TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (The News Service of Florida) - A move to expand the state’s 16-year ban on smoking in indoor workplaces to include electronic cigarettes and vaping is drawing opposition.
The measure is facing criticism, including from some newspaper editorial boards, because of the process used by the 37-member Florida Constitution Revision Commission to put what is known as Amendment Nine on the November 6 ballot.
Rather than allowing the vaping ban to stand on its own as a proposed constitutional amendment, the commission coupled it with a proposed ban on offshore oil drilling in Florida waters.
The drilling portion of the amendment would put in the Constitution a ban on Florida granting leases to drill for oil or natural gas in state-controlled coastal waters.
Bonnie Malloy with the environmental group Earthjustice hopes voters will support Amendment Nine, even if the two issues are grouped together.
“Bundling has already occurred. The Florida Supreme Court has ruled, so it’s not really the issue now. The question is whether Floridians should vote for this amendment, and that’s a resounding yes," said Malloy. "This is such an important moment for us to make a stand.”
The Florida Supreme Court has said the Constitution Revision Commission followed the rules, but the decision to combine the proposals might turn at least some voters against what individually could be popular ideas.
Amendments Nine and 11 other proposals are also facing an uphill battle for attention, appearing on the ballot behind several high-profile races, including races for governor and U.S. senator. Constitutional amendments must receive 60 percent support from voters to pass.