History of Initiative & Referendum in Florida

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The History of Initiative & Referendum in Florida began when the Florida State Senate passed an extremely restrictive version of I&R in 1912. The senate quickly rescinded even this weak bill.

In 1968, Florida adopted a new state constitution which included a provision allowing citizens to amend the constitution by initiative. (Initiating state statutes via the initiative process is not allowed.)

The initiative provision was first put to use in 1976, when voters adopted the Sunshine Amendment, sponsored by Governor Ruben Askew, requiring public disclosure of campaign contributions.

Initiative frequency

Main article: Initiative states compared by number of initiatives on their ballot

From 1976-2014, 34 initiated amendments appeared on Florida's ballots. Only seven were rejected by voters.

Ballot backlash

After Askew's Sunshine Amendment passed in 1976, state legislators passed bills banning the collection of signatures at polling places and imposing a 10-cent-per-signature "verification fee" to discourage future initiative proponents.

Notable measures

In 1992, Floridians passed term limits for the state legislature and in 2000 environmentalists won a major victory with the passage of the Monorail Initiative, which established a statewide high-speed monorail system.

See also


This article is significantly based on an article[1] published by the Initiative & Referendum Institute, and is used with their permission. Their article, in turn, relies on research in David Schmidt's book, Citizen Lawmakers: The Ballot Initiative Revolution.[2]


  1. History of Florida's initiative
  2. Citizen Lawmakers: The Ballot Initiative Revolution Temple University Press, 352 pp., ISBN-10: 0877229031, October 1991