Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Clarification...

My post yesterday titled "Absolute power" contained a statement sourced from the Florida League of Women Voters' Capitol Report that requires clarification. The Capitol Report said:
"Republicans have enough votes in both chambers to pass constitutional amendments by a 3/5ths vote and to override a veto by the Governor with a 2/3rds vote."

In fact, while the Legislature can place a proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot by a 3/5ths vote of both chambers, the amendment must still be approved by at least 60 percent of the voters.

Here are the actual citations:

From the Florida Constitution, Article XI - Amendments, Section 1 - Proposal by legislature:
Proposal by legislature.—Amendment of a section or revision of one or more articles, or the whole, of this constitution may be proposed by joint resolution agreed to by three-fifths of the membership of each house of the legislature. The full text of the joint resolution and the vote of each member voting shall be entered on the journal of each house.

And from Article XI, Section 5 - Amendment or revision election:
(a) A proposed amendment to or revision of this constitution, or any part of it, shall be submitted to the electors at the next general election held more than ninety days after the joint resolution or report of revision commission, constitutional convention or taxation and budget reform commission proposing it is filed with the custodian of state records, unless, pursuant to law enacted by the affirmative vote of three-fourths of the membership of each house of the legislature and limited to a single amendment or revision, it is submitted at an earlier special election held more than ninety days after such filing.
(e) Unless otherwise specifically provided for elsewhere in this constitution, if the proposed amendment or revision is approved by vote of at least sixty percent of the electors voting on the measure, it shall be effective as an amendment to or revision of the constitution of the state on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in January following the election, or on such other date as may be specified in the amendment or revision.

It would be pretty bad - but I guess not inconceivable - if 60 percent of the Florida Legislature were able to amend the constitution without voter approval. Fortunately that is not the case. I apologize for any confusion.

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