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President's Report

Joe Catrambone, Stuart/Martin County Chamber of Commerce President/CEO

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Floridians voted to approve 11 constitutional amendments on issues ranging from restoring felons’ voting rights to banning greyhound racing.

 

Many Republican lawmakers hope to avoid a repeat of such ballot-driven decision-making in the future. Proposals are being offered by the Legislature that would make it harder for citizens and groups to put constitutional amendments on the ballot making it tougher to pass amendments that get there.

The Senate Judiciary Committee will soon consider a bill that would place new restrictions on the petition-gathering process that is critical to getting citizens’ initiatives on the ballot. Also moving forward in the House last week was a proposal that would require two-thirds of voters to approve future constitutional amendments. That would be up from the current 60 percent threshold.

The proposals are the latest chapter in a long-running debate in Tallahassee about the constitutional-amendment process. Supporters of changing the process argue that the Constitution shouldn’t be a playing field for policy disputes that can be resolved in the Legislature. But opponents of the changes contend that groups are forced to go the constitutional route because lawmakers won’t act on issues supported by voters.

2020 is shaping up as potentially another year of ballot battles. Issues that could go before voters include increasing the minimum wage, revamping the electric utility industry and banning possession of “assault” weapons.

We have supported changing the process to avoid ludicrous Constitutional Amendments appearing on the ballot. Stay tuned!

Information provided by NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

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