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citizen initiative

Gambling advocates seek oral argument against amendment

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Opponents of a proposed constitutional amendment on gambling are asking permission from the Florida Supreme Court to argue against it at a future hearing. Marc Dunbar, a lawyer-lobbyist who represents dog and horse tracks, filed a request for oral argument Monday, court dockets show. He filed on behalf of “Floridians for Clarity in Gaming Control.” Dunbar’s brief describes it as “an unincorporated association of individuals and business sharing concerns regarding the proposed constitutional amendment,” ranging from “registered voters in Seminole County,…

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Economists uncertain of gambling amendment’s effect

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It’s not clear whether a proposed gambling-control amendment will help or hinder the state’s finances. A panel of state economists stalemated this week on the financial impact of the Voter Control of Gambling amendment. The Financial Impact Estimating Conference’s final report was hand-delivered to Attorney General Pam Bondi and Secretary of State Ken Detzner on Thursday. A summary reads: “The amendment’s impact on state and local government revenues and costs, if any, cannot be determined at this time because of its unknown effect on gambling…

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Gambling amendment group not fundraising

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The panel behind a proposed constitutional amendment on gambling again posted no new fundraising as of its April report. But Voters in Charge has nearly burned through the $195,000 given to it as seed money from the No Casinos anti-gambling expansion organization — awkwardly misspelled in a report as “No Cashinos.” The committee’s campaign finance report for April shows total expenditures at $189,100, according to the Division of Elections. Much of that money was given to paid petition gatherers. The amendment would “ensure…

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Economists puzzle over proposed gambling amendment

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If it’s approved, would a proposed constitutional amendment outlaw currently legal kinds of gambling? A panel of state economic analysts debated the question on Tuesday. The Financial Impact Estimating Conference, a slate of economists for the Legislature and executive branches, held a public workshop in Tallahassee on the Voter Control of Gambling amendment. It would “ensure that Florida voters shall have the exclusive right to decide whether to authorize casino gambling,” the ballot summary says. It’s aiming to get on the 2018 statewide…

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“Smart Solar” amendment narrowly passes Supreme Court review

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The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday barely approved a proposed state constitutional amendment on solar power for the 2016 ballot. In a 4-3 decision, the court OK’d the amendment in question, called “Rights of Electricity Consumers Regarding Solar Energy Choice.” It’s backed by Consumers For Smart Solar, supported by the state’s biggest private utilities, including Duke Energy Florida, Florida Power & Light, Gulf Power Co., and Tampa Electric Co. Chief Justice Jorge Labarga and Justice R. Fred Lewis joined the court’s conservatives, Justices Charles…

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State Supreme Court allows oral argument for Smart Solar amendment

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The Florida Supreme Court on Monday granted requests for oral argument on a hotly contested proposed constitutional amendment on solar power. The court scheduled argument at 9 a.m. May 5 for the amendment called “Rights of Electricity Consumers Regarding Solar Energy Choice” and backed by Consumers For Smart Solar. Among other requirements, proposed amendments to the state constitution must be OK’d by the court to ensure they cover only one subject and that their ballot title and summary aren’t misleading. The proposed summary now reads: This…

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Solar amendment now at 75 percent of needed signatures

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A proposed constitutional amendment has crossed the 500,000 signatures line on its way to being approved for voter consideration on the 2016 ballot. The utility-backed Consumers for Smart Solar is sponsoring the amendment titled “Rights of Electricity Consumers Regarding Solar Energy Choice.” As of Tuesday morning, it had reported 513,375 valid signatures, according to the state Division of Elections. An initiative needs 683,149 to merit ballot placement. The latest signature tally puts it at 75 percent of its goal. “We are pleased that our signature gathering efforts…

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