TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The House Public Integrity & Elections Committee today voted to pass House Joint Resolution 1127, which would further obstruct the ability of citizens to directly participate in the democratic process through ballot initiatives.
HJR 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. Under this new rule, successful citizen initiatives like raising the minimum wage, restoring voting rights to Floridians, and preserving our state’s land and water would have been blocked from even being considered by the voters.
The Senate companion, SJR 1412, has not yet had a committee vote. If the Legislature approves this amendment, it would appear on the 2022 ballot for voter approval.
Kara Gross, legislative director of the ACLU of Florida, responded to today's hearing with the following:
“Certain legislators continue to find new ways to make the already-stringent citizen initiative process even more challenging for Floridians. For years now, the Legislature has created barriers to obstruct Floridians’ ability to participate directly in our democracy and have their voices heard. In 2019 and 2020, legislators passed HB 5 and SB 1794, which radically gutted the citizen initiative process by making it more expensive and cumbersome. In 2021, they passed SB 1890, which unconstitutionally caps the donations Floridians can give ballot initiative campaigns that they support.
“Floridians have had the right to amend the state’s Constitution for over 50 years. Through citizen initiatives, Floridians have ended permanent felony disenfranchisement, allowed access to medical marijuana for individuals who are ill, and preserved the state’s natural water and land resources. None of these changes—which all had support from a supermajority of voters—would have been possible if this legislation had been in effect.
“HJR 1127 is the latest attempt to sabotage Florida’s citizen initiative process and undermine the ability of Floridians to have their voices heard. Its intent is to prevent the public from voting on amendments that will improve the lives of everyday Floridians. This bill would erode direct democracy in this state."