Miami-Dade Legislative Item
File Number: 061883
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File Number: 061883 File Type: Ordinance Status: Adopted
Version: 0 Reference: 06-168 Control: County Commission
File Name: INITIATIVE, REFERENDUM & RECALL PETITIONS Introduced: 6/23/2006
Requester: NONE Cost: Final Action: 11/28/2006
Agenda Date: 11/28/2006 Agenda Item Number: 7B
Notes: Title: ORDINANCE PROVIDING FOR PERIOD DURING WHICH PERSONS SIGNING A PETITION FOR INITIATIVE, REFERENDUM, OR RECALL MAY WITHDRAW THEIR SIGNATURES; PROVIDING THAT ALL PRINT ON PETITIONS FOR INITIATIVE, REFERENDUM, OR RECALL MUST APPEAR IN 12-POINT FONT AND THAT THERE BE NO MORE THAN ONE SIGNATURE PER PAGE; AMENDING SECTION 12-23 OF THE CODE OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA; PROVIDING SEVERABILITY, INCLUSION IN THE CODE, AND AN EFFECTIVE DATE
Indexes: INITIATIVE PETITION
  PETITION
  REFERENDUM
Sponsors: Jose "Pepe" Diaz, Prime Sponsor
Sunset Provision: No Effective Date: Expiration Date:
Registered Lobbyist: None Listed


Legislative History

Acting Body Date Agenda Item Action Sent To Due Date Returned Pass/Fail

Mayor 12/6/2006 Vetoed
REPORT: Mayor Alvarez presented a Veto Message to the Clerk of the Board's Office on December 6, 2006.

Board of County Commissioners 11/28/2006 7B Adopted P
REPORT: County Attorney Murray Greenberg read the foregoing ordinance into the record. Commissioner Sorenson expressed concern that one signature per page would be voluminous and burdensome on those carrying around the petitions. She noted she was primarily concerned with the provision that signatures could be withdrawn within 15 days, which she believed could make coercion more likely and could intimate a signer into removing his/her signature. She spoke in opposition to this ordinance, and stated she believed the burden should be on the person reading and signing the petition, not on the person gathering signatures. In response to Commissioner Sosa’s inquiry regarding whether the requirement of one signature per page paralleled with the State of Florida’s method for circulating petitions, Mr. Lester Solo said it did. In response to Commissioner Gimenez’ question regarding whether the petition or referendum would be printed in the tri-languages (English, Spanish and Creole), Mr. Solo noted the sample provided to petition gatherers would be in the tri-languages, with exception to the circulator statement and the notary section, which would be in English. Commissioner Gimenez noted he supported this ordinance because the signers, he felt, would know exactly what they were signing for. Commissioner Heyman noted she supported this ordinance because it allowed signatures to be rescinded if someone relied on a statement they misunderstood. She expressed concern, however, that one signature per page would be a waste of resources. Commissioner Seijas pointed out that individuals gathering for money would aggressively pursue them and some people who might not be able to read the petitions could be fooled. She stated that citizens should not be subjected to this type of behavior. Following discussion, the Board proceeded to vote on the foregoing ordinance. (Note: Pursuant to Rule 8.01 of the County's Rules of Procedures, Mayor Alvarez vetoed the foregoing ordinance on December 6, 2006. At the Board's meeting of December 19th, 2006, the Mayor's Veto was overridden - See Agenda Item 2A2; Legislative file 063555 from the meeting of December 19th, 2006)

Community Outreach, Safety & Healthcare Admin Cmte 10/18/2006 2B Forwarded to BCC with a favorable recommendation P
REPORT: Assistant County Attorney Ferrer read the foregoing ordinance into the record. Vice Chairman Souto relinquished the chair to Chairwoman Sosa. The public hearing was opened by Chairwoman Sosa; however, it was closed after no one appeared in response to Chairwoman Sosa’s call for persons wishing to be heard in connection with the foregoing proposed ordinance. Commissioner Diaz explained the intent of the foregoing proposed ordinance. He apprised the committee of the process used to collect signatures for petitions; he wanted to make sure the font was large, legible, and constituents had clarity regarding what they were signing. Commissioner Jordan expressed concern regarding the large volume of signed petitions being notarized, and Assistant County Attorney Ehrlich clarified that each page must be notarized. Supervisor of Elections Lester Sola further clarified that there was only one (1) signature per page and that was concurrent according to how the State of Florida circulates their petitions as well. There being no further discussion or comments, the Committee proceeded to vote on the foregoing ordinance. In response to Chairwoman Sosa’s request for clarification regarding having petitions printed in three languages, English, Spanish and Creole, Mr. Sola noted that there was an ordinance that applies to elections material that is produced by the elections department such as sample ballots, information cards and actual ballot language, however petitions have only been approved by the Board in English and predominantly circulated in English. Assistant County Attorney Ehrlich further clarified that there was no ordinance which required petitions to be printed in three languages, and translation was at the discretion of the persons starting, printing and circulating the petitions. He stated this would be a separate ordinance regarding this issue. Responding to comments regarding petitions being circulated in predominantly the English language, Commissioner Souto expressed concern regarding petitions being circulated in English only and stated that people who did not speak the English language may not have been clear about what they were signing because they were unable to read the English language. Commissioner Jordan noted her support of the item and stated there had been an English only ordinance many years ago, however the community had changed and in an effort to remain consistent there needed to be a policy which stated that documents be published in all three languages because the predominant language was English, and there had been no previous consistency in terms of printing documents. With regard to issues pertaining to the policy of petitions being printed in three languages, Commissioner Seijas disagreed with Assistant County Attorney Ehrlich and noted that there was an existing policy and the policy had only been applied sparingly. There being no further discussion or comments, the Committee proceeded to vote on the foregoing resolution.

