People For the American Way Foundation, along with a group of allies, today filed suit on behalf of six Florida voters to prevent two proposed state constitutional amendments from appearing on the November ballot. The proposed amendments would pave the way for sending public monies to religious and other private schools. Placed on the ballot by the Florida Taxation and Budget Reform Commission, the proposed ballot items are intended to overturn the Florida Supreme Court’s 2006 ruling that invalidated the state's voucher law. The lawsuit argues that measures exceed the Commission's limited authority to propose constitutional revisions dealing with “taxation or the state budgetary process,” and cannot lawfully be placed on the ballot.
“These proposed amendments are a full frontal attack on the separation of church and state,” said People For the American Way Foundation President Kathryn Kolbert. “The Florida Constitution protects religious liberty for all Floridians, and sets up a system of free and uniform public schools. The Taxation and Budget Reform Commission should not be allowed to impose an ideological agenda that is trying to harm Florida’s public schools.”
People For the American Way Foundation is serving as co-counsel in the case, along with the National Education Association, the Florida Education Association, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the Anti-Defamation League, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Florida Association of District School Superintendents, Bredhoff & Kaiser, P.L.L.C., and Meyer and Brooks, P.A.
The suit was filed today in Florida’s Second Judicial Circuit Court, and seeks to prevent the two proposed amendments from appearing on the ballot. You can read the complaint here.