Citizen's group fights against limiting citizens driven Constitutional Amendments by Mitch E. Perry

04/05/06

Today a dozen citizens gathered - in front of the Hillsborough County Center in downtown Tampa to bash an effort by state lawmakers to stifle the ability of citizens to get Constitutional Amendments on the ballot.

The group, called “Save the Voters� want to galvanize voters about several bills pending in the state legislature that could severely infringe upon the ability of citizen generated Constitutional Amendments…Specifically, legislation like Senate Bill 1436, and its companion in the House, 7307, that would require future constitutional amendments with a fiscal impact of more than .02% of the state’s budget must be passed by 66% of the voters, a substantial leap from the simple majority vote currently needed.

Bob Sullivan is Chairman of the Florida Sierra Club… (roll tape#1 o.q.so time to worry�)

And Sullivan says ideally Floridians would NOT need to alter the State Constitution, but could petition to change laws, such as in California…But since that remedy is not available, he says allowing citizens to add Amendments to the Constitutional is vital (roll tape#2 o.q.�take , you know?�)

Another bill looked at with disfavor by Save the Voters, is a bill sponsored by Jacksonville State Senator Jim King that would require all future constitutional amendments address a basic or fundamental right of citizens of Florida.

Another bill would increase fines and penalties for petition fraud , and place additional restrictions upon the signature gathering process.

Mike McCleary is from the Clean Water Network…He said that a Constitutional Amendment for Everglades restoration is proof that the citizens ability to petition their government is critical (roll tape#3 o.q.�the Everglades�)

Cheryl Schoeder is with the West Central Florida Federation of Labor(roll tape#1 o.q.�changed�)

Activist Phil Compton from the Florida Consumer Action Network said it’s important that the politicians in Tallahassee should respect the voters, not take the power away from them (roll tape#5 o.q.�to change the rules�)

Save Our Voters are asking Floridians to sign petitions, that urge statelawmakers to protect the right of Florida citzens to amend the state constitution. For more information, you can go to the web at savevotersvoice.org

For more information, go to the web at savethevoters.org

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