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Thursday, February 17, 2011

The most important bill being offered

Currently there is no mechanism to recall elcted officils. -cpg


by Dalia Dangerfield

ST. PETERSBURG -- A local lawmaker wants voters to have the option to recall their state leaders.

State Representative Rick Kriseman (D-St. Petersburg) filed House Joint Resolution 785 in Tallahassee Wednesday.

"Currently there is no mechanism in place for members of the Legislature or the Governor or the Cabinet to be recalled by the citizens of the state," Representative Kriseman said.

If the legislation is approved, voters would have four months to circulate a recall petition throughout Florida.

For statewide public officials, signatures would have to be collected in all 67 counties. If the signatures equal 15 percent of the total votes cast in the last election, then a recall election can be held. Public officials include the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, and a member of the Cabinet.

Under the legislation, a petition can also be used to recall a state legislator. However, that petition would need signatures from the district the lawmaker represents. To have a recall election for that legislator, the signatures must equal 20 percent of the total votes cast in the last election for that office. Only voters from the district would be able to vote in that recall election.

The bill was filed on the same day Florida Governor Rick Scott angered many Democrats by refusing to take federal dollars for high speed rail. However, the St. Petersburg Democrat insists it's purely a coincidence.

"This bill is not aimed at Governor Scott," Kriseman said. "It's not aimed at any specific legislator. It's to give power to the people."

Kriseman said at least 18 other states have similar laws.

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