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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Doubts voiced about new petition rules



Amid feverish lobbying on both sides, Gov. Charlie Crist voiced doubts Wednesday about a a bill sought by business interests that would limit ballot initiative activity in Florida. "I'm reviewing it right now. I read some more about it last night and I have concerns," Crist said.

("I have concerns" is political-speak for for "I don't like that bill").

Asked what those "concerns" were, Crist said: "I'll share them with you when I make a decision on it. How's that? Is that fair?" He has until June 26 to act.

The legislation, SB 900, by Sen. Bill Posey, R-Rockledge, has drawn opposition from some groups that would not normally be like-minded. They include ACORN, American Cancer Society, Common Cause, AFL-CIO, Florida PIRG, League of Women Voters and Florida Family Association. 

Florida Family, working to put a same-sex marriage ban in the Constitution, has launched an email drive in opposition to a requirement that ballot signatures would be invalid if they are not submitted to elections offices within 30 days. The bill also creates a mechanism to allow voters to revoke their signatures from petitions.

A veto by Crist would be a major blow to the Florida Chamber of Commerce. The group's newly-issued report card lists "constitutional amendment reform" as its single highest priority of 2007, to get ballot initiatives "out of the hands of special interests."

Crist's office reports 940 calls, letters and emails on the bill as of Wednesday.

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 2:29pm]


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