Voice of the People, Squelched in Florida

In States, Voting On

In the case of the amendment to expand access to medical marijuana, approved last November by 71 percent of the voters, Republican lawmakers are proposing tighter rules on doctors’ prescriptions, as well as other obstacles for patients who want to use medical marijuana.

Similarly, a constitutional amendment to expand the use of solar power, which drew 73 percent approval last year, has been met by a raft of obstructionist proposals that would bog down rooftop solar installation. They include rules language drafted by the state’s major utility, Florida Power & Light. This isn’t healthy legislative give-and-take, as supporters claim. It is transparent homage to the powerful utility and its generous political contributions.

The anti-gerrymandering amendment, which calls for strictly nonpartisan drawing of legislative district lines, struck fear into politicians after 63 percent of voters approved it in 2010. It’s been marked by years of expensive, bare-knuckle resistance by a Legislature determined to draw the voting map in ways that favor incumbents.

Republican lawmakers now propose to dig in further by restricting the time period for legal challenges to new district maps. They would also subject judges who reject party machine maps to cross-examination during appeals — a move as vindictive as it is unconstitutional, and an insult to voters who approved a mandate for cleaner politics.

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