Orange County Charter Review passes tougher requirements on citizen initiatives

by

comment
Orange County's Charter Review Commission unanimously passed several proposals Thursday that would alter the charter's citizen petition process, and according to advocates, make it harder for people to get a petition on the ballot. 

The Orlando Sentinel reports the new process would now "require a petition drive to collect more signatures, pass a legal review by a panel of lawyers and add an independent financial impact statement spelling out the potential cost of the proposed change." And if you're worried about your dear commissioners, fret not. The Sentinel reports the proposals would only apply to citizen petitions placed on the ballot, not ones placed by the county commission. 



Surprising to no one, business leaders rejoiced at the new measures. After they fought hard against a grass-roots citizen petition in 2012 that would have allowed voters to decide whether Orange County businesses should provide paid sick time to their employees, and then got caught texting county commissioners while at a hearing, wouldn't you be happy, too?

"All of these processes have the potential to kill a petition drive," Michele Levy, co-president of the Orange County League of Women Voters, told the Sentinel. "What these changes will do is effectively make it impossible to get a petition on the ballot."



The Charter Review Commission still has to submit a final report with ballot language by June 24. The new proposals would go on the November ballot to voters. 

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at feedback@orlandoweekly.com.

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.