(The Center Square) – Keep Our Constitution Clean is asking Florida voters in Amendment 4 to mandate all proposed amendments to the Florida Constitutional be approved in successive elections to be enacted.
Only Nevada has a similar “think twice” qualification to amending its constitution, but, after Florida voters were confronted with 12 proposed constitutional amendments in 2018, proponents argue it’s too easy to meddle with Florida's foundational document.
“Our goal is to ensure voters are given the opportunity to fully understand the immediate and future impacts of any proposed changes to our state constitution,” Keep Our Constitution Clean states. “Read the full text of this proposed constitutional amendment – the Voter Approval of Constitutional Amendments – and THINK TWICE to help keep our constitution clean.”
Keep Our Constitution Clean Chairperson Jason Zimmerman, an attorney at Orlando law firm GrayRobinson, said proposed amendments “should have to go through voters twice so voters actually can take the time to understand all of the implications of that constitutional amendment.”
At least three recent polls indicate Amendment 4 likely will fall short of the 60% majority needed to pass but is not being roundly rejected:
• In St. Pete Polls’ survey of 2,906 voters from Sept. 21-22, 46.1% said "yes," 35.1% said "no" and 18.8% were unsure.
• In a University of North Florida survey of 3,142 voters from Oct. 1-4, 41% approved, and 52% disapproved.
* In a Saint Leo University survey of 500 voters from Sept. 27-Oct. 2, 57.6% approved “to some extent,” 27.4% “strongly support it,” 8% “somewhat opposed” it and 16.8% were “strongly opposed.”
Many organizations oppose Amendment 4, including the League of Women Voters, the American Civil Liberties Union, the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, Common Cause and the Southern Poverty Center.
They argue Florida lawmakers already have made it difficult and expensive for citizen initiated proposals to get on the ballot, and there is no reason to think twice about Amendment 4, calling it a “naked attempt” by “dark money” to thwart citizens from adopting initiatives popular with the people but not with Republican lawmakers, such as legalizing medical marijuana in 2016, 2018’s felon voting measure and 2020’s Amendment 2, which would raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2026.
Keep Our Constitution Clean, the committee sponsoring Amendment 4, has raised only $165,500 in cash since 2019 but has received $8.85 million in “in-kind services” from Fort Lauderdale-based law firm Haber Blank LLP.
The committee formed in 2018 to lobby against an indoor vaping ban being considered by the Constitution Revision Commission (CRC), an appointed panel created in 1968 to convene every 20 years to review the state’s constitution.
The CRC convened for its third time in 2018 – and most likely its last – and approved eight proposed amendments for the ballot.
Among them was Amendment 9, which imposed an indoor vaping ban and banned offshore drilling in state waters. Nearly 69% of voters endorsed the measure, one of 12 approved in 2018.
Keep Our Constitution Clean received $80,000 from Vuse vaping manufacturer Reynolds American Inc. to lobby against the vaping ban before the CRC. It also received a $150,000 start-up plug in 2018 from A Better Miami-Dade Inc., a nonprofit whose tax records document links to Associated Industries of Florida, Florida Power & Light, U.S. Sugar Corp. and Walt Disney World.
The League of Women Voters of Florida filed a lawsuit in September demanding Keep Our Constitution Clean reveal who its contributors are.
“Voters deserve transparency,” League President Patti Brigham said.