Florida Ballot Initiatives: Alive, Dead and In Between

Florida Ballot Initiatives: Alive, Dead and In Between

By Jim Saunders, The News Service of Florida

TALLAHASSEE — Raising the minimum wage will be on the November ballot. Allowing recreational marijuana won’t.

With a critical petition-signature deadline Saturday, those and other high-profile ballot initiatives have met different fates. Two initiatives are on the ballot, two others could be headed that way, one has been short-circuited and others are looking toward 2022.

To reach this November’s ballot, backers of proposed constitutional amendments were required to submit 766,200 valid petition signatures by a Saturday deadline and need Florida Supreme Court approval of the proposed ballot wording.

Here is a scorecard of the high-profile proposals:

ON THE BALLOT:

— Voters will decide whether to gradually raise Florida’s minimum wage to $15 an hour, with it proposed to go to $10 an hour on Sept. 30, 2021 and increase by $1 each year until it hits $15 an hour on Sept. 30, 2026. Prominent Orlando attorney John Morgan has spearheaded the initiative, which has met the signature requirement and received Supreme Court approval. It will appear on the ballot as Amendment 2.

— Also cleared for the ballot is a measure, sponsored by the political committee Florida Citizen Voters, that would change wording in the state Constitution about the citizenship of voters. The Constitution now says, “Every citizen of the United States who is at least eighteen years of age and who is a permanent resident of the state, if registered as provided by law, shall be an elector of the county where registered.” The proposal would change that wording to: “Only a citizen of the United States who is at least eighteen years of age and who is a permanent resident of the state, if registered as provided by law, shall be an elector of the county where registered.” The proposal will appear on the ballot as Amendment 1.

WAITING GAME:

— The Supreme Court is weighing a proposed constitutional amendment that would overhaul Florida’s primary-election system. The initiative, sponsored by the political committee All Voters Vote, would allow registered voters to cast ballots in primary elections regardless of party affiliation. The two candidates getting the most votes in each primary would advance to the general election. The committee submitted enough petition signatures, and the Supreme Court heard arguments about the ballot wording in December.

— An initiative that would make it harder to pass constitutional amendments in the future met the petition-signature requirement this week. That initiative, led by the Keep Our Constitution Clean political committee, would require future constitutional amendments to be approved by voters twice — instead of once — to take effect. The Supreme Court is expected to consider the proposed ballot wording without holding oral arguments.

SHORT-CIRCUITED:

— The Supreme Court on Jan. 9 rejected a proposal that would have would have overhauled and deregulated the state’s electric-utility industry, saying part of the proposal’s wording would mislead voters. The proposal, sponsored by the political committee Citizens for Energy Choices, called for creating a “competitive” electricity market that would have made dramatic changes in the heavily regulated industry. It drew opposition from state leaders, business groups and Florida utilities.

MAYBE NEXT TIME:

— Two committees have pursued initiatives that would allow Floridians to use recreational marijuana, but they fell short of submitting enough petition signatures. One of the committees, Make It Legal Florida, has continued submitting signatures in hopes of reaching the 2022 ballot. The Supreme Court, meanwhile, will hear arguments Tuesday on the wording of the other proposal, sponsored by the Sensible Florida political committee.

— The Supreme Court also will hear arguments Tuesday on a proposed amendment aimed at blocking possession of assault-style weapons in Florida. As of Friday morning, the state Division of Elections had tallied 146,162 valid petition signatures for the measure, led by the political committee Ban Assault Weapons NOW. Getting Supreme Court approval of the ballot wording could help if the initiative drive continues for 2022.

— Backers of a proposed amendment that would expand Medicaid eligibility have said they are looking to get on the 2022 ballot after submitting about 90,000 signatures in an initial attempt to go before voters this year. The proposal, sponsored by the political committee Florida Decides Healthcare, would offer Medicaid coverage to low-income adults who currently are not eligible. Florida lawmakers have repeatedly rejected such an expansion, which is optional for states as part of the federal Affordable Care Act.

7 Responses to "Florida Ballot Initiatives: Alive, Dead and In Between"

  1. Avatar
    Anon   February 2, 2020 at 7:06 pm

    Leave the State Constitution Alone.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Snidely Whiplash   February 3, 2020 at 8:50 am

      Florida needs a conservative law firm to fight liberal John Morgan’s constant annoying support of all liberal amendments.
      By proposing and backing an amendment to return control of amending our Constitution to our elected officials.
      Dont like the way your elected officials are doing their job?
      Vote in better people!

      Reply
  2. Avatar
    Old Voter   February 2, 2020 at 11:30 pm

    Need a proposal to limit ALL elected positions in the state to be subject to term limits of two terms. All elected officials should be reminded they work for the People

    Reply
  3. Avatar
    TONY   February 3, 2020 at 7:26 am

    ONLY US Citizens should Vote in US Elections, Minimum Wage Jobs are not supposed to be your Career Job, Leave our Constitution alone and Don’t touch my Legally Purchased Guns.

    Reply
  4. Avatar
    Dr. Jeffrey Solomon   February 3, 2020 at 8:33 am

    Mr. Saunders, You forgot to mention Amendment 3 #AllVotersVote – Open Primaries. Its also on the 2020 ballot.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Jon   February 4, 2020 at 6:21 pm

      I’m against it. I’m not a Democrat so I shouldnt be voting on their nominees.

      Reply
  5. Avatar
    Jason   February 3, 2020 at 5:40 pm

    Raising the minimum wage, and the existence of the minimum wage law itself, hurts the very people it pretends to help. Wages are a price, the price of labor. And like any other price, when we let politicians set them, it causes economic chaos. Passing laws that force people out of work is a terrible idea.

    Reply

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