TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A proposal that would obstruct Floridians' right to participate directly in democracy through the citizen initiative process passed in the House Judiciary Committee today despite opposition from advocacy organizations across the state. House Joint Resolution 1127 proposes a constitutional amendment limiting the scope of future citizen initiatives to only government structure or procedural subjects, effectively ending the citizen initiative process in Florida. HJR 1127 now awaits a vote on the floor of the Florida House of Representatives.
Kara Gross, ACLU of Florida’s legislative director and senior policy counsel, responded to today’s vote with the following:
“These proposed changes to the citizen initiative process are not about fixing problems – they are about interfering with the will of Floridians. Through ballot initiatives, citizens have been able to improve the lives and well-being of Floridians. It is through the ballot initiative process that we were able to restore voting rights to Floridians, raise the minimum wage, and preserve our state’s land and water resources.
“The right to participate directly in our democracy through the ballot initiative process has been enshrined in Florida’s Constitution for the past fifty years — and every decade since, Florida lawmakers have worked to interfere with the process so Floridians have less and less say about the proposals they want to see passed in our state. That is unacceptable.
“Politicians trying to rewrite the rules because they do not like it when voters use their power is a trend that must come to an end. Florida lawmakers should respect the will of the people and Floridians' right to participate in our democracy through the citizen initiative process. They should vote no on these proposals and end the crusade of sabotaging the right of the people to be heard.”