ACLU of Florida files lawsuit to block new campaign financing law

Updated: May. 8, 2021 at 1:31 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida filed a lawsuit in an effort to block the state’s Senate Bill 1890, the organization announced in a Saturday press release.

Governor Ron DeSantis signed the bill into law Friday. This new law would impose a $3,000 limit on contributions made by individuals to sponsors of state ballot initiatives.

“SB1890 would make it much harder for Florida citizens to unite and propose changes to the state constitution,” the ACLU of Florida wrote. “By limiting the donations individuals can make to state ballot initiatives, SB1890 unconstitutionally burdens and chills Florida citizens’ free speech and association, as protected by the First Amendment.”

“Over the last several years, the Florida Legislature has passed dozens of bills to undermine the citizen initiative process,” said Nicholas Warren, staff attorney at the ACLU of Florida in the press release. “Florida citizens’ right to participate directly in our democracy is protected by the Constitution, and yet, the Legislature and governor have made it their mission to make it even more difficult for Floridians to enact change. This latest attempt is a clear and obvious violation of Floridians’ free speech rights.”

The “extraordinary cost of collecting petition signatures needed to qualify for the ballot, and defending an amendment at the Florida Supreme Court, the new law” would “nullify Floridians’ direct democracy rights,” according to the ACLU of Florida.

“Senate Bill 1890 also violates longstanding First Amendment case law. Decades ago, Florida had a contribution cap for all political committees, and the U.S. Court of Appeals and Supreme Court struck down that limit as violating the First Amendment, which protects our freedom to express views on political matters, including to advance ballot measures,” the press release added

The lawsuit, ACLU of Florida v. Lee, was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida.

You can read the complaint below, or by clicking here:

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