Florida Politics

Legislator wants to end practice of bundling unrelated issues in one ballot question

Florida state Sen. José Javier Rodríguez, D-Miami, proposed a measure that seeks to place a single-subject requirement on any amendment by the state Taxation and Budget Reform Commission.
Florida state Sen. José Javier Rodríguez, D-Miami, proposed a measure that seeks to place a single-subject requirement on any amendment by the state Taxation and Budget Reform Commission. Miami Herald file, 2016

Florida state Sen. José Javier Rodríguez, D-Miami, wants to prevent future constitutional amendments from including multiple topics. Rodríguez on Monday proposed a measure (SJR 396) that seeks to place a single-subject requirement on any amendment put forward by the state Taxation and Budget Reform Commission, which meets every 20 years to propose constitutional changes involving tax and budget issues.

Rodríquez also has filed a measure (SJR 176) that would place a similar cap on amendments proposed by the Florida Constitution Revision Commission, which also meets every 20 years.

The proposals are filed for consideration during the 2020 legislative session, which starts Jan. 14. Rodríguez filed similar proposals during the 2019 session, after controversy about “bundled” ballot proposals by the Constitution Revision Commission, such as one measure that banned both offshore oil drilling and vaping in workplaces. The commission put seven proposed constitutional amendments on the 2018 ballot, all of which passed.

The Taxation and Budget Reform Commission last met in 2007.

Both of Rodríguez’s proposals, along with a separate measure to abolish the Constitution Revision Commission, cleared the Senate in the 2019 session but did not pass the House.

In advance of the 2020 session, the Senate Judiciary Committee on Sept. 17 unanimously approved a measure (SJR 142), sponsored by Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, that would ask voters in 2020 to do away with the Constitution Revision Commission.

If passed by the Legislature, the Rodríguez and Brandes proposals would also need voter approval because they would involve changing the state Constitution.

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