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Single subject requirement sought for tax commission

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – After controversy last year about “bundled” ballot proposals by the Florida Constitution Revision Commission, a Senate panel Monday will take up a measure that would prevent another state commission from linking multiple issues in single constitutional amendments.

The measure (SJR 690), filed by Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez, D-Miami, would place the restriction on the state Taxation and Budget Reform Commission, which meets every 20 years to propose constitutional changes involving tax and budget issues.

The Taxation and Budget Reform Commission met in 2007 and 2008 and placed amendments on the 2008 ballot.

The Rodriguez measure, which will be considered Monday by the Senate Judiciary Committee, comes after the Constitution Revision Commission last year placed proposals on the ballot that tied together seemingly unrelated issues.

For example, one measure included a ban on offshore oil drilling and a ban on vaping in workplaces. Critics said the “bundled” measures were unfair to voters, who could have different opinions on issues in the same constitutional amendment.

The Rodriguez measure would place a single-subject requirement on proposals from the Taxation and Budget Reform Commission to try to prevent a repeat of what happened with the Constitution Revision Commission.

A similar measure (SJR 74) has been moving through the Senate to place a single-subject requirement on the Constitution Revision Commission, which also meets every 20 years.

Meanwhile, a proposal has started moving in the House (HJR 53) that seeks a single-subject requirement for the Taxation and Budget Reform Commission and the Constitution Revision Commission.