By Chris Ingram
The Tampa Tribune
Published Saturday, October 20, 2012
In 1968, Florida adopted a new constitution that provided a mechanism to amend the state’s constitution through ballot initiative. The new right was first exercised in 1976, when the “Sunshine Amendment” — which related to ethics in government and financial disclosure for elected officials — was approved.
Since then, there have been 124 proposed constitutional amendments for voters to consider. Of those, 54 percent have been put on the ballot by the state Legislature, 26 percent by citizens and 19 percent by the Constitutional Review Commission or the Florida Taxation and Budget Reform Committee.
Florida voters have voted on everything from gambling, term limits, land use, taxes, gay marriage, smoking in public, and pregnant pigs. I kid you not — there is an amendment in the Flori-duh constitution that guarantees the rights of pregnant pigs. The constitution! And pigs! You can’t make up nonsense like this.
Since 1976, 58 percent of proposed amendments on the ballot have passed with an average of 75 percent approval by voters. The Legislature’s proposals have the best success rate, at 88 percent approved. Of the 67 times the Mensas in Tallahassee have attempted a ballot initiative, voters have approved all but eight — an 88 percent pass rate.
The Capitol clans’ record would be even better had the Legislature not gotten in the way of itself in 2006. That year, the Legislature proposed a supermajority amendment requiring all future amendments on the ballot to pass by at least 60 percent. This was done because the Legislature doesn’t really like citizens poking around with public policy — such as when they got the public schools class-size amendment initiative on the ballot, which voters passed in 2002.
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Chris Ingram is the president and founder of 411 Communications a corporate and political communications firm, and publisher of Irreverent View. Ingram is a frequent pundit on Fox News and CNN, and has written opinion columns for the Washington Times, UPI, and National Review online. He is the Republican political analyst for Bay News 9, the only 24 hour all news channel in Florida’s largest media market. The opinions expressed here are those of author and do not represent the views of Bay News 9. E-mail him at: Chris@IrreverentView.com.
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