2020 Legislature     CS for CS for CS for SB 1794, 1st Engrossed
    2         An act relating to constitutional amendments; amending
    3         s. 15.21, F.S.; increasing the signature threshold at
    4         which the Secretary of State must transmit initiative
    5         petitions to the Attorney General for review; amending
    6         s. 16.061, F.S.; requiring the Attorney General to
    7         request the Supreme Court to address in an advisory
    8         opinion the facial validity of the proposed amendment
    9         under the United States Constitution; amending s.
   10         100.371, F.S.; providing that a citizen may challenge
   11         in circuit court a petition circulator’s registration
   12         with the Secretary of State; authorizing the Division
   13         of Elections or a supervisor of elections to provide
   14         petition forms in a certain electronic format;
   15         revising the length of time that a signature on a
   16         petition form is valid; revising the timeframe within
   17         which the supervisor must verify petition forms;
   18         requiring payment of the actual cost of signature
   19         verification on petition forms; requiring the
   20         supervisor to promptly verify signatures on petition
   21         forms under specified conditions; revising the
   22         circumstances under which a petition form is deemed
   23         valid; requiring the supervisor to post the actual
   24         cost amount for petition verification on his or her
   25         website; authorizing the supervisor to increase the
   26         actual cost amount biennially; requiring the division
   27         to post actual cost data for each county on its
   28         website; requiring the division and each supervisor to
   29         review technological options available to reduce
   30         verification costs and to post certain information on
   31         signature verification on their websites; requiring
   32         the Secretary of State to submit a copy of an
   33         initiative petition to the Financial Impact Estimating
   34         Conference; revising requirements for the Financial
   35         Impact Estimating Conference’s analysis of a proposed
   36         initiative’s economic impact; requiring certain ballot
   37         language based on the findings of the Financial Impact
   38         Estimating Conference; amending s. 101.161, F.S.;
   39         requiring that ballots containing constitutional
   40         amendments proposed by initiative include certain
   41         disclosures and statements, in a specified order;
   42         amending s. 101.171, F.S.; revising requirements
   43         regarding the availability of copies of constitutional
   44         amendments at polling locations; providing for
   45         applicability; providing for severability; providing
   46         an effective date.
   48  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   50         Section 1. Section 15.21, Florida Statutes, is amended to
   51  read:
   52         15.21 Initiative petitions; s. 3, Art. XI, State
   53  Constitution.—The Secretary of State shall immediately submit an
   54  initiative petition to the Attorney General and to the Financial
   55  Impact Estimating Conference if the sponsor has:
   56         (1) Registered as a political committee pursuant to s.
   57  106.03;
   58         (2) Submitted the ballot title, substance, and text of the
   59  proposed revision or amendment to the Secretary of State
   60  pursuant to ss. 100.371 and 101.161; and
   61         (3) Obtained a letter from the Division of Elections
   62  confirming that the sponsor has submitted to the appropriate
   63  supervisors for verification, and the supervisors have verified,
   64  forms signed and dated equal to 25 10 percent of the number of
   65  electors statewide required by s. 3, Art. XI of the State
   66  Constitution and in one-half at least one-fourth of the
   67  congressional districts of the state required by s. 3, Art. XI
   68  of the State Constitution.
   69         Section 2. Subsection (1) of section 16.061, Florida
   70  Statutes, is amended to read:
   71         16.061 Initiative petitions.—
   72         (1) The Attorney General shall, within 30 days after
   73  receipt of a proposed revision or amendment to the State
   74  Constitution by initiative petition from the Secretary of State,
   75  petition the Supreme Court, requesting an advisory opinion
   76  regarding the compliance of the text of the proposed amendment
   77  or revision with s. 3, Art. XI of the State Constitution,
   78  whether the proposed amendment is facially invalid under the
   79  United States Constitution, and the compliance of the proposed
   80  ballot title and substance with s. 101.161. The petition may
   81  enumerate any specific factual issues that the Attorney General
   82  believes would require a judicial determination.
