FEA lawsuit against Florida religious funding amendment heads to court in October

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September 28, 2011

By Bailey Ludlam

Florida

TALLAHASSEE, Florida: A proposed religious funding amendment, also known as Amendment 7, is scheduled to appear on the Florida ballot next year but first must face a court hearing in October 2011.

In July 2011, the Florida Education Association (FEA), an inter-faith clergy group and some school administrators filed a lawsuit to block the proposed measure. Opponents argue that the measure's title and ballot summary are misleading. FEA describes the proposed measure as an "underhanded attempt to legalize state tuition vouchers for private schools, including church-affiliated schools."[1]

The filed lawsuit also challenges 2011 legislation that allows for the Florida Attorney General's office to rewrite ballot summaries or titles when the Florida Supreme Court removes a certified measure from the statewide ballot. The lawsuit argues that authority for such a changes lies only in the Florida State Legislature.[1]

The lawsuit is scheduled to be heard October 27, 2011.[2]

Amendment 7 asks voters:[3]

Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution to provide that no individual or entity may be discriminated against or barred from receiving funding on the basis of religious identity or belief and to delete the prohibition against using revenues from the public treasury directly or indirectly in aid of any church, sect, or religious denomination or in aid of any sectarian institution.

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