WUFT News

Lawmakers responsible for all amendments on 2012 Florida ballot

By on October 30th, 2012

By Ashley Lopez – WLRN

This election year, all 11 constitutional amendments on Florida’s ballot came from the state legislature.

Citizen petitions have been one of the most popular ways to change the state constitution, but this year, not a single measure came from a citizen-led drive.

Robin Rorapaugh of Hollywood is president of a political consulting company that helps groups get issues on the ballot.

“My very first campaign in Florida was running the three-part ballot initiative for the ‘Save our Everglades’ campaign,” she said.

All parts of that initiative passed in 1996, and Florida’s Constitution now says the state has to tax sugar to pay for Everglades restoration.

Getting issues on the ballot as a non-lawmaker is more difficult now, Rorapaugh said

“Up until about, I would say, eight years ago, it was a fairly simple initiative process,” she said.

All people had to do was file the measure with the secretary of state and gather signatures

Rules have changed since the mid-1990s, Rorapaugh said. The state legislature has limited citizen petitions.

“The manner of collecting signatures has been highly regulated by the legislature, down to a signature gatherer has to sign the page,” she said.

She said the time to gather signatures is much shorter than it used to be.

“At one point, you could gather signatures for petitions for years and years, waiting to go on the ballot,” she said. “Now, I believe, you have 36 months from beginning to end.”

Rorapaugh said these changes have made it more difficult for non-profits and citizens like her to propose amendments.

Florida lawmakers, however, can put amendments to the constitution on the ballot with a supermajority vote in both chambers.

Damien Filer of Progress Florida, a left-leaning grassroots organization, said he thinks the process of changing the constitution has become easier for lawmakers.

Having one party in control of both houses of the legislature makes it easy to achieve a three-fifths supermajority, he said.

He said this year’s amendments illustrate the difficulty for non-lawmakers to get issues on the ballot.

“I think this is the first time we have seen in a while where there really isn’t that sort of access, direct access, to our democracy by the citizens themselves,” Filer says.

Katherine Hahn wrote this story online.


This entry was posted in Florida, Politics and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Florida

Screen Shot

UF Students Welcome Bill Proposing Tax-Free Textbooks

A new law in Florida could help students save money on expensive textbooks. The bill looks to eliminate the sales tax from textbooks to give students a break on the hundreds they already spend on required texts.


The SPLC lists and classifies hate groups in the country. Only organizations and their chapters known to be active during 2014 were included.

Southern Poverty Law Center Issues Report on Hate Groups

The Southern Poverty Law Center reports there are currently 784 hate groups nationwide. Florida’s 50 hate groups ranks second in the nation, with California topping the list with 57 different groups.


Nutrislice is an application that allows parents and students to see what’s being served for lunch and the ingredients in the food at their public school. During the summer, people can use the app to find Summer Meal Program sites where children up to 18 can get breakfast and lunch for free.

New App Feature Makes Lunch Easier For Children During Summer

A new feature on the Nutrislice app will show parents and students where the nearest Summer Meal Program site is. With 20 million viewers, the mobile application is designed to inform people about the school lunch program and to help alleviate food insecurity in Florida.


Marcia Daniel (right) is the executive director of Life's Choices of Lake County and Beth Harrison (left) is a former client of Life's Choices. Representative Sullivan is in the middle. The photo was taken just after the bill passed out of its first Senate committee meeting on Tuesday.

Bills Proposing Abortion Counseling, Waiting Period For Women Move Forward

A set of bills moving through the Florida Senate and House of Representatives would require women to attend a counseling session 24 hours prior to having an abortion procedure. Proponents of the legislation believe the bills would provide awareness, while others believe the mandated counseling could have a negative impact on women’s health.


Florida House Bills Allowing Concealed Carry In Schools Pass Judiciary Committee

Two bills proposing changes to existing state standings on concealed weapons and firearms in schools won favorable votes in the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday. HB 4005 and HB 19 will now be put to a vote on the House floor before moving on to the state Senate.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Underwriting Payments