Florida House Votes to Make Amendment Petitions Harder

TALLAHASSEE (WFLA News) -- The Florida House votes 71 to 41 to make it harder to put constitutional amendments on the ballot through petiton signatures.

The bill that passed Thursday, 71 to 41, would require petition gatherers to register with the state, list both permanent and temporary addresses, and sign sworn statements that they'll obey state laws.

Ballots would also have to show the percentage of in-state contributions raised by sponsores, whether an out of state petition circulator was used to collecgt signatures, and declare whether the amendment could result in a tax increase.

Representative Mike Beltran (R-Lithia) says the constitution has become bloated, and out of state interests are to blame. "Somebody with a couple of million dollars can come in from out of state, gather up these signatures, put them on the ballot and then send out some mailers. There is no bicameralism, where it goes through the House, it goes through the Senate and it's presented to the governor."

But opponents, including Representative Margaret Good (D-Sarasota), maintain that petitions are the only way some people can be heard. "A lot of people are not getting the representation that they deserve. That means they have to... put constitutional amendments on the ballot," Good said.

A similar bill awaits a committee hearing in the Senate with just one week left in the session.

Material from the News Service of Florida was used in this report.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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