Bill making it harder to amend the state Constitution advances
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. 1/4/23-Rep. Rick Roth, R-West Palm Beach, speaks during the House Agriculture Conservation & Resiliency Subcommittee, Wednesday at the Capitol in Tallahassee. COLIN HACKLEY PHOTO

Rick Roth says 'scary and perilous times' call for protecting the state Constitution.

A bill that would require a greater proportion of voters to support amending the state Constitution is advancing.

Republican Rep. Rick Roth of West Palm Beach is proposing legislation (HJR 129) that would raise the required share of “yes” votes for a constitutional amendment to pass from 60% to 66.67%. Tuesday, the House Judiciary Committee gave its nod to the measure the resolution’s second committee stop, with Democrats opposed.

Roth referenced well-heeled special interests, big tech and “scary and perilous times” as reasons to increase the bar for amending the state Constitution.

“There are just too many funny things going on in America today that are usurping our rights,” Roth said.

Such a threshold would have meant Marsy’s Law victims’ rights and $15 minimum wage amendments wouldn’t have made it into the state Constitution.

This is the fifth time Roth has proposed the legislation. Sen. Joe Gruters has proposed identical legislation (SB 1410) in the Senate. It hasn’t yet received a committee hearing.

If both Chambers agree, it will be placed on a ballot for voters to decide.

Testimony, though, brought forward blistering criticism.

“I appreciate Rep. Roth’s paternalistic intent to protect Florida voters from our current, misinformation-filled landscape,” said Matthew Smith, representing sheetmetal workers. “I believe the bill is unnecessary, frivolous and does not represent the wishes of the majority of voters … It seems like the bill is a usurpation of the people’s ability and right to govern themselves.”

The bill heads next to the Judiciary Committee and then, if advanced, to the State Affairs Committee.

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing [email protected].


  • SteveHC

    March 14, 2023 at 4:33 pm

    ” ‘There are just too many funny things going on in America today that are usurping our rights,’ Roth said.” – Yes, and Roth and DeSantis are among the perpetrators of those “funny things”.

  • steve grabarczyk

    March 14, 2023 at 4:37 pm

    Matthew Smith, you would change your tune if you were one of the thousands that lost their jobs thru a political hack job at the CRC to eliminate greyhound racing.

  • Bob Martin

    March 15, 2023 at 12:56 pm

    It is wrong to lower the rights of citizens to amend the state constitution.

Comments are closed.


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