The hot, long days of summer can be taxing on most of us, not to mention petition gatherers who are responsible for hanging out in front of grocery stores collecting voter signatures in an effort to put citizens initiatives on the ballot for voters to decide.
Even with the Legislature imposing tougher requirements on petition gathers this year, there are a number of proposed amendments that still hope to reach the ballot by the 2020 election.
One of those is the minimum wage initiative that would raise the hourly wage to $15 by 2026. Backed by Orlando trial attorney John Morgan, who was also behind the medical marijuana in 2016. Morgan leads the group, Florida for a Fair Wage. The group has collected 343,749 signatures thus far. That’s more than half of the 766,200 registered petitions required to make the ballot.
That’s a tough task as it is, but this year’s Legislature passed a bill that Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law earlier this year could make it harder for citizen initiative constitutional amendments to get on the ballot.
Among other things, the new law makes it illegal to pay petition gatherers based on the number of petitions they collect. The law also requires that signed petitions be turned into county supervisors of elections within 30 days. Each petition submitted late would be assessed a fine of up to $50.–
Critics say the new requirements will make it more difficult to meet the required number of voter signatures to be placed on the ballot.
The changes in the law could pose challenges to other constitutional amendments that are trying to make the 2020 ballot,
Two other citizen initiatives have hopes of being placed on next year’s ballot, but they have a lot of work to make it on the ballot. One would legalize recreational marijuna, the other would ban assault weapons in Florida.
The marijuana legalization initiative goes by the name of Regulate Florida. The group has a total of 67,006, or less than a tenth of the number of signatures’ required to make the ballot. That’s about 9,000 voter signatures below what the group had hoped to have collected as this point of the drive, The move to ban assault weapons in the state has slightly more signatures with 94,925.
The group is called Ban Assault Weapons Now!
The proposed amendment classifies assault weapons as semi-automatic rifles and shotguns capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition at one time.
The proposal would exempt possession of such weapons by military and law enforcement personnel in their official duties and exempts assault weapons lawfully owned before the law takes effect.