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July 1, 2021

The preliminary injunction blocks the law from going into effect on July 1

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida, representing the Fair Elections for Democracy Campaign, secured a preliminary injunction today in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida in its challenge against Senate Bill 1890, a law that undermines the citizens’ initiative process and violates Floridians’ First Amendment rights. The law, signed by Governor Ron DeSantis, was to go into effect on July 1 and would have imposed a $3,000 limit on the donations individuals could make to sponsors of state ballot initiatives.

“Senate Bill 1890 is just another attempt to undermine Florida citizens’ rights and we are pleased the court blocked it from going into effect today,” said Nicholas Warren, staff attorney at the ACLU of Florida. “The Florida Legislature has made it increasingly harder and costlier to propose citizens’ initiatives and get them on the ballot. We know this effort is unconstitutional because it violates Floridians’ First Amendment rights, and we look forward to getting the law permanently struck down.”

The restrictions of SB 1890 violated long-standing First Amendment case law. Decades ago, Florida tried to implement the same contribution cap for citizens’ initiative sponsors, and this same U.S. District Court—affirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals and Supreme Court—struck down the limit as violating the First Amendment, which protects our freedom to express views on political matters and act collectively to do so.

The motion for a preliminary injunction argued that SB 1890 limited the Fair Elections for Democracy sponsors’ ability to spread their message and ideas for improving Florida’s democracy, as well as to secure the signatures needed to get their initiatives on the ballot, due to the high cost of collecting petition signatures in Florida.

A copy of the order for preliminary injunction is available here:

Read the lawsuit challenging S.B. 1890 here: