Lawmakers advance plan to make it harder to amend the state constitution

ORLANDO, Fla. — Right now, any amendment to the Florida Constitution must pass with at least 60% of the vote; lawmakers want that number raised to 66.6%.

“Constitutional amendments are intended to be permanent and they are very difficult to repeal, so amendments should require much boarder support to be put in our constitution,” said the bill’s sponsor Rep. Rick Roth (R – Palm Beach Gardens).

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The bill (HJR 61), which passed the House Public Integrity and Elections Committee on Monday, still has a long way to go before it could be implemented. Three-fifths of the House and Senate must approve of the plan in order to place it on the 2022 general election ballot. From there, 60% of Florida voters would have to support the measure to implement the new 66.6% threshold.

Critics of the proposed increase note that issues like restoration of rights for felons, $15 minimum wage, homestead exemptions for veterans and fair congressional districts would not have passed had the threshold been 66.6% at the time.

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However, supporters of the change argue that policy proposals should be handled by passing laws and not making changes to the constitution.

“It should be much, much harder to amend the Florida Constitution, and I think this continuous revision of the constitution deletes or dilutes the gravity and serious of the document,” said Rep Spencer Roach (R-Fort Myers).

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This isn’t the first-time lawmakers have sought to make it harder to amend the constitution. In 2005, the legislature backed the amendment which in 2006 voters approved, raising the threshold from 50% to its current 60%. In 2020 a non-profit group named “Keep Our Constitution Clean” backed an amendment to require any future amendments to pass with 60% of the vote in two consecutive elections; voters rejected this plan.