Should court be able to strip lawmakers’ amendments off ballot?by Dara Kam | March 21st, 2011
A measure that would bar the Florida Supreme Court from stripping proposed constitutional amendments off the ballot because of deficiencies in the ballot title or summary narrowly made it through its first stop in the Senate this morning.
The proposal (SB 1504) also would impose more restrictions on petition gatherers.
House Speaker Dean Cannon and Senate President Mike Haridopolos have gone after the court for tossing a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow Florida to opt out of the federal health care law. The proposal would require the court to send an amendment back to the state department with instructions on how to fix it and allow the secretary of state to alter it and then place it directly on the ballot without further court review.
The measure, sponsored by Sen. David Simmons, R-Maitland, would also:
-Require the paid signature gatherers to be eligible vote in Florida;
- Prohibit them from being paid by the petition;
- Require that their names be on all the petitions;
- Reduce from four years to 20 months the amount of time the petitions are valid.
The bill passed on a 7-5 vote, with Republican Paula Dockery, R-Lakeland, joining Democrats in opposition.