At their July 25 meeting, the executive committee of the RLC of Florida made two official recommendations regarding Florida referenda that reiterate the group’s commitment to free markets, individual liberty and private property. The RLC officially recommended voters at large vote YES on Amendment 9 and NO on Amendment 4 in November.
Amendment 9, as known as the Healthcare Freedom Act, states that any law or rule shall not compel, directly or indirectly, any individual to participate in any health care system against their will. The Act specifies that individuals cannot be fined, penalized or imprisoned for not participating in a mandated health insurance program such as Obamacare. If approved by Floridians in November, Health Care Freedom will become a provision of the Florida Constitution.
That Amendment 9 is on the ballot at all is partly due to efforts of RLCers who lobbied for the bill and traveled to the state capitol and went door to door speaking to legislators on behalf of the measure. Political consultant John Hallman said the measure was on the edge of being dismissed without even a committee vote when an outpouring of support surrounding the crucial vote in March led to a 10-3 committee vote to send the bill to the floor of the Senate and eventually passage in both houses.
In this effort, the RLCFL worked closely with Sen. Cary Baker and Rep. Scott Plakon, the two chief sponsors of the amendment.
Unfortunately, even though the Amendment was approved by the legislature, lawsuits have been launched to keep the Healthcare Freedom Act off the ballot. However, the RLC strongly believes the decision should be made by citizens and not by the court.
The RLC executive committee also came out against Amendment 4, the so-called Hometown Democracy act, which would require public referenda on a wide range of land use decisions.
Leonard Gilroy, a senior policy analyst at the libertarian Reason Foundation, put it like this in a James Madison Institute Point of View: “Throwing landowners’ ability to develop their property to the whims of public opinion shaped by costly public relations campaigns embraces the ultimate tyranny of the majority over individual property rights.”
For the record, the RLC is dissatisfied with the status quo where the decision-making responsibility is largely shared by elected officials and urban planners. Citizen input comes through their participation in planning boards and there is recourse to appeals, but nonetheless property rights are routinely violated in the state of Florida.
However, Amendment 4 is a move in the wrong direction, adding an additional layer of bureaucracy and expense in exercising one’s property rights. In practice, where Amendment 4 style laws exist, the process is mired in litigation.
In 2005, the RLCFL played a significant role in the successful statewide referendum to protect property owners from the use of eminent domain for private purposes. See also here and here for more details of RLC efforts on the successful Kelo remedy amendment.
At the Sunday night meeting, the board also considered several endorsements of candidates and announcements of new endorsements can be expected in the coming weeks.