During Monday’s meeting of the House Ethics, Elections, & Open Government Subcommittee, the Republican-led panel approved a measure that would make it harder for Floridians to amend their State Constitution.
House Joint Resolution (HJR) 335 by Rep. Rick Roth (R-West Palm Beach) would raise the threshold required for constitutional amendments to pass initiatives, like a $15 minimum wage that passed in 2020 and voting rights restoration in 2018.
A joint resolution requires three-fifths passage of both legislative chambers. It would then go to the November ballot, to be approved by voters. Despite its subject, HJR 335 would only need 60 percent approval from voters in order to take effect.
The lone support in public comment came from the Florida Chamber of Commerce.
With the constitutional Amendment to Limit Government Interference With Abortion, newly-named Amendment 4, set to appear on the ballot pending Supreme Court review, opponents of the proposal pointed out popular ballot initiatives that passed in prior years would not have passed under this new legislation.
“The citizen initiative is now the most difficult process of any state in the nation that has a citizen initiative,” said Dr. Rich Templin of the Florida AFL-CIO. “We have seen so many attacks on the ability of citizens to participate in this process…You will essentially be locking down the constitution in perpetuity.”
HJR 335 passed by an 11-6 vote. Rep. Linda Chaney (R-St. Pete Beach) joined all Democrats on the committee in voting No.