TALLAHASSEE, FL - The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee today voted to pass SB 7096, which would undermine the ability of citizens to directly participate in the democratic process and further complicate Florida’s onerous constitutional amendment process.
SB 7096 would require a petition gatherer to register with the Secretary of State and require the name of the sponsor of an initiative to appear on the ballot with the percentage of donations received from certain in-state donors. It would also prohibit compensation for initiative petition gatherers based on the number of petitions gathered. By complicating the constitutional amendment process, the bill raises First Amendment concerns and adds unnecessary and confusing language to Florida ballots.
Micah Kubic, executive director, ACLU of Florida responded to today’s vote saying:
“It seems our state lawmakers are intent on undermining the voice of Floridians this legislative session. Not only are they attempting to thwart the will of 5.1 million voters by restricting Amendment 4, but they are also seeking to gut our state’s citizen initiative process with SB 7096. This bill imposes barriers on the ability of Floridians to petition and directly amend our state’s constitution when our state government fails to act. Tampering with this right insults our authority as citizens and would make Florida’s citizen initiative process one of the most restrictive in the country.”
Kirk Bailey, political director, ACLU of Florida responded to today’s vote saying:
“Our Constitution protects citizens’ right to have a say in the direction of our state and this bill entirely undermines that right. We ask state legislators to oppose this bill and instead stand for our democratic process and the First Amendment.”