   83         Section 3. Subsections (3), (6), (11), (12), and (13) of
   84  section 100.371, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
   85         100.371 Initiatives; procedure for placement on ballot.—
   86         (3)(a) A person may not collect signatures or initiative
   87  petitions for compensation unless the person is registered as a
   88  petition circulator with the Secretary of State.
   89         (b) A citizen may challenge a petition circulator’s
   90  registration under this section by filing a petition in circuit
   91  court. If the court finds that the respondent is not a
   92  registered petition circulator, the court may enjoin the
   93  respondent from collecting signatures or initiative petitions
   94  for compensation until she or he is lawfully registered.
   95         (6) The division or the supervisor of elections shall make
   96  hard copy petition forms or electronic portable document format
   97  petition forms available to registered petition circulators. All
   98  such forms must contain information identifying the petition
   99  circulator to which the forms are provided. The division shall
  100  maintain a database of all registered petition circulators and
  101  the petition forms assigned to each. Each supervisor of
  102  elections shall provide to the division information on petition
  103  forms assigned to and received from petition circulators. The
  104  information must be provided in a format and at times as
  105  required by the division by rule. The division must update
  106  information on petition forms daily and make the information
  107  publicly available.
  108         (11)(a) An initiative petition form circulated for
  109  signature may not be bundled with or attached to any other
  110  petition. Each signature shall be dated when made and shall be
  111  valid until the next February 1 occurring in an even-numbered
  112  year for the purpose of the amendment appearing on the ballot
  113  for the general election occurring in that same year for a
  114  period of 2 years following such date, provided all other
  115  requirements of law are met. The sponsor shall submit signed and
  116  dated forms to the supervisor of elections for the county of
  117  residence listed by the person signing the form for verification
  118  of the number of valid signatures obtained. If a signature on a
  119  petition is from a registered voter in another county, the
  120  supervisor shall notify the petition sponsor of the misfiled
  121  petition. The supervisor shall promptly verify the signatures
  122  within 60 30 days after receipt of the petition forms and
  123  payment of a the fee for the actual cost of signature
  124  verification incurred by the supervisor required by s. 99.097.
  125  However, for petition forms submitted less than 60 days before
  126  February 1 of an even-numbered year, the supervisor shall
  127  promptly verify the signatures within 30 days after receipt of
  128  the form and payment of the fee for signature verification. The
  129  supervisor shall promptly record, in the manner prescribed by
  130  the Secretary of State, the date each form is received by the
  131  supervisor, and the date the signature on the form is verified
  132  as valid. The supervisor may verify that the signature on a form
  133  is valid only if:
  134         1.(a) The form contains the original signature of the
  135  purported elector.
  136         2.(b) The purported elector has accurately recorded on the
  137  form the date on which he or she signed the form.
  138         3.(c) The form sets forth the purported elector’s name,
  139  address, city, county, and voter registration number or date of
  140  birth.
  141         4.(d) The purported elector is, at the time he or she signs
  142  the form and at the time the form is verified, a duly qualified
  143  and registered elector in the state.
  144         5. The signature was obtained legally, including that if a
  145  paid petition circulator was used, the circulator was validly
  146  registered under subsection (3) when the signature was obtained.
  148  The supervisor shall retain the signature forms for at least 1
  149  year following the election in which the issue appeared on the
  150  ballot or until the division of Elections notifies the
  151  supervisors of elections that the committee that circulated the
  152  petition is no longer seeking to obtain ballot position.
  153         (b) Each supervisor shall post the actual cost of signature
  154  verification on his or her website and may increase such cost,
  155  as necessary, on February 2 of each even-numbered year. The
  156  division shall also publish each county’s current cost on its
  157  website. The division and each supervisor shall biennially
  158  review available technology aimed at reducing verification
  159  costs.
