Constitutional panel may combine issues of greyhound racing, offshore drilling and vaping into one ballot question – Florida Politics

Constitutional panel may combine issues of greyhound racing, offshore drilling and vaping into one ballot question

The halls of the Capitol may be quiet, but behind the scenes a hurly-burly packaging of Constitution Revision Commission (CRC) proposals is underway.

Its Style and Drafting Committee intends to finish its work next week, with final commission votes to follow shortly thereafter.

Twenty-five proposals are still active, with the stated intention they’ll be packaged together before coming back to the floor.

The CRC doesn’t have the same single subject requirement that citizen initiatives do, nor are amendments subject to Supreme Court review.

One proposal under consideration is Proposal 67 (P67) by Republican state Sen. Tom Lee of Thonotosassa, which will phase out and ban greyhound racing by 2020. It received 18 votes to send it to Style and Drafting, but will need 22 to make it onto the November ballot.

The proposal is sponsored by two former Senate Presidents, Lee and Don Gaetz, and Commissioner Brecht Heuchan, who chairs the Style and Drafting Committee.

Lee was appointed by House Speaker Richard Corcoran, Gaetz by Senate President Joe Negron, and Heuchan by Gov. Rick Scott.

Recently released survey data from Republican pollster Jim McLaughlin shows P67 is supported by 65 percent of Floridians, and approval grows to 70 percent among “informed” voters.

P67 receives not less than 63 percent support in any area of the state. It plays well with women (75 percent), married women (75 percent), women with children (76 percent), independents (67 percent), and independent women (77 percent). These voter profiles will be critical in the upcoming November elections.

Moreover, 73 percent were more likely to support ending greyhound racing when hearing about the confinement dogs endure, with 61 percent of voters much more likely to vote ‘yes.’

Speaking of grouping, one likely combination is a union of P67 with Proposal 91 that would ban offshore drilling, and Proposal 65 to ban vaping in places where smoking is already outlawed.

It could be a matter of a rising tide lifting all boats: Proposals 91 and 65 would get the benefit of the greyhound proposal this fall, including its legion of grassroots advocates. Meanwhile, Proposal 67 becomes a sure bet to pass on the floor.

With voters, the combination makes sense. The vaping ban (68 percent), oil drilling ban (59 percent) and greyhound racing phase-out (65 percent) all enjoy clear majorities of support among voters statewide.

There is also overlap in terms of support for these three amendments, with large percentages of voters who favor ending greyhound racing also supporting bans on vaping and oil drilling off the Florida coast.

In fact, nearly three of four (73 percent) who vote yes on ending greyhound racing also support the ban on vaping.

Overlap with the offshore drilling ban is similar, at 68 percent. Combine the three proposals, and the total momentum could pull all across the finish line.

Such is the square dance taking place now with the 25 proposals still alive. Every camp is exploring possible partners, and looking to prevent pairings that seem disadvantageous. And next week, the music will start to play.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, Florida Politics, Orlando Rising and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also publisher of the quarterly INFLUENCE Magazine. For several years, SaintPetersBlog was ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

33 Comments

  1. A poll conducted last March showed 73% of Floridians (Democrats, Republicans, and independents) wanted the CRC to put an open primaries amendment on the ballot. It was the #2 topic addressed by citizens during the “listening tour”. Did the commission listen? Commissioner Schifino and the Ethics and Elections Committee did, but the rest, no so much.

  2. LOL hey Peter, maybe look into the “confinement” claim by those supporting P67. One comment on a DBPR investigative form which was the “opinion” of the investigator. When emailed and asked to back up that statement made years ago by Mr. Toner the one who wrote the report, they will not comment on it either way. So this “dogs are in cages 20 hours a day BS was ONE persons OPINION at DBPR YEARS ago. If thats all these people have to hang their hat on, this just makes Florida that much more of a joke.

    1. Please, tell us about the confinement claim. We know, from industry information, that the greyhounds are commonly locked in cages for 20 or more hours per day. We know the size of those cages as they are an industry standard. No one outside of racing considers it humane to lock animals in such small cages for such long periods.

