TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (The News Service of Florida) - The State of Florida on Thursday quickly appealed a ruling made by Circuit Judge Karen Gievers which knocked a greyhound-racing ban off the November ballot.
In her order late Wednesday, Gievers called the proposed constitutional amendment misleading and “outright trickeration.”
The amendment was one of eight ballot measures placed on the Nov. 6 general-election ballot by the state Constitution Revision Commission, which meets every 20 years and has the unique authority to present proposed constitutional changes directly to voters.
The proposal sought to ban commercial greyhound racing in the state after December 31, 2020.
Supporters of the proposed constitutional amendment, including Kate MacFall with the Humane Society of the United States, say they will continue to fight to protect racing dogs.
“This issue has been out there for a long time. We know that it’s illegal in 40 other states," said MacFall. "The CRC process put this on the ballot, and I think it’s fair and just to give Florida voters a voice.”
Opponents of the proposed amendment feel the court ruling proves the ballot title and summary for Amendment 13 are misleading on several grounds, including the fact that the measure would not ban all dog-race wagering in the state.
Florida Greyhound Association lobbyist Jack Cory says the proposal would still allow tracks to conduct betting on dog races that are broadcast from outside the state.
“You can lie to the CRC to get something put on the ballot, you can even lie to the media, and you can try to lie to the people of the state of Florida," said Cory. "You cannot lie to the courts, without severe consequences.”
Cory says ending greyhound racing would impact thousands of Florida jobs and lead to an uncertain future for the dogs that currently race.
The proposed dog-racing ban was one of 13 state constitutional amendments on the November 6 ballot.
12 of the 18 greyhound tracks that still exist nationwide are located in Florida.