Miami-Dade Legislative Item
File Number: 112426
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File Number: 112426 File Type: Resolution Status: Failed
Version: 0 Reference: Control: Board of County Commissioners
File Name: STRAW BALLOT QUESTION EXPANSION OF GAMBLING Introduced: 11/17/2011
Requester: NONE Cost: Final Action: 12/6/2011
Agenda Date: 12/6/2011 Agenda Item Number: 11A18
Notes: Title: RESOLUTION PLACING A NON-BINDING STRAW BALLOT QUESTION ON THE EXISTING COUNTYWIDE ELECTION BALLOT IN MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, TO BE HELD ON TUESDAY, JANUARY 31, 2012, FOR THE PURPOSE OF SUBMITTING TO THE ELECTORS OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY ASKING THE ELECTORS WHETHER THEY SUPPORT THE PRESENCE OF DESTINATION RESORT CASINOS IN MIAMI-DADE COUNTY
Indexes: STRAW BALLOT
Sponsors: Joe A. Martinez, 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 12/6/2011 11A18 Adopted F
REPORT: Chairman Martinez noted the intent of this resolution was to place a non-binding (straw ballot) question on the January 31, 2012 county-wide election to gauge the public’s interest in Destination Resort Casinos in the community. Should commissioners choose not to approve this proposal because it would appear on the ballot during a Republican Presidential Primary, then he would recommend the remaining questions pertaining to the Home Rule Charter be removed from the ballot too. Chairman Martinez said he believed this proposal should appear on the ballot during the Presidential Primary because it would provide sufficient time for State Legislators to review the proposals, although he believed their action would be limited to establishing a Gaming Commission. He pointed out that Destination Resort Casinos would definitely impact the County and change its image forever. Commissioner Bell said she supported this proposal. She said she also supported Chairman Martinez’ proposal to place a straw ballot for the voters’ approval on the next County-wide election. However, she was concerned that members of the Board may be duplicating the Legislative sponsor’s intent which was to gauge the public’s interest. Commissioner Sosa noted she believed the public should have the final say on this issue; however, this Commission did not have enough information to provide to the public. She noted she was concerned that if the voters approved this proposal, the revenue/profits would go to the State rather than the local community. Commissioner Sosa pointed out that the public approved pari-mutuels only after they were well-informed of it. She said although she was not opposed to this proposed resolution, she would suggest that members of the Board seek public input after the State Legislature acts. She also suggested the straw ballot question appear on the August 2012 ballot to allow sufficient time to educate the public. Commissioner Moss noted he concurred with Commissioner Sosa, adding that the Board should wait until the public was well-informed and could vote on something concrete. He said this proposal was premature and he could not support it. Commissioner Jordan agreed with Commissioners Sosa and Moss. She said that usually, the constituency relied on members of the Board to educate them and guide their decision, but she did not have sufficient information to help her constituency make informed decisions. Commissioner Diaz commended Chairman Martinez for bringing this proposal forward. He said members of the Board clearly did not have sufficient information to make informed decisions on Destination Resort Casinos, and reminded his colleagues that the voters of this community voted favorably on gambling casinos on Miami Beach. He asked the County Attorney to apprise commissioners on the outcome of that election. Chairman Martinez noted the results of that election, which was held in 2004, was 62 percent in favor of casino gambling. Commissioner Diaz explained that although he supported the intent of this resolution, he would prefer that the straw ballot question appear on the ballot during the general election. Assistant County Attorney Oren Rosenthal responded to Commissioner Diaz’ previous question regarding the outcome of the vote on gambling casinos in Miami Beach and clarified that a ballot question appeared on the January 29, 2008 Presidential Preference Election, specifically ballot question No. 3, entitled “Slot machines limited to existing horse and dog tracks and jai alai frontons”, which read as follows: “Shall slot machine gaming be permissible at existing horse and dog tracks and jai alai frontons in Miami-Dade County as authorized by and subject to the restrictions of State law and subject to the State taxes on all slot machine revenues that must be used to supplement public education funding statewide?” He noted the vote was 63.04 percent in favor and 36.96 percent in opposition. Mr. Rosenthal responded to Commissioner Martinez’ question regarding whether that election was a primary or special election by noting it was a Presidential Preference Election which included participation by the Democratic and Republican Parties. Commissioner Heyman said she recalled that the election included participants from all parties, and that the Florida Legislature tried to enact legislation providing for “racinos” because casinos were prohibited at pari-mutuel venues pursuant to the Florida Constitution. She said she believed this resolution was premature, and would not support it until “Destination Resort Casinos” were defined. She suggested members of the Board should not publicize their position on casinos before the State Legislature began their session in January and engaged in some dialogue on this issue. She noted the County still had time to get public input. Commissioner Monestime noted this discussion was interesting because the Board previously approved a proposal to place Home Rule Charter questions on the January 31st ballot because they believed voter turnout would be better, even though he suggested they wait until the General Election in August for a greater turnout. Now he was hearing concerns that only Republicans would participate in the January 31st Presidential Preference Election, and it was his preference that this straw ballot question not appear on the January 31st ballot. Commissioner Bovo noted all registered voters were obligated to vote at any election, and based on historical voting records, he believed the electors would vote favorably for Destination Resort Casinos if the question was broad enough. He said he could not support this proposed resolution because it was premature and members of the Board did not have sufficient information to make an informed decision. More importantly, by acting prematurely, this Commission could hamper the Dade Delegation’s ability to negotiate in Tallahassee. He spoke with the State representative who sponsored this legislation and who assured him that the State Legislators would place this question on the statewide ballot. Chairman Martinez noted he shared Commissioner Bovo’s concerns somewhat and if members of the Board did not approve this proposed resolution, he was pleased that this discussion occurred because it reassured him that State Representative Erik Fresen as the sponsor of this legislation would move forth with placing appropriate language on the ballot Statewide. Chairman Martinez noted some commissioners suggested that the term, Destination Resort Casinos had not been defined, which was inaccurate. He noted Malaysia, Singapore, and other countries had Destination Resort Casinos that could be used as models. Mayor Gimenez indicated that he had no problems with placing a straw ballot question on the January 31st ballot to allow the electors to vote in favor or in opposition to it; however, he would not support a final referendum that did not provide a clear definition for Destination Resort Casinos and include a detailed process. In response to Chairman Martinez’ question regarding the cost to add a straw ballot question to the January 31st Presidential Preference Election ballot, the Mayor noted the cost was minimal, about $5,000. Chairman Martinez said he suspected that every commissioner, when running for office, had conducted a survey or poll to determine whether the voters favored certain issues. He noted this was a similar process to determine the public’s interest using a simple, non-binding straw ballot question for a push-pull vote, and he believed it would increase the turnout because the casinos promoters would not need to spend as much money. Hearing no further discussion, members of the Board proceeded to vote on this proposed resolution as presented.