  160         (c) On the last day of each month, or on the last day of
  161  each week from December 1 of an odd-numbered year through
  162  February 1 of the following year, each supervisor shall post on
  163  his or her website the aggregate number of verified valid
  164  signatures and the distribution of such signatures by
  165  congressional district for each proposed amendment proposed by
  166  initiative, along with the following information specific to the
  167  reporting period: the total number of signed petition forms
  168  received, the total number of signatures verified, the
  169  distribution of verified valid signatures by congressional
  170  district, and the total number of verified petition forms
  171  forwarded to the Secretary of State.
  172         (12) The Secretary of State shall determine from the
  173  signatures verified by the supervisors of elections the total
  174  number of verified valid signatures and the distribution of such
  175  signatures by congressional districts, and the division shall
  176  post such information on its website at the same intervals
  177  specified in paragraph (11)(c). Upon a determination that the
  178  requisite number and distribution of valid signatures have been
  179  obtained, the secretary shall issue a certificate of ballot
  180  position for that proposed amendment and shall assign a
  181  designating number pursuant to s. 101.161.
  182         (13)(a) At the same time the Secretary of State submits an
  183  initiative petition to the Attorney General pursuant to s.
  184  15.21, the secretary shall submit a copy of the initiative
  185  petition to the Financial Impact Estimating Conference. Within
  186  75 days after receipt of a proposed revision or amendment to the
  187  State Constitution by initiative petition from the Secretary of
  188  State, the Financial Impact Estimating Conference shall complete
  189  an analysis and financial impact statement to be placed on the
  190  ballot of the estimated increase or decrease in any revenues or
  191  costs to state or local governments, estimated economic impact
  192  on the state and local economy, and the overall impact to the
  193  state budget resulting from the proposed initiative. The 75-day
  194  time limit is tolled when the Legislature is in session. The
  195  Financial Impact Estimating Conference shall submit the
  196  financial impact statement to the Attorney General and Secretary
  197  of State.
  198         (b) Immediately upon receipt of a proposed revision or
  199  amendment from the Secretary of State, the coordinator of the
  200  Office of Economic and Demographic Research shall contact the
  201  person identified as the sponsor to request an official list of
  202  all persons authorized to speak on behalf of the named sponsor
  203  and, if there is one, the sponsoring organization at meetings
  204  held by the Financial Impact Estimating Conference. All other
  205  persons shall be deemed interested parties or proponents or
  206  opponents of the initiative. The Financial Impact Estimating
  207  Conference shall provide an opportunity for any representatives
  208  of the sponsor, interested parties, proponents, or opponents of
  209  the initiative to submit information and may solicit information
  210  or analysis from any other entities or agencies, including the
  211  Office of Economic and Demographic Research.
  212         (c) All meetings of the Financial Impact Estimating
  213  Conference shall be open to the public. The President of the
  214  Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, jointly,
  215  shall be the sole judge for the interpretation, implementation,
  216  and enforcement of this subsection.
  217         1. The Financial Impact Estimating Conference is
  218  established to review, analyze, and estimate the financial
  219  impact of amendments to or revisions of the State Constitution
  220  proposed by initiative. The Financial Impact Estimating
  221  Conference shall consist of four principals: one person from the
  222  Executive Office of the Governor; the coordinator of the Office
  223  of Economic and Demographic Research, or his or her designee;
  224  one person from the professional staff of the Senate; and one
  225  person from the professional staff of the House of
  226  Representatives. Each principal shall have appropriate fiscal
  227  expertise in the subject matter of the initiative. A Financial
  228  Impact Estimating Conference may be appointed for each
  229  initiative.
  230         2. Principals of the Financial Impact Estimating Conference
  231  shall reach a consensus or majority concurrence on a clear and
  232  unambiguous financial impact statement, no more than 150 words
  233  in length, and immediately submit the statement to the Attorney
  234  General. Nothing in this subsection prohibits the Financial
  235  Impact Estimating Conference from setting forth a range of
  236  potential impacts in the financial impact statement. Any
  237  financial impact statement that a court finds not to be in
  238  accordance with this section shall be remanded solely to the
  239  Financial Impact Estimating Conference for redrafting. The
  240  Financial Impact Estimating Conference shall redraft the
  241  financial impact statement within 15 days.