Board of County Commissioners 7/6/2006 Scheduled for a public hearing Community Outreach, Safety & Healthcare Admin Cmte 9/20/2006

Board of County Commissioners 7/6/2006 4D Adopted on first reading 9/20/2006 P
REPORT: The public hearing for the foregoing proposed ordinance was scheduled for the Community Outreach, Safety and Healthcare Administration Committee meeting of September 20, 2006.

County Attorney 6/23/2006 Referred Community Outreach, Safety & Healthcare Admin Cmte 10/18/2006

County Attorney 6/23/2006 Assigned Jeffrey P. Ehrlich 6/23/2006

Legislative Text


TITLE
ORDINANCE PROVIDING FOR PERIOD DURING WHICH PERSONS SIGNING A PETITION FOR INITIATIVE, REFERENDUM, OR RECALL MAY WITHDRAW THEIR SIGNATURES; PROVIDING THAT ALL PRINT ON PETITIONS FOR INITIATIVE, REFERENDUM, OR RECALL MUST APPEAR IN 12-POINT FONT AND THAT THERE BE NO MORE THAN ONE SIGNATURE PER PAGE; AMENDING SECTION 12-23 OF THE CODE OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA; PROVIDING SEVERABILITY, INCLUSION IN THE CODE, AND AN EFFECTIVE DATE

BODY
WHEREAS, Article 7 of the Home Rule Charter provides the method for initiative, referendum, and recall; and
WHEREAS, this Charter provision can be implemented by ordinances designed to prevent or reduce fraud; and
WHEREAS, this Board finds that there have been recent instances where signers of petitions have alleged that they have been fraudulently induced to sign a petition,
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED BY THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA:
Section 1. Section 12-23 of the Code of Miami-Dade County, Florida, is hereby amended to read as follows:1
Sec. 12-23. Initiative, referendum and recall petitions-Verification of signatures; disqualification of noncomplying petitions.

* * *

(1) Form of Petition. All petitions for initiative, referendum, and recall submitted pursuant to Article 7 of the Miami-Dade County Home Rule Charter shall be >>in 12-point font with no more than one signature per page and<< in a format determined by the Supervisor of Elections; providing, however, each petition shall contain the following information:

* * *

(2) Disqualification of Forms. Within [[fifteen (15)]] >>thirty (30)<< days, excluding weekends and legal holidays, of the date of filing a petition of initiative or referendum, the Supervisor of Elections, or in the case of recall, the Clerk of the Circuit Court, shall disqualify the following petition forms:

* * *

(3) Disqualification of Signatures. The Supervisor of Elections in the case of the initiative or referendum, or the Clerk of the Circuit Court in the case of recall, shall disqualify the following signatures:

* * *

>>G. Any signature that, within fifteen (15) days, excluding weekends and legal holidays, of the date of filing the petition, the signer, on a form prescribed by the Supervisor of Elections, has withdrawn his or her signature because the signature was fraudulently obtained.<<

Section 2. If any section, subsection, sentence, clause or provision of this ordinance is held invalid, the remainder of this ordinance shall not be affected by such invalidity.
Section 3. It is the intention of the Board of County Commissioners, and it is hereby ordained that the provisions of this ordinance, including any sunset provision, shall become and be made a part of the Code of Miami-Dade County, Florida. The sections of this ordinance may be renumbered or relettered to accomplish such intention, and the word "ordinance" may be changed to "section," "article," or other appropriate word.
Section 4. This ordinance shall become effective ten (10) days after the date of enactment unless vetoed by the Mayor, and if vetoed, shall become effective only upon an override by this Board.
1 Words stricken through and/or [[double bracketed]] shall be deleted. Words underscored and/or >>double arrowed<< constitute the amendment proposed. Remaining provisions are now in effect and remain unchanged.



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