The comments below were given to the House Judiciary Committee on April 15, 2021 by Executive Director Aliki Moncrief.
Good afternoon, my name is Aliki Moncrief and I’m the Executive Director of Florida Conservation Voters.
We cannot support this bill today because we do not support any attempts to make it more difficult for citizens to amend their constitution.
Florida is already one of the hardest states for citizens to bring a ballot question to voters and has become exponentially more difficult in recent years. This bill has the potential to add yet another major hurdle to this process that has been used time and again by people from all political persuasions to improve our Constitution.
The bill you are voting on right now presents this question: do you believe that 34% of voters should be able to make a decision for our state that is in direct conflict to the wishes of 66% of voters in our state. Considering all of the barriers that already exist to this process, this seems absolutely egregious and unnecessary.
If you think Florida’s initiative process is overused, it’s because your constituents feel like they have no other options to have their needs addressed or that the legislature is not listening to them. Restoring the right to vote to formerly incarcerated citizens, funding parks and conservation, increasing the minimum wage, requiring fair legislative districts — these are not unpopular issues that came from out of nowhere. These issues are now in the Constitution because the legislature failed to act and the people responded using the methods guaranteed to them by our state constitution.
If you really want to improve our system of direct democracy, I would suggest improving financial disclosure rules so the people of Florida can accurately track the monetary backers behind initiative campaigns. That’s one place to start. Please vote NO on this bill. Thank you.
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Thank you, Conservation Voters!