      1. Because they are NOT in crates that are big enough for two griwn men to sit in together for 20 hrs a day. That is a proposterus claim.

        1. You’re right, Terri, the crates are not big enough for two grown men to sit in together for 20 hours a day. The cages are too small for tall male greyhounds to stand erect and lift their heads. If the general public kept a dog in those conditions, they’d be cited for animal cruelty.

          1. Wrong again the crates are big enough for two grown men to sit in together. I have pictures taken personally of that. And again the greyhounds are NOT kept in crates for 20 hrs a day. Visit a kennel stop spreading the lies.

          2. I have pictures, too, Terri, and I’m quite familiar with the size of the cages. The fact the greyhounds languish in those cages for 20 or more hours per day is common knowledge in the industry.

      2. You don’t know that, Eric. Because no such “industry information” exists. A statement that addresses turnouts (5 times a day – 30 -60 minutes) cannot be used to determine amount of time crated. You also need to include time outside for grooming, walking, sprinting, schooling, whirlpools, etc. Your statement is a lie.

      3. It is rediculous to state as fact that greyhounds are kept in cages 20 hours a day. Greyhounds are turned out 5 to 6 times a day. They are checked over after every race, they get whirlpool treatments, they are sprinted. Unlike Mr. Jackson I have actually been to a racing kennel and have helped feed. I know the truth and I have no reason to lie.

        1. Candy, you need to tell your buddies in the industry to stop putting their own truth out there. You claim the dogs are turned out “5 to 6 times a day” but there are numerous reports from kennel hands that the dogs are turned out “three or four times a day” and that those turnouts last “45 mins to one hour.” That math is pretty easy to do, and it turns out the dogs are, routinely, kept in their cages for 20 or more hours per day.

          As for you having no reason to lie, do you still own racing dogs? You have been pro-racing for many years, and an end to racing would mean an end to one of your hobbies. Whether that’s enough justification to lie is up to you.

    2. Yeah, except that isn’t all “these people” have to hang their hats on is it Stevie boy? There’s the needless, sometimes untreated injuries, the very real chance of dying on the track, the dogs that come to adoption groups covered in ticks and fleas with rotting teeth, the 4D meat and the list goes on. And on.

      1. Fred all your lies have been debunked with actual evidence. It is you who have the problem with that. You were asked to post your evidence and you refused. “Do it yourself” you said. You are a sad excuse that blows nothing but hot air. Must really suck to have to lie constantly to push your defamatory and misguided agenda. Really don’t know how you sleep at night. One tip for you Freddie boy, Florida Statute 836. Read it, learn it, and scrub some of your, well most of your articles from your blog. You obviously, have been drinking Flint water there in MI, it really shows.

        1. Did you read 836? Not a single thing claimed by GREY2K USA Worldwide has been debunked. The evidence is attached to all of our reports, right there on the website. In other words, we’ve done the research for you.

        2. Actually you’re the one getting debunked there Stevie boy. Why do you think Prop 67 has gotten as far as it has? Why do you think states are bailing on greyhound racing? And please tell me it’s because people are stupid and believe the AR lies because it’s very important that you continue to alienate the people you need on your side.

  3. The polls you mention here mean nothing, is represented by grey2k, a scam group with documented evidence of their fraudulent activities. Prop 67 will be stopped in court if put on the ballot by these shady activities. They know it won’t even get the votes to be on the ballot by itself.

    1. Andy, yes and here is the example of this. THIS IS REAL, check out the docs handed in for the JAX CRC meeting(wish they allowed pics posted) Page 253 has a lady commenting that “They are confined 20-30 hours a day, this is inhumane” That is the mentality of all these people.

  4. Combining Prop 67 with any other Prop is just utterly ridiculous, as they have nothing in common. And I certainly wouldn’t count on any poll that was funded by an out of state animal activist group. There are several other polls that overwhelmingly show that people do not want greyhound racing in Florida to end.

