Laws governing local ballot measures in Florida

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Laws Governing Local Ballot Measures

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A guide to local ballot initiatives
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The majority of Florida local governments have a mandated initiative and referendum process for local ballot measures.

This article sets out the laws governing local ballot measures in Florida. It explains:

  • Which local units of government make the initiative process available to residents.
  • How and whether local units of government, including school districts, can refer local ballot measures (such as school bond propositions) to the ballot.
  • An overview of laws governing local recall elections.

Note that Florida is one of twenty-four states that allow the initiative process at the statewide level.

Types of local government

Local government in Florida consists of:

  • 67 county governments (this includes Jacksonville, a consolidated city-county, which is listed by the U.S. Census Bureau as a city government).
  • 410 city governments.
  • In addition, there are 983 special districts and 95 independent school districts.[1]

City classifications:

All 410 cities in Florida are classified as charter cities.

School districts

See also: School bond and tax elections in Florida
School bond and tax elections in Florida are promulgated under two circumstances:
  • To issue new bonding.
  • To exceed the state mandated millage limit.

Local recall rules

Recall
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The recall of local elected government officials in Florida is governed by Fla. Stat. Ann §100.361. This statute applies to "cities and charter counties whether or not they have adopted recall provisions."
For additional detail, see: Laws governing recall in Florida

Initiative process availability

The local units of government in Florida that make the initiative process available are:

  • Charter cities, all 410 of which have a state mandated initiative and referendum process for charter amendments.
  • Charter counties, which have the authority for the creation of an initiative and referendum process for charter amendment. All 20 have exercised this power and have some form of initiative and referendum in their charters.[2]

Authority

Constitution

There is no constitutional authority for local initiative and referendum. However, neither is there a mandate against initiative and referendum. It is simply not mentioned in the constitution.

Statutes

Florida statutes Title XII, Ch. 166.031 mandates the powers of initiative and referendum for the amendment of city charters.

Florida statutes Title XII, Ch. 166.031: (1) The governing body of a municipality may, by ordinance, or the electors of a municipality may, by petition signed by 10 percent of the registered electors as of the last preceding municipal general election, submit to the electors of said municipality a proposed amendment to its charter, which amendment may be to any part or to all of said charter except that part describing the boundaries of such municipality. The governing body of the municipality shall place the proposed amendment contained in the ordinance or petition to a vote of the electors at the next general election held within the municipality or at a special election called for such purpose.[3]

Initiative process features

Florida's charter amendment laws are meant to be supplementary to the different cities' own amendment process. Thus, the cities all have different specific initiative processes for charter amendment. However, The Florida Statutes do provide a basic charter amendment initiative process to all cities.[4]


Initiative process in the top 10 most populated cities

These cities are all charter cities and subject to the state mandate for charter amendment by initiative and referendum; except Jacksonville which, as a consolidated city-county government, has its own charter amendment process as provided below. Cities may also authorize initiative for ordinances in their charter. 8 of the top 10 most populated cities have done so.

Local I&R Laws in the 50 States
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Source:Local Ballot Initiatives: How citizens change laws with
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List of Most Populated Cities in Florida
City[5] Population City Type Next election
Jacksonville 827,908 Consolidated City-County Charter 11/4/2014[6]
Miami 408,750 Charter 11/3/2015[7]
Tampa 346,037 Charter 11/4/2014[8]
St. Petersburg 244,997 Charter 11/4/2014[9]
Orlando 243,195 Charter 5/6/2014 (runoff)[10]
Hialeah 229,969 Charter 2015[11]
Tallahassee 182,965 Charter 11/4/2014[12]
Fort Lauderdale 168,528 Charter 11/4/2014[13]
Port St. Lucie 166,149 Charter 11/4/2014[14]
Pembroke Pines 157,594 Charter 3/8/2016[15]


External links

References