GOP lawmakers seek to restrict ballot initiatives

Sen. Jason Brodeur, R-Sanford.

Two Republican lawmakers filed proposals Monday that would restrict subjects that could be included in ballot initiatives. 

Sen. Jason Brodeur, R-Sanford, and Rep. Mike Beltran, R-Lithia, filed the identical measures (SJR 1412 and HJR 1127) for consideration during the legislative session that will start Jan. 11. 

They come after years of attempts by the GOP-controlled Legislature to make it harder to pass constitutional amendments through the citizens’ initiative process. 

Under the measures, initiatives would have to be "limited to matters relating to procedural subjects or to the structure of the government or of this Constitution." 

In recent years, a wide range of constitutional amendments has passed on issues such as legalizing medical marijuana and increasing the minimum wage. Republican lawmakers have contended that such issues do not belong in the state Constitution and should be decided by the Legislature. 

But backers of the initiatives argue they have needed to take issues to the ballot because lawmakers ignore voters’ wishes. 

If lawmakers approve the change proposed by Brodeur and Beltran, it would go on the November 2022 ballot. That is because changing the initiative process would require amending the Constitution.

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