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League of Women Voters: Constitutional Amendments are "Threat to Democracy"


One of the state's oldest voter education groups came out today against every one of the Constitutional amendments that will be on Florida ballots in November.  The League of Women Voters say several are detrimental to democracy.

There will be eleven amendments to the state Constitution on the ballot - and every single one was proposed by the state legislature.

Deirdre MacNab, president of the League, says two amendments in particular are vexing.

"We now see two amendments on the ballot which we believe are threatening core principals and the foundation of our democracy," she says. "One, of course, is the end of the separation of church and state in our Constitution, which has been there for 126 years."

That amendment - Amendment Eight - would end the state's ban on using public money to help religious institutions. Supporters - such as the Catholic Church - say it would protect their ability to provide social services with state money. The other amendment singled out by the League is Five, which would require the state Senate confirm nominees for the state Supreme Court. It would also allow judicial rulings to be repealed by a two-thirds vote of both the state House and Senate.

"Our state Constitution is not the place to put ideas that will break down core American principles," says MacNab, "and put impossible-to-remove tax exemptions in our state Constitution."

Several other of the amendments would create tax exemptions for everything from military veterans to commercial real estate to senior citizens.

Steve Newborn is a WUSF reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues and politics in the Tampa Bay area.
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