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Ballot Initiatives’

Confusing amendments could still get on the ballot

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011 by Dara Kam

GOP House leaders hatched a new plan to keep the Florida Supreme Court from scrapping the legislature’s proposed constitutional amendments from the ballot.

The new plan (HB 1261) is the latest salvo in House Speaker Dean Cannon’s battle with the high court, which last year removed three proposed constitutional amendments the legislature attempted to put on the ballot. Cannon released his latest plan to overhaul the Supreme Court earlier today.

The latest proposal would require that the full text of a proposed amendment goes on the ballot even if the court rules the ballot summaries are misleading, confusing or defective. Court challenges about the summaries would have to be filed within 30 days after the amendments are filed with the secretary of state.

A House committee is expected to vote on the measure tomorrow.

Should court be able to strip lawmakers’ amendments off ballot?

Monday, March 21st, 2011 by Dara Kam

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.

Former child molester victims resort to constitutional change out of desperation

Monday, July 6th, 2009 by Dara Kam

A West Palm Beach lawyer who was repeatedly raped by a neighbor when he was 7 years old and the mother of a man who committed suicide 20 years after he was sexually molested by his Boca Raton karate teacher are desperate.

After five years, they’ve given up trying to get legislators to do away with the statute of limitations on civil and criminal punishment for child molesters that are now protected by time in Florida state law.

Their chief opponent, they say? The Catholic Church.

Now West Palm Beach Lawyer Michael Dolce is trying to get voters to do what lawmakers would not. He’s launched a petition drive to get a ballot initiative on next year’s November ballot.

Jeff Smith

Jeff Smith

Lantana resident Patti Robinson, whose only child Jeff Smith killed himself on Christmas morning in 2001, is tapping her grief to help Dolce get the law changed.

“I felt this would be the best way that I could memorialize him so we would maybe save somebody else from having to go through the pain and suffering he did,” Robinson said.

Read the full story here.

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