Florida's religious funding amendment for the 2012 ballot heads to court today

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October 27, 2011

By Bailey Ludlam


TALLAHASSEE, Florida: Today, October 27, a Florida circuit court hears arguments for the removal of Amendment 7, a proposed religious funding amendment, from the state's upcoming 2012 ballot.[1]

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."[2]

Measure supporter Rep. Scott Plakon said, "They are trying to paint a picture that if this is repealed that the state is going to put a million dollar check in the offering of the Baptist Church and that is simply them being untruthful. All this does is make sure that our constitution does not treat people of faith differently than any others."[3]

In response, Rep. Scott Randolph said, "Throughout the 2011 legislative session, Republican legislators disguised the proposed constitutional amendment as one that would merely protect religious freedom and end religious discrimination. But in actuality, this proposal has one purpose: to allow the unlimited use of taxpayers’ money to send children to private schools instead of building a quality public school system."[4]

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.[2]

Read the ballot text here.

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