Undertake an Initiative Campaign
IConstitutional and Statutory Provisions
Historical Information (Secretary of State)
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.