Late Friday, in the closing hours of Florida’s legislative session, an amendment “was thrown onto the lifeboat of a different, unrelated bill in a last-ditch effort,” reported the Miami Herald, “to limit citizen-driven ballot initiatives.”
With poisonous provisions appended, House Bill 5 rushed through both chambers in mere hours with party-line GOP support. It’s now headed to the desk of Republican Governor Ron DeSantis (R) for a signature.
Or, better yet, a veto.
The legislation forbids campaigns from paying more to petition circulators who work harder and gather more voter signatures. Years ago, California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed an identically ridiculous and mean-spirited prohibition passed by that state’s Democratic-dominated legislature, writing: “It doesn’t seem very practical to me to create a system that makes productivity goals a crime.”
Surely, Gov. DeSantis is as adverse to government regulations and red-tape as was Governor Moonbeam.
HB 5 also mandates that a bold statement be placed on the ballot next to any measure estimated to have “increased costs, decreased revenues, a negative impact on the state or local economy, or an indeterminate impact for any of these areas.” Wait . . . if this information is so important to voters, why only inform them when the message is “negative” or “indeterminate,” but not when positive?
The sneaky maneuver “goes to show,” Florida Conservation Voters Director Aliki Moncrief noted, “how little respect [legislators] have for Florida voters.” The leader of one ballot measure effort called it the “ultimate of swampy moves.”
Ask Gov. DeSantis to defend the voters by vetoing HB 5 — call (850) 488-7146 or email him.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.