Greyhound racing ban heads to voters – Florida Politics (blog)
Florida voters will decide whether to outlaw greyhound racing under a proposed constitutional amendment approved Monday.
It will go directly to November’s statewide ballot, where it needs at least 60 percent approval to be added to the constitution.
Commissioner Tom Lee, the amendment’s sponsor, tweeted: “My proposal to end dog racing just passed the @FloridaCRC! The amendment will now appear on the November ballot and voters will decide whether our state ends this archaic tradition.”
The measure goes into effect Dec. 31, 2020, if passed, and bans dog racing itself and betting on dog races. It doesn’t, however, affect any other gambling now going on at dog tracks, such as card games.
Lee, a Republican state Senator from Thonotosassa and possible candidate for state CFO this year, left the fiery rhetoric to Attorney General Pam Bondi, an ex officio member of the CRC.
Bondi, a Tampa Republican, regularly brings shelter dogs to state Cabinet meetings to get them adopted.
“This is a black eye on our state,” Bondi said in an often emotional speech on the floor of the Senate, where the commission meets.
She recited a litany of alleged incidents of abused racing dogs, showing photos. Bondi said 419 greyhounds have tested positive for illegal drugs, including cocaine, over the last decade.
“The entire country is watching us,” she said. Dog racing “is cruel and inhumane (and) horrible … This is not who we are as a state.”
Commissioner Chris Smith, a former Senate Democratic leader, asked whether banning racing would be an unconstitutional ‘taking’ of private property.
Former Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp and former appellate judge Paul Hawkes, who represent the Florida