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Lawmakers would require two-thirds vote to amend Florida constitution

If the people of Florida want to make their voices heard in Tallahassee, they may have to speak a bit more emphatically going forward.

Senate Joint Resolution 866, filed by Ocala Republican Dennis Baxley, would require a 2/3 majority to amend the Florida Constitution. The current threshold is 60 percent.

Recent high-profile ballot measures have cleared the two-thirds marker.

In 2014, Amendment 1, dealing with water and land management funds, cleared with almost 75 percent of the vote.

2016’s Amendment 2, expanding qualifying conditions and types of medical marijuana available, passed with 71 percent of the ballot.

Baxley’s bill is the Senate companion to the House version, filed on Monday by State Rep. Rick Roth, a Loxahatchee Republican.

Baxley told us that Roth visited him to pitch the bill, and Baxley agreed to carry the Senate version, under a shared “agreement to protect the Constitution” as a “defining document.”

“The Constitution,” said Baxley, “is not the place to do appropriations or policy.”

A “cottage industry” of activists, claimed Baxley, is “making it very hard for the legislature to adjust … to change in our culture.

On 2016’s push to liberalize regulations for medical cannabis, Baxley said regarding the assertion that the Legislature was “unresponsive,” that “no is a response.”

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Baxley would be open to legislation requiring a 2/3 vote to pass laws in the House and Senate also, though none has been filed yet.

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a working journalist for over two decades, with bylines in national and local publications alike on subjects ranging from pop music to national and global politics. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014, and has held a column in Jacksonville, Florida's Folio Weekly for two decades. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." Gancarski is a frequent presence on Jacksonville television and radio, including fill-in slots on WJCT-FM's award-winning talk show "First Coast Connect." He can be reached at a.g.gancarski@gmail.com.

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