A bill that would increase requirements for proposed constitutional amendments to get on the ballot is now on Gov. Ron DeSantis’ desk.
SB 1794 raises the threshold for initiatives to trigger judicial review to 25% of total required signatures. Right now, the review happens at 10%.
It also requires those signatures come from half of the congressional districts in Florida, rather than one quarter, as the law currently requires.
It also prevents petition signatures from rolling over to the next ballot and would allow county supervisors to increase charges for petition verification.
Critics say the bill would make it more difficult, in some cases prohibitively so, to get amendments on the ballot.
Last month a slew of advocacy groups led by the League of Women Voters of Florida signed on to a letter urging DeSantis to veto the bill.
Now that DeSantis has formally received the bill, he has 15 days to sign or veto the measure. If approved
The constitutional amendment bill was one of a half-dozen sent to the Governor of Wednesday. Others include a bill reauthorizing the state’s tourism marketing agency, VISIT FLORIDA, and a bill allowing Floridians to legally purchase and set off fireworks on certain holidays.
DeSantis has expressed support reupping VISIT FLORIDA and lawmakers included funding for the agency in the 2020-21 budget after it seemed likely to get the axe for most of the Legislative Session, before the coronavirus’ impact on the tourism industry compelled the House to relent and reauthorize it.
The bill will keep VISIT FLORIDA in statute through 2023, a shorter span than the Senate recommended but longer than the one-year extension the House initially offered.
On fireworks, Floridians have skirted the state’s ban for years by taking advantage of an agricultural industry loophole that allows them to be sold if the buyer signs a form declaring they will use them for “frightening birds.”
The bill would no longer to require Floridians to make such a claim if they set off the fireworks on New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day and Independence Day.