TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Senate Ethics and Elections Committee today voted to pass Senate Joint Resolution 1412, which would obstruct the right of citizens to participate directly in democracy through the ballot initiative process.
SJR 1412 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, citizen initiatives like universal pre-Kindergarten, ensuring fair districts, 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 Florida voters.
Kara Gross, legislative director and senior policy counsel of the ACLU of Florida, responded to today’s vote with the following:
“Over the past few decades, legislators have attempted to make the already-stringent citizen initiative process even more challenging for Floridians. 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 would unconstitutionally cap the donations Floridians can give to ballot initiative campaigns that they support.
“SJR 1412 and HJR 1127 are the Legislature’s latest attack in its long-running quest to sabotage the process voters have used to improve the lives and well-being of Floridians when state leaders fail to act on the will of the people. The intent of this new joint resolution is crystal clear: prevent the public from placing substantive proposals on the ballot for voter consideration that will improve the lives of everyday Floridians. We the People used the citizen initiative process to end permanent felony disenfranchisement; We the People used the citizen initiative process to ensure that sick individuals would have access to medical marijuana; We the People used the citizen initiative process to preserve the state’s natural water and land resources. None of these proposals would have been possible if this legislation had been in effect.
“Floridians’ right to amend the state’s constitution has been enshrined for 50 years. Florida lawmakers should focus their attention on improving the lives of Floridians, not attempting to restrict one of the few ways Floridians can act when we are failed by the legislature."