ron desantis hb-5 bloomberg
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (AP Photo/Joel Auerbach)
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Michael Bloomberg is worth an estimated $56 billion. He’s used a relatively small part of that stack of cash (tens of millions of dollars) to push gun control efforts in a variety of states around the country. Besides funding the campaigns of selected anti-gun (“gunsense”) politicians, he’s also funded efforts to get gun control initiative questions on ballots in Colorado, Washington and other states.

michael bloomberg angry johns hopkins
(AP Photo/Henny Ray Abrams)

Florida, however, has now taken steps to keep out-of-state financiers from bussing in paid signature collectors to further their own pet political goals. Earlier this week, Governor Ron DeSantis signed HB-5 into law.

From Orlando Weekly:

The bill places new restrictions on the petition-gathering process, which plays a critical role in getting initiatives on the ballot. For the November 2020 election, as an example, supporters of amendments need to submit 766,200 valid petition signatures to reach the ballot.

Among other things, the bill makes it illegal to pay petition gatherers based on the number of petitions they collect, a change that is expected to drive up costs for amendments backers. Also, the bill requires submission of information about petition gatherers, including their permanent and temporary addresses and dates of birth. In addition, it requires petitions to be turned into county supervisors of elections no more than 30 days after being signed by voters and includes penalties of up to $50 for each late submission.

The prohibition on paid petition-gatherers takes effect immediately, while other petition-related changes in the bill will take effect in 30 days, according to a House analysis. The changes apply to amendments proposed for the 2020 ballot, though they do not affect signatures already gathered.

Supporters of the bill have said it is needed to combat fraud and efforts by out-of-state interests to use the initiative process to change the Florida Constitution.

The NRA’s Marion Hammer sent the following letter out to Unified Sportsmen of Florida and NRA members:

HB-5 – Contains an amendment by Rep. James Grant (R) to restore the right of Floridians to control the Florida citizen ballot initiative petition process.

The amendment is intended to stop out-of-state billionaires from crafting amendments to Florida’s Constitution, then sending paid, out-of-state petition gatherers into Florida to collect petition signatures to change the Constitution for the benefit of out-of-state special interests.

The House voted 105-0 to pass the Grant amendment with 15 House members not voting. The Senate concurred in the Grant amendment and passed the bill 22-17.  On June 7, 2019, Governor DeSantis signed the bill into law. 

Bill Cotterell, a reporter with the Tallahassee Democrat, framed it well in his article on June 8, 2019 when he said:

“When it takes effect, the bill will soon require people gathering petitions to register with the state and live in Florida, effectively eliminating a sort of cottage industry that specializes in crafting constitutional amendments and guiding them through the referendum process. It also forbids paying canvassers by how many voter signatures they gather.”

The new process takes effect in 30 days.

These changes are critically important to gun owners, as anti-gunners repeatedly try to subvert the Constitution and Second Amendment rights by imposing gun bans and gun control through the ballot petition process.

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  1. “Florida, however, has now taken steps to keep out-of-state financiers from bussing in paid signature collectors to further their own pet political goals.”

    They will still try and do it, but just be more sneaky about it.

    I have a much bigger problem with my civil rights being mangled with a deceptively-worded ‘ballot initiative’…

    • Your civil rights are being mangled by essentially what the founding fathers abhorred and labeled as the “tyranny of the majority” …pure democracy.

      The idea that 50% plus one voter could have complete control over the remaining minority was contemptible to them.

      It is the reason we are a Republic and have a Bill of Rights, to protect the minority’s naturally given rights, from the idle and ever changing whims of a tyrannical majority.

      • “Your civil rights are being mangled by essentially what the founding fathers abhorred and labeled as the “tyranny of the majority” …pure democracy.

        The idea that 50% plus one voter could have complete control over the remaining minority was contemptible to them.”