    It seems as though Senator Lee is making every attempt possible to have this piggybacking on another Proposal. Why would that be? I can think of several reasons… He has failed to be able to answer all legitimate questions posed his way on the subject. As well as being “outed” trying to pass along outdated info as being relevant today. How disingenuous. He clearly has not done the proper research on the subject, he has not even set foot in one Florida greyhound kennel. He has deliberately posed misconstrued “facts” and paired them with outright lies just to get this Prop pushed through. If the sponsor of the bill has not done enough due diligence to comprise a truthful body to this bill, and clearly lacks the knowledge to answer relevant questions reguarding it, then how are the voters supposed to have a clear representation of the truth that should be required to make an informed decision should this make the ballot? Not only does Prop 67 not qualify to be paired with any other Prop, but it does not belong in the Florida Constitution. Prop 67 should stay where it belongs, for the Legislature to decide.

    #VoteNoOnProp67

    1. The proposals are likely to be combined because that would reduce the number of items on the ballot. All three items mentioned have strong support from voters, with Prop 67 leading the way. The people of Florida are learning what goes on behind the scenes of the greyhound racing industry, and they don’t like it one bit.

      I look forward to seeing many thousands of Floridians voting YES on Prop 67.

  5. What an utterly ridiculous motion – not only are these 3 items totally unrelated but it makes a mockery of your voters. It would seem that you have no faith in your public if you feel that they cannot be capable of making the correct decision on 3 seperate items. It is also totally unjust to group these together as the results on an individual basis could be hugely different, it is no wonder that UK citizens find USA politics a joke when things like this occur – proceed and prepare to see tourism severely affected.

    1. I don’t understand what you think is going to severely affect tourism? The lack of vaping where smoking is prohibited? The fact that oil companies won’t be allowed to drill off Florida’s shores? Or do you think people actually travel to Florida for greyhound racing? We know that’s not happening – the industry numbers demonstrate that. People aren’t going to the races like they did in the 1980’s. Left to its own devices, greyhound racing would have collapsed years ago. It’s time to cut off the subsidies and let it go.

      1. Talking of subsidies – or in the case of Grey2K “donations” – could you tell me what the $618k received in 2016 was actually spent on? And I don’t mean the 3 measly paragraphs stating percentages that are not only meaningless but also misleading but the ACTUAL breakdown? You do realise that if you achieve your aim to shut down racing that there will be no requirement for you to have that donate button any longer? Oh and as for tourism many pro racers around the world take pleasure in visiting tracks in other countries – myself included.

        #VoteNoOnProp67

        1. No, “Kim,” I am not willing to give you a complete breakdown of the money spent by GREY2K USA Worldwide in 2016. If you are actually interested, I suggest you go to the effort of contacting our office directly, either by mail or by email. If you can’t even put your actual name to a post, I feel no obligation to share such detailed information with you.

          Our goal has always been to put ourselves out of business by ending commercial greyhound racing. We look forward to the day we can turn off the lights, shut the doors, and walk away with our job done. That will be a great day for us all.

          Feel free to travel anywhere you want. I don’t think a few hundred people involved in racing coming to Florida for the specific purpose of seeing dogs race around a small track is justification for keeping those tracks open. Florida saw more than 113 Million visitors in 2016. I would be shocked if more than a small handful of them chose Florida specifically because it has greyhound racing.

          I’m looking forward to seeing many people #VoteYesOnProp67

          1. There you go Eric – full name displayed as I have nothing to hide, so I’ve shown you mine now you show me yours – so again what was the $618k spent on as yes I am interested?

            I notice some was listed as being spent on ‘educational materials’ now correct me if I am wrong but I always understood education to be factual based but Grey2k are widely known to spread lies so surely a misappropriation of funds? You stated above that it was your ‘job’ – what salary did you take?

            As for the comment about only a handful choosing to visit a racetrack as part of their holiday wrong again – we have Disneyland in Paris on our doorstep so why on earth would we endure a 10 hour flight for the exact same thing? No – we go to visit the superb tracks in Florida.

