Fla. Supreme Court rules for “Hometown Democracy”

The Florida Supreme Court today ruled in favor of Florida Hometown Democracy Inc. in the PAC’s challenge to a state law allowing voters to revoke their petition signatures to place measures on the ballot.

Florida Hometown Democracy is pushing a proposal to require that comprehensive plan changes be approved by voters. Supporters say they hope the measure will put decisions on growth in the hands of voters, but opponents say it will bring growth in the state to a halt and hurt the economy.

The Legislature in 2005 adopted a state law that allows petition signers to change their minds. Florida Hometown Democracy supporters said that made it more difficult to get the required 676,811 signatures necessary to place the measure on the ballot.

“This is so much a load off of my mind,” Lesley Blackner of Palm Beach, a founder of Florida Hometown Democracy, said when told of the Florida Supreme Court ruling late today. “The whole point of the revocation process was to give our opponents opportunities to keep us off the ballot.”

Last week, Florida Chamber of Commerce President Mark Wilson said he expected the measure to be placed on the ballot, either by the Supreme Court or by state elections officials in February when they certify the vote. The chamber is opposing the ballot initiative.

A spokeswoman for the state Division of Elections was not immediately available tonight for a response.