Plaintiffs ask for summary judgment in Amendment 8 challenge

Brecht Heuchan, a Tallahassee political activist, explains the groupings of proposed constitutional amendments to colleagues on the Florida Constitution Revision Commission on April 16, 2018. [The Florida Channel]
Brecht Heuchan, a Tallahassee political activist, explains the groupings of proposed constitutional amendments to colleagues on the Florida Constitution Revision Commission on April 16, 2018. [The Florida Channel]
Published August 3 2018

Laywers for the group seeking to have Amendment 8 yanked off the November ballot as misleading have asked Leon County Judge John Cooper for a summary judgment in the case.

Both parties have agreed to skip discovery, suggesting they see the issues as a matter of law rather than a dispute over facts. And Ron Meyer, representing the plaintiffs, has argued that the "wordsmithing" of the proposal falls in line with what the Florida Supreme Court has in the past said violated the law.

"The true purpose of Revision 8 matters to this court's decision because the text of proposed constitutional amendments cannot either "fly under false colors' or 'hide the ball' as to the amendment's true effect,'" Meyer wrote, citing the 2000 case of Armstrong v. Harris.

Amendment 8 seeks to do three things — establish school board term limits, enshrine civics education in the constitution, and pave the way for the Legislature to create public school authorizers other than school boards.

Meyer contends that the amendment language hides its true purpose. He noted that he is not asking the court to rule on the content of the proposal, but rather the presentation.

"Because the ballot summary for Revision 8 clearly and conclusively fails to adequately inform the voter of the chief purposes and effects of the revision, and is affirmatively misleading, placement of Revision 8 on the ballot would violate Article XI, Section 5, Florida Constitution, and Section 101.161(1), Florida Statutes," he wrote. "Plaintiffs respectfully request that this Court enter final judgment declaring that Revision 8 violates section 101.161(1), Florida Statutes, and prohibiting Defendants from placing Revision 8 on the ballot, and grant such further relief as the Court deems appropriate."

Read his full motion for more details. The case is scheduled for hearing Aug. 17.

Related coverage: Lawsuit challenges education amendment on Florida ballot • Gradebook podcast: Fighting Amendment 8, with Florida League of Women Voters president Patricia Brigham • Gradebook podcast: Supporting Amendment 8, with Erika Donalds of the Florida Constitution Revision Commission 

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