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Pam Bondi asks court to review gambling initiative

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

Attorney General Pam Bondi is asking the state Supreme Court to review a proposed constitutional amendment on gambling.

Bondi sent a letter to the court Friday, asking it to judge the initiative’s “validity.”

The request, however, is pro forma. It’s required under law when an initiative garners enough signatures.

As of Friday, the Voter Control of Gambling amendment had 73,810 valid signatures toward the requirement of 683,149 signatures. It’s aiming to get on the 2018 statewide ballot.

The language would “ensure that Florida voters shall have the exclusive right to decide whether to authorize casino gambling,” the ballot summary says.

The Voters In Charge committee, the group behind the amendment, is chaired by John Sowinski. He also heads the Orlando-based No Casinos anti-gambling expansion organization. The two are separate entities.

“Our state’s history shows that you cannot expand gambling even a little in one place without it resulting in an explosion of gambling in another,” Sowinski said in a January statement.

“The people of Florida should have the ultimate say when it comes to deciding on gambling expansion, not gambling industry lawyers and lobbyists.”

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Before joining Florida Politics, journalist and attorney James Rosica was state government reporter for The Tampa Tribune. He attended journalism school in Washington, D.C., working at dailies and weekly papers in Philadelphia after graduation. Rosica joined the Tallahassee Democrat in 1997, later moving to the courts beat, where he reported on the 2000 presidential recount. In 2005, Rosica left journalism to attend law school in Philadelphia, afterwards working part time for a public-interest law firm. Returning to writing, he covered three legislative sessions in Tallahassee for The Associated Press, before joining the Tribune’s re-opened Tallahassee bureau in 2013. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.

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