The gambling legislation negotiations between the Florida Senate and House were suddenly postponed after the Florida Supreme Court decided to give the green light to a proposed constitutional change in terms of gambling. Under the amendment, Florida voters are to be given the exclusive right to decide whether or not to make casino gambling legal.
As far as the amendment is concerned, Florida Supreme Court ruled 4-2 that the wording of the constitutional amendment was not misleading. Still, there were two justices of the Supreme Court who argued that decision, saying the amendment was misleading as it was not clear enough on the matter how would counties, including Broward and Miami-Dade, be affected by the changes.
Despite the Supreme Court ruling was a crucial step forward, the supporters of the gambling amendment would still be required to gather over 700,000 signatures in order for them to ensure the ballot over the upcoming year. According to the Florida’s Division of Elections, a total of 74,626 signatures gathered by the backers of the gambling measure were submitted yesterday, while he supporters of the felon-voting initiative had submitted 71,209 votes.
There are some gambling opponents who call for the constitutional change in order to make sure that local lawmakers would not be able to make casino gambling legal unless they get the voters approval. The matter of gambling market changes through casino expansion has been considered by the Florida legislature over the past few years years.
It is important to note that the ruling of the Supreme Court does not measure the qualities of the proposed constitutional changes, but is intended to look at the clarity and adequacy of the initiative and also make sure it is in line with the single-subject requirement. However, the opponents of the ruling have expressed their concern that many felons would be given their voting rights back as soon as they have completed the terms of their sentences, with some exceptions.
The current lawmakers session which is set to end on May 5th has been a bumpy one for Florida gambling legislation, since both the Senate and the House have passed gambling bills. As we have reported on previous publications, the two bills are very different, which was the reason why the two chambers were forced to participate in a conference to solve the existing problems.
The gambling conference of the Florida legislature had been scheduled for 4:00 PM on Thursday, but was eventually postponed by the Supreme Court’s decision allowing the constitutional changes. The conference chairman, Senator Bill Galvano confirmed of the Court’s decision, saying that he would need some time to assimilate it before “moving forward”.
With the Supreme Court’s ruling on the constitutional amendments, and taking into account the fact that the Seminole Tribe has opposed both the Senate and the House bills, it is yet unclear whether a new gambling legislation would be passed by the local lawmakers before the November election. The postponed gambling conference is most likely to take place on Monday or Tuesday, according to State Representatie Joe Geller.