Board of County Commissioners 11/23/2011 14A7 4 Day Rule Invoked
REPORT: During consideration of changes to today's (11/23) agenda, Commissioner Jordan invoked the 4-Day-Rule on the foregoing proposed resolution.

County Attorney 11/17/2011 Referred

County Attorney 11/17/2011 Assigned Oren Rosenthal

Legislative Text


TITLE
RESOLUTION PLACING A NON-BINDING STRAW BALLOT QUESTION ON THE EXISTING COUNTYWIDE ELECTION BALLOT IN MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, TO BE HELD ON TUESDAY, JANUARY 31, 2012, FOR THE PURPOSE OF SUBMITTING TO THE ELECTORS OF MIAMIDADE COUNTY ASKING THE ELECTORS WHETHER THEY SUPPORT THE PRESENCE OF DESTINATION RESORT CASINOS IN MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

BODY
BE IT RESOLVED BY THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, that:
Section 1. A non-binding straw ballot question shall be placed on the Tuesday, January 31, 2012 countywide election for the purpose of submitting to the qualified electors of Miami-Dade County the non-binding straw ballot question as set forth below.
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:
NON-BINDING STRAW BALLOT QUESTION ON THE EXPANSION OF GAMBLING IN MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

Do you support the presence of destination resort casinos in Miami-Dade County?

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 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.



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