Florida lawmakers propose ban on bundled amendments

If you were a proponent of being able to vape inside, but were against offshore drilling, you were out of luck the last time you went to the polls in Florida. Amendment 9 on the 2018 Florida ballot made voters choose both or neither.

That amendment passed with 68 percent of the vote, which means vaping in indoor, public places, and off-shore drilling, are now illegal. 

While these two topics weren't particularly controversial for Florida voters in 2018, the idea of voting on both topics was.

"Un-bundle them and make it easier for the voter to understand what they're voting for," one voter told FOX 13 a few weeks after the election.

Of 12 amendments voters weighed-in on, six took on multiple topics. Now, some lawmakers want to make single-subject ballot measures the rule.

"I think the single-subject is certainly something that would improve the situation," said State Sen. Bill Galvano (R-Bradenton).

One-at-a-time is not necessarily the strong suit of the governing body that controls how ballot measures are written, the Constitution Revision Commission, which meets once every 20 years.

Brecht Heuchan, who sat on the most recent commission, said he thinks voters are capable of "understanding basic related proposals."

However, some say Amendment 9, which contained the drilling and vaping ban; and Amendment 10, which contained four topics: Veterans affairs, counter-terrorism, the dates of legislative sessions, and a proposal to disallow counties from ridding themselves of certain local offices like sheriffs or tax collectors; went far beyond "related proposals."

The mishmash led one legislator to propose a separate bill that just bans the commission altogether.

"It became a situation where so many different things were thrown out, from vaping to gaming," said Galvano.

That would mean amendments would have to start from citizen petitions, in the Florida Legislature, or in the Taxation and Budget Reform Commission.