Miami-Dade Legislative Item
File Number: 112108
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File Number: 112108 File Type: Resolution Status: Adopted
Version: 0 Reference: R-941-11 Control: Board of County Commissioners
File Name: FROM 60 TO 120 DAYS ALLOWED TO CIRCULATE INITIATORY PETITION Introduced: 10/11/2011
Requester: NONE Cost: Final Action: 11/3/2011
Agenda Date: 11/3/2011 Agenda Item Number: 11A14
Notes: SEE 112349 FOR FINAL VERSION AS ADOPTED Title: RESOLUTION CALLING A COUNTYWIDE SPECIAL ELECTION IN MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, TO BE HELD ON TUESDAY, [ ], 2012, FOR THE PURPOSE OF SUBMITTING TO THE ELECTORS OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY THE QUESTION OF WHETHER TO AMEND THE CHARTER TO INCREASE FROM 60 TO 120 DAYS THE TIME ALLOWED TO CIRCULATE INITIATORY PETITIONS, AND TO PROVIDE THAT ELECTIONS TO AMEND THE CHARTER, EITHER THROUGH INITIATORY PETITIONS OR BY BOARD ACTION, BE HELD IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE NEXT SCHEDULED GENERAL ELECTION RATHER THAN WITHIN 60 TO 120 DAYS, AS CURRENTLY REQUIRED
Indexes: CHARTER
  SPECIAL ELECTION
Sponsors: Esteban L. Bovo, Jr., 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

