FL ballot amendments: Medical pot and court packing out, environmental spending in

empty voting booth2About 11 p.m. Tuesday night, a Twitter account called “Charlie Crist’s Fan” messaged Gov. Rick Scott, asking for a job.

“Hey @ScottforFlorida, you looking for someone to keep you cool? Let me know, bro,” the unknown author wrote in plain view of 2,115 followers.

Scott, the incumbent Republican, had just defeated newly minted Democrat Charlie Crist by 1.2 percent, or 70,000 votes, in one of the most expensive and negative governors’ races in history. The candidates — and by extension Florida — became a national laughingstock after a tiff over Crist’s personal Vornado fan during a debate last month.

If any question remained, the spat seemed to solidify the election as a choice over the least-worst candidate to oversee a state of 19 million.

Robert Sanchez, a Pulitzer Prize winning columnist formerly of the Miami Herald, told Watchdog.org the race was one of the ugliest since the days of open racism in politics.

Compared to that kind of spectacle, fueled by $150 million, three far-reaching ballot amendments flew mostly under the radar.

Only Amendment 2 received any significant statewide attention. It would have legalized medical marijuana and arguably opened the door for broader pot use. It failed. Needing 60 percent approval to alter the state constitution, only 58 percent of Sunshine State voters said ‘yes.’

Incidentally, no statewide officer holder received 60 percent approval, and neither gubernatorial candidate breached 50 percent.

“By no means is this a rejection of medical marijuana in Florida, as the results show that a strong majority of Floridians support it,” said Erik Altieri, communications director for NORML, a medical marijuana advocacy group.

Amendment 3 also went down in flames. It would have given Florida governors the ability to appoint state Supreme Court justices, and appellate-level judges, if they were scheduled to leave the bench the same time as an outgoing governor.

It just so happens the measure was added to the ballot by the Legislature, a Republican stronghold, while three state Supreme Courts justices are about to retire due to age limitations.

Read more at Watchdog.org

William Patrick | Florida Watchdog


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