Florida Supreme Court advisory opinion regarding slot machines

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On March 14, 2002, the Florida Supreme Court issued an advisory ruling regarding an initiative that was slated to appear on the November 2002 Florida ballot. The amendment would have authorized county votes on whether to allow slot machines in pari-mutuel clubhouses and also would have permitted the Florida legislature to tax those machines by a simple majority, rather than by the constitutionally-required two-thirds vote.

In this opinion, the Florida Supreme Court says that the ballot proposal contains two separate subjects—authorizing slots and taxing on only a majority vote—which violates the requirement that a constitutional amendment can contain only one subject. For that reason, the measure is also defective because its summary is deceptive. Accordingly, the Florida Supreme Court ordered the ballot measure not to be placed before the voters.

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