Governor Crist Signs Important Property Rights Legislation

June 28, 2007

On Wednesday, June 27, 2007, Governor Charlie Crist signed SB 1920 Relating to Ballot Initiatives by Senator Mike Fasano (R-New Port Richey).  The bill allows private property owners to decide who can and cannot come onto their property to gather petitions for citizen initiatives.  The bill codifies into statute recent case law, including a case involving Publix supermarkets in which the courts found that property owners have the right to regulate petitioners.

The timing on this legislation could not be better.  Currently, there are several signature-gathering efforts afoot to place constitutional amendments on the 2008 General Election ballot that are detrimental to Florida’s employers and its vibrant economy – none more dangerous than the proposed Hometown Democracy amendment, which, if passed by the voters, would require that any future change or amendment to a local government comprehensive plan must be approved by local referendum (after it has gone through the entire planning and zoning process).  In many counties, this annual election would be comprised of hundreds (and in larger counties over 1,000) of comprehensive plan changes…the only people who would wade through a ballot that long would be those opposed to growth and those wanting to restrict an employers ability to have any say over their private property rights and how they might want to develop their property in the future.  It would also affect every new shopping center, new wastewater plant, whether a hospital wants to expand into a surrounding neighborhood, and so on and so forth.

The business community must keep a watchful eye on the progress of the Hometown Democracy effort; the very future of our state is at stake.  Supporters of Hometown Democracy are well on their way to collecting the required 611,009 signatures.  As of this date, they have collect a little over 200,000 signatures.  One way to slow down their progress of this very bad amendment is by not allowing their paid petition gatherers to come onto your property to collect signatures from your customers.  The signing of SB 1920 provides all Florida employers with the right to do so.  Please help disseminate this information by forwarding this notice to your regional and store managers, as well as to your employees. 

In addition, AIF has recently organized a Task Force to address this dangerous amendment.  Please contact us at 850-224-7173 if you would like more information on how to help stop Hometown Democracy.