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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Strange Bedfellows: No on Amendment 3



It's not often you'd see former Democratic Florida Governor and U.S. Sen. Bob Graham on the same political stage as Panama City businessman and prominent Republican donor Charlie Hilton. But there they were Friday, in the Florida Press Center in Tallahassee, with No Casinos Chairman and former state Rep. Bill Sublette, R-Orlando.

The allegiance promises to add some spice to what otherwise is always a hard sell during an election year: public discourse on proposed constitutional amendments.

The trio oppose Amendment 3, which would require future amendments to the state Constitution (but not No. 3 itself) to be approved by 60-percent of voters.

Hilton, a self-made millionaire, said the group, calling itself "Trust the Voters," will raise as much money as needed to challenge the powerful business interests backing the legislatively-approved proposal. He hasn't made a contribution yet himself, however. And he acknowledges his opposition to the measure has put him at odds with many of his business buddies,including House Speaker Allan Bense.

"We decided the leader of the free world with 537 votes in Florida," Hilton said. "We shouldn't need 1.5-million for a citizens initiative" to amend the Constitution.

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 12:45pm]


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