  242         3. If the members of the Financial Impact Estimating
  243  Conference are unable to agree on the statement required by this
  244  subsection, or if the Supreme Court has rejected the initial
  245  submission by the Financial Impact Estimating Conference and no
  246  redraft has been approved by the Supreme Court by 5 p.m. on the
  247  75th day before the election, the following statement shall
  248  appear on the ballot pursuant to s. 101.161(1): “The financial
  249  impact of this measure, if any, has not been cannot be
  250  reasonably determined at this time.”
  251         (d) The financial impact statement must be separately
  252  contained and be set forth after the ballot summary as required
  253  in s. 101.161(1).
  254         1. If the financial impact statement projects a net
  255  estimates increased costs, decreased revenues, a negative impact
  256  on the state budget or local economy, or an indeterminate impact
  257  for any of these areas, the ballot must include the a statement
  258  required by s. 101.161(1)(b) indicating such estimated effect in
  259  bold font.
  260         2. If the financial impact statement projects a net
  261  positive impact on the state budget, the ballot must include the
  262  statement required by s. 101.161(1)(c).
  263         3. If the financial impact statement estimates an
  264  indeterminate financial impact or if the members of the
  265  Financial Impact Estimating Conference are unable to agree on
  266  the statement required by this subsection, the ballot must
  267  include the statement required by s. 101.161(1)(d).
  268         (e)1. Any financial impact statement that the Supreme Court
  269  finds not to be in accordance with this subsection shall be
  270  remanded solely to the Financial Impact Estimating Conference
  271  for redrafting, provided the court’s advisory opinion is
  272  rendered at least 75 days before the election at which the
  273  question of ratifying the amendment will be presented. The
  274  Financial Impact Estimating Conference shall prepare and adopt a
  275  revised financial impact statement no later than 5 p.m. on the
  276  15th day after the date of the court’s opinion.
  277         2. If, by 5 p.m. on the 75th day before the election, the
  278  Supreme Court has not issued an advisory opinion on the initial
  279  financial impact statement prepared by the Financial Impact
  280  Estimating Conference for an initiative amendment that otherwise
  281  meets the legal requirements for ballot placement, the financial
  282  impact statement shall be deemed approved for placement on the
  283  ballot.
  284         3. In addition to the financial impact statement required
  285  by this subsection, the Financial Impact Estimating Conference
  286  shall draft an initiative financial information statement. The
  287  initiative financial information statement should describe in
  288  greater detail than the financial impact statement any projected
  289  increase or decrease in revenues or costs that the state or
  290  local governments would likely experience and the estimated
  291  economic impact on the state and local economy if the ballot
  292  measure were approved. If appropriate, the initiative financial
  293  information statement may include both estimated dollar amounts
  294  and a description placing the estimated dollar amounts into
  295  context. The initiative financial information statement must
  296  include both a summary of not more than 500 words and additional
  297  detailed information that includes the assumptions that were
  298  made to develop the financial impacts, workpapers, and any other
  299  information deemed relevant by the Financial Impact Estimating
  300  Conference.
  301         4. The Department of State shall have printed, and shall
  302  furnish to each supervisor of elections, a copy of the summary
  303  from the initiative financial information statements. The
  304  supervisors shall have the summary from the initiative financial
  305  information statements available at each polling place and at
  306  the main office of the supervisor of elections upon request.
  307         5. The Secretary of State and the Office of Economic and
  308  Demographic Research shall make available on the Internet each
  309  initiative financial information statement in its entirety. In
  310  addition, each supervisor of elections whose office has a
  311  website shall post the summary from each initiative financial
  312  information statement on the website. Each supervisor shall
  313  include a copy of each summary from the initiative financial
  314  information statements and the Internet addresses for the
  315  information statements on the Secretary of State’s and the
  316  Office of Economic and Demographic Research’s websites in the
  317  publication or mailing required by s. 101.20.
