Voters In Charge Launches Ballot Initiative to Give Florida Voters Exclusive Right to Approve or Disapprove Casino Gambling

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Amendment gives Voters, not Politicians, Power to Decide Casino
Gambling

ORLANDO, Fla.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–For far too long, gambling interests have flooded Florida’s political
system with campaign contributions and lobbyists, pushing an agenda that
eventually would inundate the state with Las Vegas-style casinos. It is
time to restore the time-honored standard of requiring voter approval
for any casino gambling.

That’s why a new organization called Voters In Charge, has
launched a citizens’ initiative petition drive to put a constitutional
amendment before voters to give the people of Florida the exclusive
right to approve or disapprove any form of casino gambling in Florida.
The Voter Control of Gambling Amendment would require those
pressing for casino gambling to make their case to Florida voters in an
open and public forum through a constitutional initiative. The
amendment, which was originally developed for legislative consideration,
consistently polls near 70% approval. The ballot summary is as follows:

“This amendment ensures that Florida voters shall have the exclusive
right to decide whether to authorize casino gambling by requiring that
in order for casino gambling to be authorized under Florida law, it must
be approved by Florida voters pursuant to Article XI, Section 3 of the
Florida Constitution. Affects articles X and XI. Defines casino gambling
and clarifies that this amendment does not conflict with federal law
regarding state/tribal compacts.”

Since the 1968 revision of the Florida Constitution, most policymakers
and legal experts have agreed that the lottery prohibition in Article X,
section 7, makes it clear that most forms of gambling are prohibited in
the state, unless approved by voters through a constitutional amendment.
Recent conflicting case law, however, has given rise to the notion that
the Florida Legislature can, without voter approval, legalize certain
forms of casino gambling. Voters In Charge rejects this
interpretation. Supporters of this effort will continue to make their
case in the legal arena, but if cases currently working their way
through the courts fail to strictly apply Article X, section 7, the
Voter Control of Gambling Amendment will ensure that only those forms of
casino gambling that have been approved by voters through statewide
constitutional initiative will be legal in Florida.

“People will agree or disagree about casino gambling,” said John
Sowinski, Chairman of Voters In Charge. “But regardless of your
position, given the stakes involved and the money that the gambling
industry puts into campaigns and lobbying, the people of Florida should
have the final say on whether or not to legalize casino-style gambling.
Our state’s history shows that without this bright line, gambling will
continue to spread through big money lobbying and clever lawyering. If
the courts fail to do so, our amendment will put Florida voters back in
charge of making such decisions.”

Voters In Charge will immediately begin gathering petitions and
anticipates reaching 100,000 signatures collected, and approved by local
Supervisors of Elections in order to have the required 68,314 valid
petitions to trigger a review by the Florida Supreme Court, by early
2016.

The full text of the proposed amendment can be viewed on the website of
the Florida Division of Elections at https://laprensafl.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/64995-1.pdf.

Contacts

Voters In Charge
John Sowinski, 407-608-5904
Sowinski@onmessage.com