TALLAHASSEE, FL - On Wednesday, the Florida House voted to pass Senate Bill 1794, which would drastically undermine the will of the people by gutting Florida’s citizen initiative process. The bill shortens the time period signed petitions are valid,drastically increases the number of petitions necessary for Supreme Court review, and increases the cost to submit each petition, which would make fundraising by everyday Floridians for an initiative effort nearly impossible.
The Legislature voted to pass the bill earlier this week. The bill is now en route to Gov. DeSantis’ desk.
Micah Kubic, executive director of the ACLU of Florida, responded to the vote with the following:
“This bill is designed to thwart Floridians’ right to participate directly in our democracy. It burdens Florida’s already strict ballot measure requirements with stringent criteria that would make it virtually impossible for everyday Floridians to successfully place amendments on our ballot to be considered by the public.. It makes the process so expensive that only the most well-funded special interest groups will be able to afford to participate. Through the citizen initiative process, Floridians were able to restore the right to vote to returning citizens, ensure fair congressional districts, allow for the use of medical marijuana, reduce class-sizes, and protect Florida’s natural resources. Florida’s power-elite does not like the fact that We the People have exercised our constitutional right to make changes that improve our lives. The sole intent of this legislation is to silence the voice of the people and the will of Floridians.
“All people should have equitable access to participating in our democracy through the citizen initiative process. Democracy shouldn’t be up for sale in Florida. It is already incredibly difficult for Floridians to amend our constitution, but it should not be impossible.
“We urge Gov. DeSantis to veto this bill and support Floridians’ right to participate directly in our democracy.”