TALLAHASSEE — Florida lawmakers this month approved a controversial bill that is expected to make it harder to put citizens’ initiatives on the ballot. The bill (HB 5) would place additional restrictions on gathering the hundreds of thousands of petition signatures needed to reach the ballot. For 2020 ballot proposals, supporters need to submit 76,632 valid signatures to trigger a review by the Florida Supreme Court. If justices sign off on the proposed ballot wording, supporters then would need to submit 766,200 signatures for the measures to go before voters. Gov. Ron DeSantis is expected to sign the bill, which, among other things, would prevent petition-gatherers from being paid based on the number of signatures they collect — a change that is expected to drive up costs. But amid the likely changes, petition signatures have continued pouring into the state Division of Elections in recent weeks, with two initiatives ready for Supreme Court review and others nearing that initial threshold. Here are seven initiatives to watch in the coming months as petition gathering, Supreme Court reviews and the effects of the new legislation play out: • UTILITY DEREGULATION: The political committee Citizens for Energy Choices is pursuing a proposal that… Read full this story
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