Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing efforts of the anti-gambling group, No Casinos, to help protect Florida families from the dangers of expanded gambling. Most recently, No Casinos outlined a diverse strategy for preventing expanded gambling in Florida, including support of an initiative petition by Voters in Charge to require statewide voter approval prior to authorizing gambling expansion. The group was required to collect a certain number of signatures before they would be able to place the amendment on the ballot for a statewide vote. The Tampa Tribune Online is now reporting that the group has enough signatures to take the next step in the petition process:
The anti-gambling group No Casinos! announced today it has collected 100,000 signature s for its Voters in Charge ballot initiative and is submitting them to county election supervisors to be validated for judicial review. State law requires 68,314 valid signatures to trigger a Florida Supreme Court review of the ballot language. “When we launched this petition drive in October, we outlined a plan that called for hitting this goal of collecting enough signatures, that when validated, would result in the total needed for the Supreme Court to review the initiative, and we have achieved that goal,” said John Sowinski, President of No Casinos!
The next step will be to acquire enough signatures to get the initiative on the ballot. State law requires 10% of the voters, or in this case, 683,149 total signatures. The goal is to collect the remaining signatures and place the issue on the 2018 ballot if necessary. The Tampa Tribune explains:
Sowinski said his group would push to get it on the 2018 ballot if the Florida Supreme court allows slots at an Indian Tribe-owned race track in Gretna, 70 miles west of Tallahassee. No Casinos! has filed a friend of the court brief in Gretna Racing LLC v Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulations seeking a strict interpretation of Article X, Section 7 of the state’s constitution, and make it clear that “casino gambling can’t be expanded by legislative fiat,” Sowinski said at a press conference last week.
“If the court returns a ruling in the Gretna case that does not give authority over gambling expansion to the people of Florida, we will continue the initiative process and put this amendment on the 2018 ballot,” Sowinski said.
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