Florida Supreme Court Justices give the OK to 'bundling' amendments on ballot


  • Florida Supreme Court
The Constitution Revision Commission was in their right to bundle three proposed constitutional amendments for the Nov. 6 ballot, the Florida Supreme Court ruled in a slim 4-3 vote on Wednesday. 

The Justices' ruling follows a challenge by retired Supreme Court Justice Harry Lee Anstead that said the ballots items were improperly bundled. The potential constitutional amendments include Amendments 7, 9 and 11.

The equivalents to constitutional grab-bags include:

Amendment 7 seeks to provide death benefits and nix some educational expenses for survivors of military personnel and first responders, while also requiring supermajorities to raise fees at universities. On top of that, it would establish a state college system as a constitutional entity.

Amendment 9 bans drilling for oil and natural gas in Florida's waters. It also bans using e-cigarettes (as in vaping) in indoor workplaces. (So you'd have to kiss that electronic JUUL cigarette at your work desk goodbye.)

Amendment 11 provides a ban on owning property if you're an undocumented citizen. It also prohibits retroactive application of changes in the criminal law. (In other words, the latter would allow people to have reduced sentences if a law is passed that changes their original crime.)

Following the ruling, Justice Barbara Pariente – one of the Court's more liberal judges – wrote in an opinion, "The bottom line is that the ultimate authority to amend the Constitution rests with the voters in this state."

She adds: "By bundling multiple, independent and unrelated proposals, combining 'popular' amendments with controversial amendments on the ballot, the CRC makes it more difficult for voters to intelligently exercise their right to vote."

"Indeed, in some cases, bundling prohibits voters from exercising this right altogether because it forces them to reject proposals they would otherwise approve because they disapprove of another unrelated controversial proposal." 

Stay on top of Orlando news and views. Sign up for our weekly Headlines newsletter.

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.