Oct. 15–Amendment 9 may be the most bizarre bundle on the ballot, and once again, it’s before voters courtesy of the Constitution Revision Commission. It would ban two things: so-called “vaping” in indoor workplaces, and gas and oil drilling off Florida’s coast.
Voting yes probably wouldn’t do much harm. But on principle, we’re recommending “no” on all amendments that force voters to approve totally unrelated issues — especially when it’s possible that they like one, but don’t like the other.
Beyond that, this one combines two issues that are best handled outside the relatively inflexible framework of the state constitution. Florida’s opposition to oil and gas exploration makes sense now: It poses a clear threat to the beauty of beaches and the tourism that depends on them. But Florida’s leaders are doing just fine standing their ground on this issue. And innovation might one day make any fossil-fuel reserves easily accessible, with little danger of a spill.
The vaping provision — which would extend the ban on tobacco use in workplaces to e-cigarettes and the like — should be in the Legislature’s purview. (And one News-Journal reader pointed out a potential wrinkle: The way the amendment is worded, it might be applicable to other devices that produce vapor — such as cappuccino machines, hospital nebulizers and other essential, non-offensive equipment. If he’s right, that’s a consequence that nobody intended.)
Neither issue belongs in the Constitution. We recommend a “no” vote.
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