Florida’s initiative petition deadline passes on February 1
By Ryan ByrneFebruary 1, 2014, Florida’s initiative petition drive deadline passed with two initiated constitutional amendments appearing on the ballot. A third initiative campaign was initiated to legalize same-sex marriage, but proponents later decided to aim to place their measure on the ballot in 2016. Furthermore, legislatively-referred state statutes and amendments, such as the Legislative Term Lengths and Limits Amendment, can still be placed on the ballot by the Florida Legislature.
The Water and Land Conservation Initiative was certified for the ballot on January 17, 2014. Appearing as "Amendment 1," the initiative would, upon voter approval, fund the Land Acquisition Trust Fund via an existing excise tax on documents. The funds would be utilized to acquire, restore and manage conservation lands, fish and wildlife habitats, lands protecting water resources and quality, beaches, shores, farms, ranches, historical and geological sites and recreational lands.
The Right to Medical Marijuana Initiative has received the bulk of the media's attention since certification as "Amendment 2" on January 27, 2014. The initiative seeks to legalize marijuana for medical purposes only. The Florida Supreme Court narrowly okayed the amendment for the ballot in a 4-3 decision. Stances on the measure amongst state officials have thus far been partisan, with Republicans in opposition and Democrats in support. Early polls indicate that medical marijuana legalization has enough support to pass in November. Both Amendment 1 and Amendment 2 must receive at least receive 60% approval at the general election.
A third initiative, known as the Same-Sex Marriage Amendment, was originally designated by supporters for the 2014 ballot, but was later redesignated for the 2016 ballot. Sponsored by Equal Marriage Florida, the measure would have constitutionally defined marriage as between two persons, thus permitting all monogamous marriages, whether heterosexual or homosexual. The measure included an exemption for religious institutions from solemnizing or condoning any couple's marriage. The measure was approved for circulation on July 1, 2013. Florida allows petition circulation to occur for two years after the first petition signature. This means that supporters have until July 1, 2015 to collect enough valid signatures to place their measure on the 2016 ballot.
- Laws governing the initiative process in Florida
- Florida 2014 ballot measures
- Florida Secretary of State
- Florida Secretary of State, "Water and Land Conservation," accessed February 3, 2014
- Florida Secretary of State, "Constitutional Petition Form for Amendment 1," accessed February 3, 2014
- Florida Secretary of State, "Use of Marijuana for Certain Medical Conditions," accessed February 3, 2014
- Florida Secretary of State, "Constitutional Petition Form for Amendment 2," accessed February 3, 2014
- Florida Supreme Court, "Decision on SC13-2006 and SC13-2132," accessed February 3, 2014
- Huffington Post, "Republican-Led Marriage Equality Campaign Called Off Amid Skepticism," September 13, 2013
- Florida Secretary of State, "Defining Marriage as a Union of Two Persons and Protecting Freedom of Religion," accessed February 3, 2014