to call lawmakers back to Tallahassee.

The Department of State will need to receive that confirmation within 60 days of receiving the 20% letter participation. Separately, the governor may be swayed to call a session instead, should the legislative maneuver fail to gather muster.

The Florida House Democratic Office provided WFLA.com with a list of the signatories.


  • Arrington, Kristen
  • Bartleman, Robin
  • Bush III, James
  • Daley, Dan
  • Diamond, Ben
  • Driskell, Fentrice
  • Eskamani, Anna
  • Geller, Joseph
  • Gottlieb, Michael
  • Grieco, Michael
  • Hinson, Yvonne
  • Hunschofsky, Christine
  • Jenne, Evan
  • Morales, Daisy
  • Nixon, Angie
  • Rayner, Michele
  • Robinson, Felicia
  • Skidmore, Kelly
  • Slosberg-King, Emily
  • Smith, Carlos Guillermo
  • Valdés, Susan
  • Willhite, Matt
  • Williams, Patricia
  • Woodson, Marie


  • Berman, Lori
  • Book, Lauren
  • Bracy, Randolph
  • Cruz, Janet
  • Jones, Shevrin
  • Polsky, Tina
  • Rouson, Darryl
  • Taddeo, Annette
  • Torres, Victor