Board of County Commissioners 11/3/2011 11A14 AMENDED Adopted as amended P
REPORT: SPECIAL NOTE: See Agenda Item 11A34 AMENDED, Legislative File No. 112352 for preliminary comments and discussion prior to the consideration of resolutions calling for a Countywide Special Election to amend the Home Rule Charter. See Agenda Item 11A20, Legislative File No. 112265 for additional comments relating to the foregoing proposed resolution. Chairman Martinez inquired whether the recall petition process could be addressed by ordinance. Assistant County Attorney Rosenthal clarified that certain provisions of Chapter 12, Section 12-23 of the Code of Miami-Dade County could be changed to comply with the Charter Review Task Force members’ recommendations; however, these changes would be made by ordinance and not included in the County Charter. Chairman Martinez inquired whether the petition signature requirements were consistent with the requirements set forth by State Statute, pursuant to legislation previously proposed by Commissioner Diaz. Assistant County Attorney Rosenthal answered that the ordinance to which Chairman Martinez referred was not adopted. He clarified that certain items needed to be addressed through Charter Amendment and not by ordinance, such as: 1) changing the time allowed to collect signatures from 60 to 120 days, 2) prohibiting future ordinances, and 3) changing the election date to the General Election. Repealing the provision of Section 12-23 requiring no more than one signature per page could be accomplished by ordinance, said Assistant County Attorney Rosenthal. In response to Chairman Martinez’ question about page and font size requirements for recall petitions, Assistant County Attorney Rosenthal noted a minimum 12 point font was required and no minimum page requirement existed. Mayor Gimenez explained that recall petition requirements were being included in the County Charter to ensure that changes to those requirements could be made only by the voters and not by any future County Commission. Commissioner Bovo noted many of his proposed resolutions dealt with recall petitions and he would defer those items which could be considered by ordinance. He proceeded to question whether these items could be included on the ballot in the event they were not approved by this commission. Assistant County Attorney Rosenthal advised that items that were meant to be placed on the January 31, 2012 ballot were due by December 2, 2011; therefore, they could be included on a subsequent election ballot if the County Commission did not approve the ordinance(s). Commissioner Bovo noted an Agenda item existed which combined several individual items and questioned whether that item could be considered by ordinance or whether it should be placed on the ballot. Assistant County Attorney Rosenthal explained that Task Force Recommendation No. 9 (Agenda Item 11A14) could not be accomplished through an ordinance. He noted this proposed resolution would increase the time period allowed to collect signatures for proposed Charter amendments and citizens’ initiatives from 60 to 120 days and would place proposed Charter amendments on the General Election ballot only. He explained that the Task Force members recommended that the County Commission pass no laws regarding initiatory petitions that were not in the Charter and it would be inconsistent to pass the combined item and then to change the ordinance because the commission would not be able to change the ordinance. Commissioner Bovo questioned whether Agenda Items 11A17 and 11A18 which both addressed Charter Review Task Force Recommendation No. 18 could be considered by ordinance. Assistant County Attorney Rosenthal indicated that currently a Charter election is to be held within 60 to 120 days of the date a certified petition is presented to the County Commission. He explained that Recommendation No. 18 would change the time period so that the Charter election would be held in conjunction with the next scheduled General Election. He advised that the Commission could not pass an ordinance that would change the time allowed to have that election because it was already included in the Charter. Commissioner Bovo noted he wanted to discuss Agenda Item 11A14 which would require a Charter Amendment to increase the number of days allowed to collect petition signatures from 60 to 120 days. He proceeded to question whether the two other Agenda items addressing Task Force Recommendation No. 18 could be combined or whether they should be considered separately by ordinance or Charter amendment. Assistant County Attorney Rosenthal responded that many items included in Task Force Recommendation No. 18 could be accommodated by ordinance, with the exception of the change in election date. He noted Task Force Recommendation No. 9 would change the election date, thus allowing the remaining components of Recommendation No. 18 to be addressed by ordinance. He also noted Task Force Recommendation No. 12 prohibiting future changes to the Charter by the County Commission could not be addressed through an ordinance. County Attorney Cuevas and Assistant County Attorney Rosenthal advised that Commissioner Bovo could submit repeal items that he wanted to change at a later date. Chairman Martinez suggested a discussion on the proposal to increase the number of days allowed to collect petition signatures from 60 to 120 days and questioned whether the General Election items could be combined. Assistant County Attorney Rosenthal answered that Recommendation No. 9 already included both the change from 60 to 120 days as well as the change to the General Election date. County Attorney Cuevas asked and Commissioner Bovo accepted an amendment to insert January 31, 2012 as the Special Election date. Commissioner Diaz noted the existing ordinance was adopted in order to prevent fraud. He said the signature requirements were very clear requiring only one signature per page; as a result, individuals signing petitions were now in a better position to read and understand what they were signing, according to a conversation with Mr. Lester Sola, Elections Department Past Director. Commissioner Diaz noted the notary requirement was no longer an issue since clear and precise signatures were being submitted to the Elections Department. He asked the County Attorney to explain the State of Florida’s verification requirements pertaining to the petitions gathering process. Assistant County Attorney Rosenthal responded that the Supervisor of Elections for the State of Florida was paid ten cents per signature to review signatures. Commissioner Diaz questioned the Task Force members’ recommendation on the petition gathering process and signature requirements. Assistant County Attorney Rosenthal read Task Force Recommendation No. 9 which proposed that the period to collect signatures for proposed Charter amendments and citizens’ initiative be extended to 120 days and that proposed Charter amendments be placed on a General Election ballot. In response to Commissioner Diaz’ inquiry, Commissioner Bovo said that he supported placing Charter amendments on the General Election ballot. Assistant County Attorney Rosenthal clarified for Commissioner Diaz that County Commission members amended a previous resolution to place Charter amendments on the General Election ballot; that the County Mayor executed his veto power over that approval; and that the Commission subsequently overruled the Mayor’s veto. Commissioner Diaz explained that the County Commission adhered to State guidelines for the petition gathering process and based upon police investigations and fraud prosecutions added additional conditions such as obtaining the signatures of each person gathering voters’ signatures. He noted signature petitions were printed in three languages on a single page to ensure that they could easily be read, thus providing an additional layer of voter protection. Pursuant to Commissioner Monestime’s questions about the differences between the foregoing proposed resolution and the citizens’ initiative which appeared on the 2011 election ballot, Assistant County Attorney Rosenthal responded that the previous ballot question read “shall the Charter be amended to provide that petitions for Charter amendments, initiatives, referendum and recall shall no longer require a sworn affidavit of a circulator and shall instead only require the name and address of a circulator.” He explained that the proposed resolution would keep the previous conditions; however, it would also include 120 days to collect signatures and would place Charter amendments on a General Election rather than on an election held 60 to 120 days from setting of the election. Assistant County Attorney Rosenthal added that the previous ballot included recall in the language whereas this proposed resolution did not. He said the current proposal did not address the notary requirements which currently existed in the Charter, nor the provisions of Section 12-23 which required one signature per page. Chairman Martinez noted he recently met with Mr. Lazaro Gonzalez, who initiated the initial petition drive to recall Mayor Carlos Alvarez, and was informed that 90 days was sufficient to gather signatures; however, 120 days could potentially lead to fraud. He said he believed that Mr. Gonzalez also met with Commissioners Barreiro, Diaz, Sosa, Souto, and Suarez and asked whether they had received a similar message. The commissioners identified by Chairman Martinez confirmed that they received a similar message from Mr. Gonzalez. Chairman Martinez questioned the rationale behind the Task Force members’ recommendation of allowing 120 days to gather signatures. Assistant County Attorney Rosenthal answered that according to page 24 of the Task Force’s Final Recommendations “The Task Force believes that by increasing the time frame for gathering signatures from 60 to 120 days, which is the standard for most of the peer jurisdictions reviewed, citizens would have greater access to the petition process.” Mayor Gimenez noted the Task Force came to the conclusion that 120 days appeared to be a reasonable amount of time to gather petitions. Commissioner Bovo commented that 120 days would provide citizens who were not tied to deep pockets or special interests with sufficient time to gather signatures. Hearing no further questions or comments, the Commission proceeded to vote on the foregoing proposed resolution as amended. Upon being put to a vote, the foregoing proposed resolution passed by a vote of 13-0. The foregoing proposed resolution was adopted as amended to insert on handwritten page 3, Section 1, line 2 the date “January 31, 2012” as the Countywide Special Election date. Commissioner Jordan subsequently requested that her vote be changed to a “No” vote, resulting in the proposed resolution passing by a vote of 12-0.