            #VoteNoToProp67

          2. As I said, contact the office of you want more info. As for it being my job, again, I’m a volunteer meaning I don’t get paid, and I never have. The only things untruthful I’ve seen are the lies spread by the pro-racing folks here and in other comments.

            I’m sure the governor is prepared to shut down the state as soon as he finds out you won’t be visiting again.

          3. One more thing – I suggest you read Denis McKeon’s superb article listing the 10 popular myths about greyhounds – well written and informative – now that you will find ‘educational’.

            #VoteNoToProp67

  6. Originally I wanted to see the issue of racing on its own but I like the idea of coupling it. Perhaps the greyhounds will finally see their day.

    #VoteYesOnProp67

    1. As usual, the deaf, dumb and no lifers want to end racing- if you morons really wanted to know the truth – you would ask – instead of following bribed politicians and Ponzi scheme activists- Hilary lost- get over it- stop bothering people that aren’t bothering you- do you know tracks have adoption groups that place retired racers- not like shelters that kill once a week- of course the fools on this site with no life want to end racing- why not go after human trafficking-stop violence in video games-over medication of children – real issues- no these fools want to end dog racing- not dog fighting – dog racing- maybe if you had an identity or life – you’d realize not to be a complete loser and not bother hard working people- Tom Lee is bought by Indian Gaming- same as the journalists voting yes on 67- no ethics just bought- and the rest of you mindless sheep follow- I believe in God and the way Trump won – Prop 67 will be a no- and the rest of you Hilary hypocrites can do your little dance in hell-

      1. That was…strange. I don’t understand why you’re bringing Hillary into a discussion about greyhound racing. And rather than insult the good people of Florida, perhaps you should, as you suggest, “get a life.” Greyhound racing is a dying industry. It’s time for you and the other pro-racers to start looking for a new hobby. Florida is going to vote YES on Prop 67.

  7. Vote NO to proposal 67.

    For too long propaganda about greyhound racing has been allowed to flourish without response from the industry. We thought the truth was so blindingly evident that people would not be fooled by such ludicrous negative claims about our beloved hounds which are often spread with a donation button attached.

    Greyhounds are the elite athletes of our canine world and as such get the very best care which is a careful balance of exercise, rest, good feeding and general good husbandry.

    On behalf of our hounds please learn the truth for yourselves…watch the recent Paint the Trail videos from all around Florida.

    Our Greyhounds first passion is to run and providing a safe surface on tracks for them to display their 43mph speed is vital. Welfare is also vital and Florida has an excellent rehoming rate after racing. Why do they make Greyt pets? Because they have been so well socialised and cared for all their lives.

    Please do not take away a Greyhound’s freedom to choose to race.

    Make America Greyt again…celebrate and showcase your canine athletes to the thousands of tourists who travel from as far away as Ireland’s fair Isle to marvel at their ability.

    1. No one has ever claimed greyhound racing is “flourishing” in Florida. The greyhounds are exploited for their speed. They love to run, but humans have taken that wonderful ability and perverted it into commercial greyhound racing.

      Your suggestion that greyhounds “choose” to race is preposterous! If a greyhound won’t chase the lure, they’re not useful to the industry. The lucky ones get turned over to adoption groups, but others… Well, the numbers that are available from the industry don’t add up, so it would appear some dogs just “disappear.”

      Every time those dogs are put on the track, they risk injury and death. That’s indisputable. The state and industry records demonstrate the facts. When they’re not racing, greyhounds are locked in small cages for 20 or more hours per day.

      Greyhound racing is dying because the people don’t care for it. The state is spending more to regulate the industry than they receive from it. If you think people are coming from Ireland to see greyhounds race, you’re badly mistaken. There is commercial racing in Ireland and the UK. What they don’t have is Disney, the Gulf Coast, Cape Canaveral, or any of the other wonders that Florida offers.

      Greyhound racing is a cruel, inhumane industry whose time has come and long gone. Vote YES on Prop 67.

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