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Daily Legislative Brief from February 19, 2020

Legal & Judicial

SB 7062 – Relating to Citizen Initiative

On Wednesday, February 19, SB 7062, sponsored and heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee, was reported favorable with 4 yeas and 2 nays. AIF’s Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs, Brewster Bevis, stood in support of this legislation.

The Florida Constitution authorizes five methods by which proposed amendments may be submitted to the electors for approval. These methods of amendment allow proposals to be submitted to the electors by the Legislature, the constitution revision commission, the taxation and budget reform commission, a constitutional convention, and a citizen initiative.

The bill is a joint resolution to amend the Florida Constitution to change the geographic distribution requirement for signatures on citizen initiative petitions. Initiative proponents will be required to show that an initiative has some public support in all, instead of half, of the state’s 27 congressional districts. Proponents must demonstrate sufficient public support by collecting signatures on initiative petitions from each congressional district of the state in a number equal to 8% of the votes cast in each district in the last presidential election.

Under the current geographic distribution requirement in the Constitution, signatures must satisfy the 8 percent threshold in at least half of the state’s 27 congressional districts. The joint resolution does not change the total number of signatures on petitions that must be obtained to place a citizen initiative amendment on the ballot.

AIF supports the measures contained in this bill to prevent interest groups’ circumvention of the legislature in revising Florida’s constitution.


SB 1484 – Relating to Motor Vehicle Manufacturers and Dealers

On Wednesday, February 19, SB 1484 by Senator Manny Diaz (R-Hialeah Gardens) was heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee and was reported favorable with 3 yeas and 2 nays. AIF’s Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs, Brewster Bevis, stood in opposition to this legislation.

Florida has substantially regulated motor vehicle manufacturers and motor vehicle dealers since before 1950. The bill addresses a number of issues related to contractual agreements between motor vehicle manufacturers (or distributors/importers) and franchised motor vehicle dealers. Current law prohibits a manufacturer, importer, or distributor of a given brand of vehicle from competing with its dealers of that brand in any activity covered in their franchise agreement.

The bill prohibits manufacturers from competing with their dealers but by listing the activities at which they may not compete, such as the sale and service of motor vehicles. The bill also expressly prohibits a manufacturer that has sold a brand of vehicle through a franchised dealer from selling that brand of vehicle in any other way, regardless of whether the manufacturer “rebadges” the vehicle. Additionally, the bill will make it unlawful for most manufacturers to sell parts to a retail consumer or a wholesaler.

SB 1484 will now move to the Senate Rules Committee.

AIF opposes legislative efforts that choose winners and losers by interfering with contracts between private companies as dictating contracts is not the role of government.