Thursday, April 14, 2011

Florida House Committee Passes Amended Bill to Create a Presidential Primary Date-Setting Committee

As expected, an amendment was offered this morning in the Florida House State Affairs Committee to create a Presidential Preference Primary Date Setting Committee. The 10 person group -- staffed with members chosen by the Speaker of the House, President of the Senate and Governor -- would have until October 1 to select a date for the Sunshine state's presidential primary. This provides the state with some timing flexibility by breaking the decision out of the confines of the short period of time in which the Florida legislature is in session.

The amendment was added to HB 1355 by voice vote and the committee substitute was then passed by the State Affairs Committee by a vote of 12-6. That bill is a controversial elections bill that has seen and will see on the floor of the House and in the Senate if it passes resistance by the Democratic minority (via Travis Pillow at The Florida Independent).

Among other things, the bill would require people who change their addresses on election day to vote by provisional ballot and impose new regulations on groups that register voters. It would also dampen the prospects of citizen-sponsored ballot initiatives, shortening the time signatures are valid from four years to two.
Republican support should push it and the primary committee-creating committee provision through the legislature and to Republican Governor Rick Scott's desk.

The Florida legislature is set to adjourn on May 6.

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