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Amendment 6’

Sandra Fluke joins Amend 6 opposition

Thursday, October 11th, 2012 by Dara Kam

Sandra Fluke has joined a cadre of abortion advocates urging voters to shoot down Amendment 6, a proposed constitutional amendment on the November ballot dealing with abortion.

The measure, one of 11 proposed changes to the constitution put on the ballot by the GOP-dominated legislature, would bar the spending of state money for abortions, something already banned by state and federal law. And it would do away with privacy restrictions in the state constitution used to strike down abortion restrictions on other proposed Florida laws.

Fluke drew national attention when Republicans refused to allow her to testify at a congressional hearing earlier this year about whether Georgetown University, a Catholic school where she was a law student, should be required to provide contraception coverage in its insurance plan. Palm Beach resident Rush Limbaugh drew condemnation for bashing attacking Fluke on his radio show, calling her a “slut.” He later apologized.

Fair District backers want Cannon to call off the lawyers

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011 by John Kennedy

Days after a Miami judge ruled against a pair of Florida members of Congress, leaders of the so-called Fair Districts campaign Wednesday called on House Speaker Dean Cannon to abandon financing any further challenges to the voter-approved standard for drawing congressional district lines.

“We believe that it is time for the Florida Legislature to quit using taxpayer money to battle its own constituents,” Dan Gelber, a former Democratic state senator wrote on behalf of Fair Districts supporters. “Your efforts in this case are nothing more than an ill-advised attempt to obstruct a reform the people overwhelmingly supported.

“Surely, given the state’s economic challenges, there are better uses for taxpayer dollars,” Gelber concluded.

Last week, U.S. District Judge Ursula Ungaro dismissed the lawsuit by U.S. Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart, a Miami Republican, and Corrine Brown, D-Jacksonville, who sought to have Amendment 6 declared unconstitutional. The House had intervened in the case, but Cannon insisted it was only because the Legislature would have to implement whatever ruling came out of the court.

Now that the court effectively ended the legal challenge, the NAACP, League of Women Voters, and other backers of the Fair Districts effort — mostly Democratic-allied organizations — said the Republican speaker ought to also call off the lawyers.

A Cannon spokeswoman, Katie Betta, said the speaker was still reviewing the judge’s order and hadn’t yet determined the House’s next step.


Randolph wants Cannon to show him the money

Thursday, July 28th, 2011 by John Kennedy

A Central Florida Democrat wants House Speaker Dean Cannon to show how much the chamber is spending as an “intervenor” in the lawsuit filed by a pair of Florida members of Congress seeking to overturn the voter-approved Amendment 6.

Rep. Scott Randolph, D-Orlando, wrote Cannon, R-Winter Park, on Thursday.

“It is apparent that the Florida House—and thereby, the Florida taxpayers—are the ones shouldering the cost of this litigation,” Randolph wrote.  “As a member of the Florida House and a caretaker of Florida’s tax dollars, I find it imperative to be able to tell my constituents how their tax dollars are being used in this litigation.”

The Legislature reported spending $712,287 through June on legal expenses related to redistricting. But the total doesn’t itemize what has been spent on the Amendment 6 challenge, brought by U.S. Reps. Corrine Brown, D-Jacksonville, and Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Miami, who are seeking to have the measure thrown out as unconstitutional by a federal court.

A hearing scheduled for Friday in the matter has been postponed until Sept. 9 before U.S. District  Judge Ursula Ungaro in Miami.

Amendments 5 and 6, which will guide the redrawing of district boundaries for House, Senate and congressional districts, were approved by 63 percent of Florida voters last fall, after a campaign led primarily by Democratic-allied organizations.

Randolph, and most legislative Democrats, have been angered by Cannon’s decision to seek intervention in the challenge to Amendment 6. But the speaker has insisted the move was merely “due diligence” by the chamber, which will be charged with drawing district lines beginning in January.

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