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Supreme Court tosses legislature’s amendments off ballot

by Dara Kam | August 31st, 2010

The Florida Supreme Court today threw out three proposed constitutional amendments placed on the November ballot by lawmakers.

The court tossed an amendment that would have watered down two other amendments put on the ballot by citizens’ petition dealing with redistricting, another designed to give tax breaks to first-time home-buyers and a third passed by lawmakers opposed to federal health care reforms.

The Supreme Court found that all three legislative proposals were misleading and struck them from the ballot.

The court also today refused to remove two proposed amendments put on the ballot by citizens’ initiative that would revamp the way congressional and legislative districts are drawn.

All constitutional amendments require 60 percent approval by voters to pass.

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3 Responses to “Supreme Court tosses legislature’s amendments off ballot”

  1. Kevin Says:

    I’m pretty sure amendments only need 60% approval by voters, not two-thirds as stated in the article.

  2. Arbar Says:

    Excellent news!!! No more finagling of the district lines to favor Republicans!!! Thank you Florida Supreme Court!!!

  3. We Need Rick Scott to Save Supreme Ct! Says:

    These decisions are truly an outrage, especially concerning Amendment 9 where 3 Chiles-appointed justices (Quince, Lewis, Pariente) arbitrarily and inconsistently retreated from their unanimous order in 2004 to place the amendment text of a legislatively-proposed amendment on the ballot (in lieu of ballot summary the Ct itself found defective), as a remedy consistent with legislative intent (i.e. for voters be heard on the issue, not conditioned upon a few statements in a ballot summary, a requirement legislature exempted itself from in 2004), the constitution under Art. XI, and the enfranchisment of voters (not disenfranchisment).

    The Court clearly wants to reserve for itself the power to pick and choose which amendments go forth to the voters, using the flimsiest of rationales to present a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t scenario.” They say the voters need to be fairly informed, and strike amendments for being too short/not saying enough, and then strike the actual amendment text because it doesn’t explain the “chief purpose” as the Court sees it. Basically, unless the legislature has the court write its language ahead of time (e.g. by seeking an advisory opinion, as for citizen initiatives), upon being challenged the court has full authority to simply say “nope, while this is the actual text of the amendment, voters are too stupid to understand the chief purpose” or “while this simply explains the amendment, voters are not advised of x, y, z in the amendment”…

    I hope the electors speak on November 2 not to retain Labarga (a conservative, please) and Perry, and keep this in mind if/when the time comes around for Pariente, Quince and Lewis. We need Rick Scott to bring our SC back to where it should be, as a neutral referee that interprets and applies the law consistently, while exercising its equitable powers in respect of the constitution and separation of powers so as to enfranchise voters, not disenfranchise them.

    Let’s Get to Work!

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