Board of County Commissioners 11/3/2011 11A14 Amended
REPORT: SPECIAL NOTE: See Agenda Item 11A34 AMENDED, Legislative File No. 112352 for preliminary comments and discussion prior to the consideration of resolutions calling for a Countywide Special Election to amend the Home Rule Charter. See Agenda Item 11A14 AMENDED, Legislative File No. 112108 for the Amended version.

Board of County Commissioners 10/18/2011 14A2 4 Day Rule Invoked
REPORT: Commissioner Jordan invoked the 4-Day Rule on the foregoing proposed resolution.

County Mayor 10/17/2011 Additions

County Attorney 10/11/2011 Referred Information Technology Department 10/26/2011

County Attorney 10/11/2011 Assigned Oren Rosenthal

Legislative Text


TITLE
RESOLUTION CALLING A COUNTYWIDE SPECIAL ELECTION IN MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, TO BE HELD ON TUESDAY, [ ], 2012, FOR THE PURPOSE OF SUBMITTING TO THE ELECTORS OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY THE QUESTION OF WHETHER TO AMEND THE CHARTER TO INCREASE FROM 60 TO 120 DAYS THE TIME ALLOWED TO CIRCULATE INITIATORY PETITIONS, AND TO PROVIDE THAT ELECTIONS TO AMEND THE CHARTER, EITHER THROUGH INITIATORY PETITIONS OR BY BOARD ACTION, BE HELD IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE NEXT SCHEDULED GENERAL ELECTION RATHER THAN WITHIN 60 TO 120 DAYS, AS CURRENTLY REQUIRED

BODY
BE IT RESOLVED BY THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA:
Section 1. A countywide special election is hereby called and shall be held in Miami-Dade County, Florida on Tuesday, [ ], 2012, for the purpose of submitting to the qualified electors of Miami-Dade County the proposal for amendment to the Miami-Dade County Home Rule Charter in the form attached hereto and made a part hereof.
Section 2. Notice of such election shall be published in accordance with Section 100.342, Florida Statutes.
Section 3. The result of such election shall be determined by a majority of the qualified electors of Miami-Dade County voting upon the proposal. The polls at such election shall be open from 7:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. on the day of such election. All qualified electors of Miami-Dade County, Florida shall be entitled to vote at said election. The County registration books shall remain open at the Office of the Miami-Dade County Supervisor of Elections until twenty-nine (29) days prior to the date of such election, at which time the registration books will close in accordance with the provisions of general election laws. The question shall appear on the ballot in substantially the following form:
CHARTER AMENDMENT RELATING
TO INITIATIVE PETITIONS AND
ELECTIONS ON CHARTER AMENDMENTS

SHALL THE CHARTER BE AMENDED TO INCREASE FROM 60 TO 120 DAYS THE TIME ALLOWED TO CIRCULATE INTIATORY PETITIONS, AND TO PROVIDE THAT ELECTIONS TO AMEND THE CHARTER, EITHER THROUGH INITIATORY PETITIONS OR BY BOARD ACTION, BE HELD IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE NEXT SCHEDULED GENERAL ELECTION RATHER THAN WITHIN 60 TO 120 DAYS, AS CURRENTLY REQUIRED?

