Supreme Court Asked To Block Dog Racing Measure

By on August 22, 2018 in News Service of Florida

Tallahassee, FL – Readying for a hearing next week, attorneys for the Florida Greyhound Association filed a 58-page brief Tuesday asking the state Supreme Court to scuttle a proposed constitutional amendment aimed at banning dog racing at pari-mutuel facilities.

The association, which includes owners, breeders and trainers, wants the Supreme Court to uphold a ruling by Leon County Circuit Judge Karen Gievers, who said the amendment should not go on the Nov. 6 ballot because it would be misleading to voters.

In Tuesday’s brief, the association raised a series of issues, including arguing that the ballot title and summary of what is known as Amendment 13 would not explain to voters the “chief purpose” of the measure.

The association contends that purpose, in part, is to “declare the humane treatment of animals a fundamental value” — a purpose that is reflected in the broader text of the amendment. Voters see the ballot title and summary when they go to the polls.

“The ballot title and summary for Amendment 13 are completely silent regarding its recognition of the humane treatment of animals as a fundamental value,” the brief said. It also argues that the proposed constitutional amendment is misleading because it would not end dog racing.

In part, the brief said Floridians could still bet on live dog racing broadcast from tracks outside of the state. The Florida Constitution Revision Commission this spring placed the greyhound-racing amendment on the ballot. Attorney General Pam Bondi’s office last week filed a 44-page brief urging the Supreme Court to allow the measure to go before voters.

“This (Supreme) Court has long maintained that the amendment process is ‘the most sanctified area in which a court can exercise power,’ and a proposed amendment should be submitted to the electorate unless its ballot language is ‘clearly and conclusively’ defective,” Bondi’s office said in the brief. “Because the ballot language at issue in this case fully informs the electorate of the proposed amendment’s chief purpose and is not misleading, Florida’s voters have a right to consider its merits and cast their vote.”

Justices are scheduled to hear arguments Aug. 29.

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