IRI

Initiative & Referendum Institute

at the University of Southern California 


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Initiative

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Elections Division

 


 

Initiatives (1976-2000)

 


 

Steps to Undertake an Initiative Campaign

 


 

IConstitutional and Statutory Provisions

 


 

Historical Information (Secretary of State)

 


Florida

Florida's constitution of 1968 allows citizens to amend the constitution by initiative. The initiative provision was first put to use in 1976, when voters adopted an amendment sponsored by Governor Ruben Askew requiring public disclosure of campaign contributions. During the period 1968-2006, voters over 80 percent of initiated amendments, the highest approval rate among active states. Most amendments have been placed on the ballot by the legislature -- of the 110 amendments approved through 2006, 22 were initiatives and 88 were legislative measures.

The state legislature and courts have frequently sought to curtail citizen lawmaking. In response to passage of the first initiative in 1976, the legislature approved bills that banned the collection of signatures at polling places, and imposed a 10-cent-per-signature "verification fee" on submitted petitions.

In 2000, environmentalists won a major victory with passage of an initiative mandating creation of a high-speed rail system capable of speeds in excess of 120 miles per hour, and in 2002 voters approved a constitutional amendment guaranteeing a minimum living space for pregnant pigs, an amendment that was ridiculed by some officials as trivializing the constitution. Unhappy with these amendments, in 2003 Governor Jeb Bush vetoed funding for the high speed rail project and in 2004 led a successful initiative campaign to repeal the high-speed amendment. In 2006 the legislature placed an amendment on the ballot requiring a 60 percent affirmative vote to approve initiated constitutional amendments. With the passage of the 60-percent majority amendment, Florida became one of only two states in the nation to require a supermajority for constitutional amendments, and the only initiative state with such a requirement.

In recent years, state courts have been very aggressive enforcing the single subject rule, striking several measures from the ballot after signatures had already been collected.

2013 Initiative & Referendum Institute

USC School of Law

Los Angeles CA 90089-0071