States

Fla. AG Submits New Ballot Wording for Constitutional Amendment

By Sean Cavanagh — December 20, 2011 1 min read

Like a college paper bounced back to a student for a rewrite, a judge last week ruled that a proposed amendment to Florida’s constitution, which some say could pave the way for more private school vouchers, could not go on the ballot unless its wording was changed. So on Tuesday, Florida’s Republican attorney general, Pam Bondi, turned in revised language to the amendment, which state GOP lawmakers hope to put before voters next fall.

Bondi, in a statement, said, “Voters deserve an opportunity to decide whether to remove from Florida’s constitution a provision that discriminates against religious institutions.”

By law, opponents of the amendment have 10 days to challenge Bondi’s wording, which was made to the summary of the ballot item. Bondi says she reworked the language to meet the judge’s specific requirements:

Original:

RELIGIOUS FREEDOM. Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution to provide, consistent with the United States Constitution, that no individual or entity may be denied, on the basis of religious identity or belief, governmental benefits, funding, or other support and to delete the prohibition against using revenues from the public treasury directly or indirectly in aid of any church, sect, or religious denomination or in aid of any sectarian institution."

The Bondi version:

RELIGIOUS FREEDOM. Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution providing that no individual or entity may be denied, on the basis of religious identity or belief, governmental benefits, funding, or other support, except as required by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, and deleting the prohibition against using revenues from the public treasury directly or indirectly in aid of any church, sect, or religious denomination or in aid of any sectarian institution."

A version of this news article first appeared in the State EdWatch blog.