  318         Section 4. Subsection (1) of section 101.161, Florida
  319  Statutes, is amended to read:
  320         101.161 Referenda; ballots.—
  321         (1) Whenever a constitutional amendment or other public
  322  measure is submitted to the vote of the people, a ballot summary
  323  of such amendment or other public measure shall be printed in
  324  clear and unambiguous language on the ballot after the list of
  325  candidates, followed by the word “yes” and also by the word
  326  “no,” and shall be styled in such a manner that a “yes” vote
  327  will indicate approval of the proposal and a “no” vote will
  328  indicate rejection. The ballot summary of the amendment or other
  329  public measure and the ballot title to appear on the ballot
  330  shall be embodied in the constitutional revision commission
  331  proposal, constitutional convention proposal, taxation and
  332  budget reform commission proposal, or enabling resolution or
  333  ordinance. The ballot summary of the amendment or other public
  334  measure shall be an explanatory statement, not exceeding 75
  335  words in length, of the chief purpose of the measure. In
  336  addition, for every constitutional amendment proposed by
  337  initiative, the ballot shall include, following the ballot
  338  summary, in the following order:
  339         (a) A separate financial impact statement concerning the
  340  measure prepared by the Financial Impact Estimating Conference
  341  in accordance with s. 100.371(13) s. 100.371(5).
  342         (b) If the financial impact statement projects a net
  343  negative impact on the state budget, the following statement in
  344  bold print:
  352         (c)1. If the financial impact statement projects a net
  353  positive impact on the state budget resulting in whole or in
  354  part from additional tax revenue, the following statement in
  355  bold print:
  362         2. If the financial impact statement projects a net
  363  positive impact on the state budget for reasons other than those
  364  specified in subparagraph 1., the following statement in bold
  365  print:
  372         (d) If the financial impact statement is indeterminate or
  373  the members of the Financial Impact Estimating Conference are
  374  unable to agree on the financial impact statement, the following
  375  statement in bold print:
  381  The ballot title shall consist of a caption, not exceeding 15
  382  words in length, by which the measure is commonly referred to or
  383  spoken of. This subsection does not apply to constitutional
  384  amendments or revisions proposed by joint resolution.
  385         Section 5. Section 101.171, Florida Statutes, is amended to
  386  read:
  387         101.171 Copy of constitutional amendment to be available at
  388  voting locations.—Whenever any amendment to the State
  389  Constitution is to be voted upon at any election, the Department
  390  of State shall have printed and shall furnish to each supervisor
  391  of elections a sufficient number of copies of the amendment
  392  either in poster or booklet form, and the supervisor shall
  393  provide have a copy in a designated area of each polling
  394  location as determined by the supervisor thereof conspicuously
  395  posted or available at each polling room or early voting area
  396  upon the day of election.
  397         Section 6. This act does not require the Financial Impact
  398  Estimating Conference to amend or revise a financial impact
  399  statement that has been submitted to the Secretary of State
  400  before the effective date of this act. The provisions of this
  401  act, including the ballot requirements for certain disclosures
  402  and statements, apply to constitutional amendments proposed by
  403  initiative which are proposed for the 2020 general election and
  404  each election thereafter; provided, however, that nothing in
  405  this act affects the validity of any petition form gathered
  406  before the effective date of this act or any contract entered
  407  into before the effective date of this act. Petition forms
  408  gathered before the effective date of this act shall be governed
  409  by the laws existing at the time that the form was initially
  410  gathered.
  411         Section 7. If any provision of this act or its application
  412  to any person or circumstance is held invalid for any reason,
  413  the remaining portion of this act, to the fullest extent
  414  possible, shall be severed from the void portion and given the
  415  fullest possible force and application.
  416         Section 8. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.