        And now everyone knows why the U.S. is the most corrupt country on earth. It has been ruled from day one by the Swamp Rat Founding Fathers who set up a country ruled by the filthy greedy corrupt rich and for the filthy greedy corrupt rich. Its too bad the back stabbing incompetent George Washington was not caught, hug by his dirty balls and then dipped in tar and hung in chains and left to swing in the wind permanently. The Revolutionary War was about blind greed and money and to ensure the enslavement of the working man as a permanent troglodyte worker slave taxed to death while the filthy rich who pay no taxes laugh all the way to the bank and the everlasting result was the people being deprived of any democracy let alone pure democracy which has been the dream of all nations since the Greeks showed the world what a nation can attain in a civilized society which has always been an enigma in the U.S.

        • Are you really so demented? I guess so.

          At risk of being obvious and repetitive, pure democracy, otherwise known as the rule of the mob, is a nightmare rather than a dream. It’s two wolf and a lamb voting on what’s for dinner.

          There is nothing wrong with greed. As long as it uses voluntary market intercourse. It was greed that gave us all the riches and technological advances we enjoy today. Problems start when the government interferes with the free market. It steals wealth from the ones who invent, take risks by investing and generally make things happen. Then it throws little crumbs of it to the phlegmatic masses, while keeping large part of the wealth for itself.
          Pure hearted idealism gave us mountains of corpses in the name of better society. I will take greed any day.

  2. Marion Hammer makes over a half million dollars annually, through various avenues related to her work for the NRA. She forgot to mention the billionaire GOP interests currently promoting gun control in her state, which she has largely endorsed or ignored.

    Florida needs to be eliminating the initiative process altogether; there is nothing more fundamentally un-American or un-wise as that progressive-era travesty inflicted on so many states. It has made California completely ungovernable.

    • Only $270k according to the article about her not bothering to file her lobbying income statement with FL. Still too much IMHO for a member of the BoD to take.

      • neiowa you are right about Hammer doing more. She supports red flag laws and the bump stock ban. Just the kind of people we need on the gun rights side.

  3. How about just making it illegal for out of state folk to screw around with local and state politics by “ballot initiatives” in the first place? Local and state politics belong exactly that, local and state.

  4. The citizen initiative process is a very good idea that has been severely abused, even hijacked, by wealthy interest groups and individuals both liberal and conservative. As with most abuses in politics and legislating, taking the money out of it is the best disinfectant we could hope for.

    • “The citizen initiative process is a very good idea…”

      Not when it is used to circumvent civil rights…

    • It’s a terrible idea. Having a constitution changed by means of referendum is an absolute slap in the face to the idea of a republic. Not to mention, humans are by nature more inclined to vote “yes” on any referendum.

  5. This clown needs to be stopped. He is more un-American than those accusations against Donald Trump.

  6. Always said most of the bad things in Florida come from outside our borders. Damn Yankees to Mariel Boatlift. We’re the ones that need a border wall and vetting. Referendums are stupid and I believe unconstitutional. We had one on the last ballot about dog racing. Dog racing! A constitutional amendment! Never been to a dog race, but it doesn’t belong in the constitution. Referendums are just a way to circumvent the legislature. Which ain’t always a bad thing, but…

    • If you ever get the time you should go to a dog race. I find it quite exciting, and man when them hounds git it on there fast. Your like “Holy sht Cheetah my ass”. Now if the Constitution had a clause were you could shoot the dog you bet on annd lost, , , , , , well that might not work, there’d be a lot of dead dogs, look like Cops night at Sally’s Home For Wayward Dogs ;>}

  7. With all of Bloombergs money he’s got to infringe on the Constitution of the country that made it possible to acquire all that money. I think he’s one of the Aliens that changed humans main diet from nuts and berries to meat.

  8. “New Florida Law Will Stop Bloomberg-Financed Gun Control Petition Drives”

    Suck on that bloomberg…buying influence doesn’t make you smart or right, it makes you a bully…

  9. If only it would “stop” them. It will only make it more expensive and complicated. As noted, Bloomy has unlimited funds, a pittance of which go to his gun control schemes. He’ll just have to pony up a (relatively, in terms of his overall bankroll) just a bit more. Regardless, I’m not going to hold the lost initiative party until the actual deadlines have passed without it being placed on the ballot.


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