Florida has passed a bill that will likely make it harder to put citizens’ initiatives on the ballot. The bill (HB 5) places additional restrictions on gathering the hundreds of thousands of petition signatures needed to reach the ballot.
Changes to petition gathering will occur on July 7, 2019. Therefore, please gather as many petitions as you can by July 6 for the proposed amendments listed below. Stay tuned to this website for updates on changes that will occur on July 7.
For 2020 ballot proposals, supporters need to submit 76,632 valid signatures to trigger a review by the Florida Supreme Court. If justices sign off on the proposed ballot wording, supporters then would need to submit 766,200 signatures for the measures to go before voters. All but one of the amendments important to the Democratic Party has received sufficient signatures to trigger a judicial review:
• Minimum wage: Led by prominent Orlando attorney John Morgan, the political committee Florida For A Fair Wage is proposing to gradually increase the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour. Under the proposal, the minimum wage would go to $10 an hour on Sept. 30, 2021 and increase by $1 each year until it hits $15 an hour on Sept. 30, 2026. The state’s minimum wage this year is $8.46 an hour. The Supreme Court has not set a hearing date. Signatures submitted: 264,563.
• Medicaid expansion: The political committee Florida Decides Healthcare is pursuing a proposal that would expand Medicaid coverage to many low-income adults who are not currently eligible. Such an expansion is optional for states under the federal Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, and would apply to people whose incomes are up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. Numerous other states have expanded coverage in recent years, but Florida lawmakers have rejected the idea. Signatures submitted: 82,142.
• Assault weapons: Florida lawmakers last year rejected calls to ban assault-style weapons after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. The political committee Ban Assault Weapons Now is trying to put the issue on the 2020 ballot. The proposal defines the weapons as “semiautomatic rifles and shotguns capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition at once, either in fixed or detachable magazine, or any other ammunition-feeding device.” Signatures submitted: 74,624 – more petitions are needed to send this to the Florida Supreme Court.
PLEASE DO NOT SIGN THIS PETITION:
• Utility deregulation: The political committee Citizens for Energy Choices is pursuing a proposal that would overhaul the state’s electric utility industry. In part, the proposal calls for wholesale and retail electricity markets to “be fully competitive so that electricity customers are afforded meaningful choices among a wide variety of competing electricity providers.” The proposal, which faces fierce opposition from state leaders, business groups and utilities, is scheduled for an Aug. 28 Supreme Court hearing. Signatures submitted: 250,010.