YES

NO

Section 4. The form of the ballot shall be in accordance with the requirements of general election laws.
Section 5. Early voting shall be conducted in accordance with the requirements of general election laws.
Section 6. Absentee paper ballots may be used by qualified electors of Miami-Dade County for voting on this question. The form of such absentee ballot shall be in accordance with the requirements prescribed by general election laws.
Section 7. A sample ballot showing the manner in which the question or proposal aforesaid will appear at this election shall be published and provided in accordance with the applicable provisions of general election laws.
Section 8. This special election on the proposal aforesaid shall be held and conducted in accordance with applicable provisions of the general laws relating to elections and the provisions of the Miami-Dade County Home Rule Charter. The County Mayor or his or her designee, the Finance Director, and the Clerk of the County Commission are hereby authorized and directed to take all appropriate actions necessary to carry into effect and accomplish the provisions of this resolution. This election shall be a nonpartisan election. Election officials in connection with this election shall be appointed in accordance with the provisions of general election laws.
Section 9. This election shall be canvassed by the County Canvassing Board, in accordance with the provisions of Section 3.07 of the Home Rule Charter.

OTHER
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY HOME RULE CHARTER

ARTICLE - 81

INITIATIVE, REFERENDUM, AND RECALL

SECTION 8.01. INITIATIVE AND REFERENDUM.

The electors of the county shall have the power to propose to the Board of County Commissioners passage or repeal of ordinances and to vote on the question if the Board refuses action, according to the following procedure:

1. The person proposing the exercise of this power shall submit the proposal, including proposed ballot language to the Clerk of the Circuit Court who shall without delay approve as to form a petition for circulation in one or several copies as the proposer may desire. A public hearing shall be held on the proposal at the next Board of County Commissioner meeting subsequent to the date the Clerk approves the petition as to form.

2. The person or persons circulating the petition shall, within [[60]] >>120<< days of the approval of the form of the petition, obtain the valid signatures of voters in the county in numbers at least equal to four percent of the registered voters in the county on the day on which the petition is approved, according to the official records of the County Supervisor of Elections. In determining the sufficiency of the petition, no more than 25 percent of the valid signatures required shall come from voters registered in any single county commission district. Each signer of a petition shall place thereon, after his name, the date, and his place of residence or precinct number. Each person circulating a copy of the petition shall attach to it a sworn affidavit stating the number of signers and the fact that each signature was made in the presence of the circulator of the petition.

3. The signed petition shall be filed with the Board which shall within 30 days order a canvass of the signatures thereon to determine the sufficiency of the signatures. If the number of signatures is insufficient or the petition is deficient as to form or compliance with this Section, the Board shall notify the person filing the petition that the petition is insufficient and has failed.

4. The Board may within 30 days after the date a sufficient petition is presented adopt the ordinance as submitted in an initiatory petition or repeal the ordinance referred to by a referendary petition. If the Board does not adopt or repeal the ordinance as provided above, then the proposal shall be placed on the ballot without further action of the Board.

5. If the proposal is submitted to the electors, the election shall be held either:

(a) In the next scheduled county-wide election, or

(b) If the petition contains the valid signatures in the county in numbers at least equal to eight percent of the registered voters in the county, the election shall take place on the first Tuesday after 120 days from certification of the petition. The result shall be [[determinedly]] >>determined by<< a majority vote of the electors voting on the proposal.

* * *

ARTICLE - 9

GENERAL PROVISIONS

* * *

SECTION 9.07. AMENDMENTS.

A. Amendments to this Charter may be proposed by a resolution adopted by the Board of County Commissioners or by petition of electors numbering not less than ten percent of the total number of electors registered in Dade County at the time the petition is submitted. An initiative petition to amend this Charter shall be submitted, together with proposed ballot language, to the Clerk of the Circuit Court, who shall without delay approve as to form a petition for circulation in one or several copies as the proposer may desire. Initiatory petitions shall be certified in the manner required for initiatory petitions for an ordinance.

B. Amendments to this Charter may be proposed by initiatory petitions of electors. The Board of County Commissioners shall call [[an]] >>a countywide<< election to be held >>in conjunction with the next scheduled general election after<< [[within 60-120 days of]] the date that a certified petition is presented to the County Commission. [[Such election shall be called in conjunction with a countywide election; however, if no countywide election is scheduled to occur within 60-120 days of presentation, a special election on the petition shall be called.]]

C. Amendments to this Charter may be proposed by the Board of County Commissioners at any time. Elections on the charter amendments proposed by the Board shall be held [[not less than 60 nor more than 120 days]] >>in conjunction with the next scheduled general election<< after the Board adopts a resolution proposing any amendment.

D. The result of all elections on charter amendments shall be determined by a majority of the electors voting on the proposed amendment.
1Words 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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