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Florida Supreme Court to hear anti-dog racing ballot measure

August 7, 2018

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida’s Supreme Court will decide the fate of a dog-racing amendment that is supposed to be on this year’s ballot.

The court on Tuesday scheduled oral arguments to be heard on Aug. 29. The state’s 1st District Court of Appeal agreed to send the case to the Supreme Court instead of ruing on the matter.

On Aug. 1 Leon County circuit Judge Karen Gievers sided with the Florida Greyhound Association, who argued that the title of the amendment and the summary given to voters did not clearly explain what it does. The group represents greyhound owners and breeders.

Attorney General Pam Bondi, a big proponent of the proposal, immediately appealed the decision and sought an expedited review by the Supreme Court.

Gievers wrote in her opinion that the proposed Amendment 13 “is misleading and inaccurate and incomplete, while adding up to a ’hide the ball,” ‘fly a false flag’ and outright ‘trickeration.’”

For example, voters would not be told that the state’s existing dog tracks could eliminate dog racing and still be allowed to offer other types of gambling. Florida tracks could also still accept bets on dog races occurring in other states even though the first words of the amendment say it would “end dog racing.”

Lawyers for the state argued that voters would understand the intent.

The amendment was placed on the November ballot by the state’s Constitutional Revision Commission. The commission, a panel appointed every 20 years to suggest changes to Florida’s constitution, agreed this spring to take the issue directly to the voters after it has been debated by state legislators for many years.

If passed by 60 percent of voters, Amendment 13 would prohibit betting on live dog racing.

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