Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Florida This Election:

As usual, Floridians voting this November 7th will find Amendments to vote on! Yay! What fun! More inane things special interests think up to feather their own beds or toss rocks into the beds of others. And one that is so important it should pass without a single dissenting vote.

Here's the fun one:

NO. 3

Requiring Broader Public Support
for Constitutional Amendments or

Proposes an amendment to Section 5 of Article XI of the State Constitution to require that any proposed amendment to or revision of the State Constitution, whether proposed by the Legislature, by initiative, or by any other method, must be approved by at least 60 percent of the voters of the state voting on the measure, rather than by a simple majority. This proposed amendment would not change the current requirement that a proposed constitutional amendment imposing a new state tax or fee be approved by at least 2/3 of the voters of the state voting in the election in which such an amendment is considered.

Why is this fun? Think about it: to change Florida's State Constitution requires, now, merely a majority of the vote. As Wikipedia describes it:
Amendments proposed via all five methods must be ratified via a simple majority by the voters in a referendum held simultaneously with the next general election before they become a part of the Constitution.

That should be simple enough. Majority rules, doesn't it? Yes, it does, with limitations duly noted in the Law. And that is usually good enough (no, not for Lefties who like proportional rule, unless the Right has more ... blah, blah, blah!) for us. But amending a Constitution is different from passing a bill into law. Because Laws are far easier to remove from the books than a Constitutional Amendment. I know you're shaking your head in amazement as we rarely ever see a Law disappear, but it's true. Amendments are tougher to be rid of.

Here's the thing. A Constitution is a foundation for a State. It is not a grab bag of statutes and laws. And it never should be. Yet, here in Florida enough silly voters got together to vote into the Florida Constitution a constitutional protection for pregnant pigs!

Now, the protection may be merited, though there aren't that many pig farms in Florida. But it is hardly the subject for a Constitutional Amendment! It's what a bill - a prospective law - should be about. And it should have been rejected by the voters on that alone. "This is not something that belongs in a State Constitution, even if I think pregnant pigs need better conditions. I will vote NO on this."

I wish it was easier to convince the voters that a proposed amendment was not suitable for the Constitution, but should be proposed as a law, than it is. But it isn't. Too many voters seem easily swayed by sob-stories, and emotional pleas.

But, having said all that, I will vote against Amendment 3. Why? Because it will, in fact, inhibit the Right of Floridians to change their government as they see fit. The Power of the People must always be paramount, no matter how foolish they may at times be. And this Amendment would abridge our rights.

It is hard enough, now, to get such a proposed Amendment on the ballot. We have many Judges who are venal enough to toss them on the grounds that they are about two subjects (not allowed under law) when they are certainly not, or too confusing (not allowed under law) when they are only confusing to infants and Liberals, or for many other reasons. If a proposed Amendment gets past the plethora of obstacles we place before it, and get placed on the ballot, then all it should require for passage is a majority of the votes cast. And if that means 51% of the voters voting, then so be it. And if only 10% of the registered voters decide to get off their fat, spotty behinds to vote, then so be it!

Vote NO on Amendment 3!


Now here's the important proposed Amendment:

NO. 8

Eminent Domain

Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution to prohibit the transfer of private property taken by eminent domain to a natural person or private entity; providing that the Legislature may by general law passed by a three-fifths vote of the membership of each house of the Legislature permit exceptions allowing the transfer of such private property; and providing that this prohibition on the transfer of private property taken by eminent domain is applicable if the petition of taking that initiated the condemnation proceeding was filed on or after January 2, 2007.

This belongs! It is a protection that does not rely on the better nature of our elected representatives. This Amendment means that the Town Council of Chubbybutt, Florida cannot use eminent domain to get a parcel of land for the purpose of transferring it to a company or person who will increase the taxes paid. Mayor Dimwitty's Cousin Dimwitty won't be able to buy that nice piece of land, which the owner does not want to sell, so he can put up another Convenience store, based on promised tax revenues. The beautification of North Gumption Street may be important to the Chubbybutt Town Council, but it will not be brought aboput ny turning over the parcel of land to a person or a private company, no matter how ugly Lyle Hunsecker's three-story hen-house is.

It won't matter what the buyer says he will bring to the town/county/state in increased tax revenues. The Amendment will make such a transfer illegal. This is a protection which we never expected to need, isn't it? But we learned after the Kelo VS New London case, didn't we? It turned out that even the Supreme Court of the United States of America could be so dead wrong that many places immediately voted Eminent Domain laws into place. [Just what Constitution were they reading? Justices who voted for New London in that case are an embarrassment to all Americans!]

This is better than a simple law. An Amendment has a force that a mere law does not. I'm urging Floridians to vote for Amendment 8. Don't listen to any politician or Lawyer who tells you it ain't needed. It is needed. And it has a very important place in the State Constitution. It protects our property rights from theft by dishonest politicians.

Vote YES on Amendment 8!


Brooke said...

Politicians have already proven beyond a doubt that such amendments ARE needed. Good luck!

benning said...

Thanks! We need it!

Gayle said...

If I still lived in Florida I would vote no on Amendment 3 and Yes on Amendment 8. It's certainly easy to understand the consequences of not doing so, but what always worries me about these Amendment proposals is the amount of people who vote who may not understand the consequences. The way these things are written on the ballot are sometimes extremely obtuse. I wish everyone in Forida understood this. Perhaps you should print it out and start passing our flyers but then again, how many people would take the time to read it?

I hope the average Joe/Josephine in Florida is far smarter than I'm giving them credit for. Please Lord, let me be wrong! (I've been praying for that a lot lately.) Although I do think we will keep the House, and on that one I so do want to be right!