Local ballot measures, Florida

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2013 Local Pension Measure Roundup Dec 26, 2013

Pension Hotspots: Cincinnati, OH, San Francisco, CA, and Hialeah, FL Nov 29, 2013

Local measures post election report: Fracking bans and marijuana taxes approved but Cincinnati pension initiative suffers crushing defeat Nov 07, 2013

Pension Hotspots: Pre-election review Oct 25, 2013

Local voters deciding the fate of a $50 million pier project, parcel taxes, a bond issue and an alternative expenditure measure in August 27 election Aug 26, 2013

Local voters are deciding everything from pension reform to school bonds in today's election Apr 09, 2013

...more local news

School bond and tax votes

See also: School bond and tax elections in Florida

In Florida, referendums are required for school districts wanting to exceed the state's millage limit and to issue new bonds. Florida is one of a few states that has a debt limit that is protected by their state constitution. The Florida Constitution sets a 10 mill limit for all school districts. The school district can only ask the voters to increase the millage in either two or four year increments. Florida allows new bond issues for school districts, but for only capital improvements. School bond and school millage elections are run differently in Florida. Bond elections are fully run by the school district while a millage election is run by the respective county election commission. Florida law requires millage elections to be run under the same rules conducted for general elections.

Ft. Myers group requests SCOTUS hearing

On January 20, 2010 a Ft. Myers group of activists requested that the United States Supreme Court here its case - Citizens for Police Accountability Political Committee v Browning, 09-861 - about a proposed local initiative. The issue is a Florida law that allows for exit pollsters to talk to voters as they are exiting the polls as long as they stay within 25 feet of the entrance. Petitioners, however, must be no closer than 100 feet from the entrance. On August 28, 2008 a U.S. District Court granted an injunction on the Florida law, however, on June 25, 2009 a U.S. Court of Appeals reversed the injunction.[1][2]

Local recall

Although Florida is not one of the 18 states with the right of statewide recall, some charter cities and counties in Florida do have rules allowing the recall of city politicians.

Miami-Dade does allow local recall, according to the county's charter. However, in 2006, the Miami-Dade Board of Commissioners enacted a new set of rules that make it much harder for a local recall petition drive to succeed. The Miami-Dade commissioners enacted these new rules in 2006 after controversial Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez succeeded in a petition drive to put a so-called strong mayor initiative on the ballot, which was approved.[3]

Michael Pizzi, the Mayor of Miami Lakes, filed a lawsuit challenging these new petition restrictions in September 2009.

The new requirements that were imposed in 2006 include:

  • A stipulation that there can be only one signature per page.
  • A provision allowing a signer to rescind his or her signature within 15 days of having signed.
  • Fines or jail time for people who lied during a petition drive. This provision was struck down in 2008 by U.S. District Judge Alan S. Gold, who said it violated the First Amendment.

Pizzi, in his September 2009 lawsuit, says that in 2006 the county's commissioners "radically altered" the petition-drive procedure, making the process "extremely difficult, if not impossible."[3]

Court hearing

Palm Beach theater measure in court

See also: Palm Beach Royal Poinciana Playhouse Referendum (2010)

The Palm Beach's Poinciana Theater is back in court and it's future is still in limbo. Patrick Henry Flynn, president of the Palm Beach Theater Guild and chairman of Preserve Palm Beach Political Action Committee, is in court battling two lawsuits. One suit the organization calls for asking the theater's owner to put the building in leasable condition. The other suit was filed by the City of Palm Beach against the PAC. City officials are challenging the constitutionally of a proposed charter referendum that would determine if the theater should be demolished or if there should be increased density at the location. Palm Beach Partnership, who opposes restoring the theater, seeks to construct condominiums on the site.[4]

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