Florida voters will see proposed state constitutional amendments seeking to raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2026 and to adopt an open-primary system for state elections on their Nov. 3 ballot.
The two are among four citizen-initiated measures to qualify for the ballot after submitting at least 766,200 validated voter signatures by Feb. 1 to the state’s Division of Elections (DOE).
The Legislature also may refer constitutional amendments to go before voters. At least two are gaining traction in the 2020 session.
House Joint Resolution 301 would abolish the Constitution Revision Commission, which convenes every 20 years to refer constitutional amendments to voters. It has passed the House in a 93-25 vote and awaits review by Senate committees.
Companion House-Senate resolutions seeking to limit the 360 elected members of the state’s 74 public school boards to no more than eight consecutive years in office are advancing in both chambers.
The four citizen-initiated measures will appear on the ballot as:
Florida Citizen Voters’ proposal would amend the state constitution from “every citizen” can vote to “only citizens” can vote.
The measure had garnered 927,908 verified voter signatures, and Florida Citizen Voters had collected $2.455 million as of Friday.
Much of the money comes from Citizen Voters Inc., founded by John Loudon, a former Missouri state legislator and a former adviser to America First Policies.
Loudon’s Citizen Voters is working nationally to change state constitutions to explicitly state “only citizens” may vote in elections. Right now, the organization claims, only Arizona and North Dakota do so.
Similar 2020 measures are vying for the ballot in Alabama and Colorado. There is no discernible organized opposition.
Florida For A Fair Wage’s “Fight For $15” measure calls for raising the state’s minimum wage from $8.46 an hour to $10 in September 2021, with $1 an hour increases annually until it reaches $15 in 2026.
Afterward, the amendment would require the minimum wage increase annually in accordance with inflation.
Florida For A Fair Wage is led by John Morgan, a prominent Orlando trial attorney who also spearheaded the 2016 measure that legalized medical marijuana. His firm contributed nearly all of the $4.93 million in campaign contributions listed Friday with the DOE.
The measure is opposed by Save Florida Jobs, created Jan. 4 by the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association (FRLA), which includes representatives from Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, Olive Garden parent company Darden Restaurants and McDonald’s on its board.
As of Jan. 31, Save Florida Jobs had raised $50,000 from the National Restaurant Association and $5,000 from Red Lobster.
All Voters Vote’s proposal would allow all registered voters to cast ballots in open-primary elections for state Legislature, Governor and Cabinet, regardless of political affiliation. It would not apply to Congressional and Senate elections.
As of Friday, All Voters Vote had secured more than 776,000 signatures and received more than $6.976 million in contributions – about $6.6 million raised by Miami health-care executive Mike Fernandez.
Florida is one of 12 states with closed-party primaries restricting participation only to voters registered with that party.
The measure is opposed by Florida’s Republican and Democratic parties and state Attorney General Ashley Moody.
Keep Our Constitution Clean’s measure would require voter-approved constitutional amendments approved by more than 60 percent of voters in one election do so again in a second election to become part of the constitution.
Keep Our Constitution Clean had secured 783,175 signatures and $8.8 million in support – all but $158,000 in in-kind services provided by Fort Lauderdale-based law firm Haber Blank LLP – as of Friday.
There is no PAC specifically founded to campaign against it, but it is opposed by a wide range of groups.