Common Cause Florida Opposes Committee Approval of HJR 335 Threat to Ballot Initiative Process


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, the House Ethics, Elections and Open Government Subcommittee heard HJR 335 a bill that would create more barriers to the citizens initiative process by making it harder for Floridians to make future changes to Florida’s state constitution.  

This bill would place an amendment on the 2024 ballot proposing to raise the threshold for passing a constitutional amendment from 60 percent to 66.67 percent. If passed, this would make it extremely difficult and expensive for citizens’ groups to pass popular ballot initiatives like the one that raised Florida’s minimum wage. 

After today’s hearing, the bill will move on to the House Judiciary Committee.  

In responses to today’s hearing, Amy Keith, Executive Director of Common Cause Florida issued the following statement: 

“Let’s be very clear: This is NOT a good-government reform. It’s a power grab on one of the few checks citizens have on an unresponsive legislature. 

“This proposal would make the amendment process even harder, especially for citizens’ initiatives, and will make it almost impossible for anyone except big-money special interests to successfully pass a ballot initiative in Florida. 

“Florida currently has the highest threshold in the country for passage of amendments. Floridians have relied on the ability to make changes to our constitution through direct democracy for decades. This proposal is essentially trying to shut that down. Constitutional amendments currently pass with a higher threshold (60%) than it takes to elect our leaders, in a very divided state. And amendments that make it to the ballot through the work of citizen groups have even deeper support, as evidenced by the already onerous process it takes just to get them on the ballot. 

“The amendment process has provided Floridians with a number of important and popular reforms that would NOT have passed with a 66.67% threshold including:  

  • Right of Privacy (1980, passed with 60.60%) 
  • Raising Florida’s Minimum Wage (2020, passed with 60.82%) 
  • Fair Districts Amendments (2010, passed with 62.59% & 62.93%)  
  • Voting Rights Restoration (2018, passed with 64.55%) 
  • First Responder and Military Survivor Benefits (2018, passed with 65.76%)  

“Floridians are proud to live in a state that gives citizens the ability to have a real say in the laws that impact our daily lives.

“Legislators must recognize that for more than 50 years, the Florida Constitution has given Floridians the power to make crucial changes to the Constitution through citizens’ initiatives, and this bill clearly threatens that power of the people.”