Florida Officials Blasted For Grouping Anti-Vaping Ballot Measure With Ban On Offshore Drilling

Steve Birr | Vice Reporter

Critics of a recent decision to group an anti-vaping measure with a ban on offshore oil drilling on the November ballot in Florida say the plan “makes no sense.”

Members of the Florida Constitution Revision Commission voted 33-3 without debate April 16 in favor of Proposal 6004, which places the two measure together. Brecht Heuchan, chairman of the commission’s Style and Drafting Committee, claimed that, “if anything went together,” it’s clean air and clean water, but critics say its an attempt to force voters to accept constitutional changes they do not support, reports the Wakulla News.

The vaping amendment, proposed by former Republican state Sen. Lisa Carlton, would ban the harm reduction devices in all workplaces in the state — as well as nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

“It just doesn’t make sense that they should be linked together,” said David Mica, executive director of the Florida Petroleum Council, according to the Wakulla News. “You should be able to make decisions about your public health and your economic viability separately.”

A coalition including the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, the First Amendment Foundation, the AFL-CIO of Florida and the League of Women Voters of Florida is condemning the move, calling it a “dramatic departure” from protocol followed in 1998 — the last time the Constitution Revision Commission met.

The editorial board of the Naples Daily News also recently lashed out at the commission for grouping together unrelated legislative proposals.

“If this needs constitutional protection, are these the two best ways to protect our air and water?” the editorial board said April 21. “Do coastal mangrove protections or inland hydraulic fracturing have greater environmental implications than whether someone vapes at work?”

The commission meets every 20 years to discuss updates to the Florida Constitution and has authority to put issues to the people through a ballot vote without approval from the state legislature.

The bundled vaping and oil measures will need the support of at least 60 percent of voters to pass in November.

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