In a republican form of government, the elected legislators pass laws, members of the executive branch see that those laws are faithfully executed and the judiciary settles disputes over the interpretation and enforcement of those laws. This system of checks and balances has worked fairly well. So we tend to be a bit wary when one branch of government wants to hand off some of its power. We have such concerns about a proposed amendment to the Florida Constitution before the Legislature. Under the amendment, any expansion of gambling in Florida would have to be approved by voters. If the Legislature decides to put the amendment on the ballot in November, it would have to garner 60-percent voter support for the gambling expansion referendum requirement to be written into the constitution. Republican state Rep. Matt Gaetz, who is the amendment bill’s manager in the House, says gambling is such an important issue, expansion is a question voters should decide. Gambling is a matter on which few are neutral. Opponents say it can lead to financial ruin and destroy families. Many people, however, believe the choice to gamble is a personal matter that government shouldn’t try to regulate.
Regardless, we have traditionally opposed using the constitutional amendment process to address questions that are best left to lawmakers, such as how many students should be in a school classroom, whether the state should have a high-speed rail network and the most-humane cage size for pregnant pigs. So we would prefer to leave gambling expansion out of the constitution. We don’t see how requiring a gambling expansion referendum would improve the lawmaking process.