Petition for Mandamus In Challenging Proposed Amendment to Constitution Concerning Homestead Exemptions for Placement on the Ballot
In Florida League of Cities v. Smith, 607 So. 2d 397 (Fla. 1992), the Court had previously approved a citizen-initiative proposal that governed homestead exemptions for placement on the ballot. See 607 So. 2d at 398.
Shortly before the date of the election, two entities that had not participated in the earlier advisory opinion proceeding filed a petition for writ of mandamus with this Court contending that, if adopted, the proposed amendment would trigger a repeal of a portion of the Florida Constitution that governed the homestead exemption. See id.
A party asserted that the repeal of this provision would have extreme and significant consequences for Florida taxpayers and local governments which the proposed ballot summary did not mention and sought to remove this proposed amendment from the ballot. See id.
The Supreme Court of Floridafirst addressed whether the earlier advisory opinion would operate as a procedural bar to this Court considering the subsequent challenge. See id. ("Initially, we must address the question of whether our earlier advisory opinion precludes us from considering the present cause."
In determining this issue, this Court relied upon legislative staff summaries and wrote the language that the circuit court relied upon below:
When those provisions were under consideration before the 1986 Legislature, the accompanying legislative staff summaries stated a belief that any advisory opinion regarding initiative petitions would not be binding precedent and would only constitute persuasive authority as to any other adversarial legal challenge that might later be raised. Staff of Fla. H.R. Comm. on Judiciary, CS/HJR 71 (1986), Staff Analysis 2 (March 6, 1986) (available from Fla. Div. of Archives); Staff of Fla. H.R. Comm. on Judiciary, PCS/HJR 71 (1986), Staff Analysis 2 (Feb. 18, 1986) (available from Fla. Div. of Archives).
This necessarily implies that other legal challenges would continue to be permissible under existing precedent. Id. at 398-99.
This Court ultimately concluded that "our precedent clearly holds that a petition for mandamus is an appropriate method for challenging an allegedly defective proposed amendment to the Constitution." Id. at 399.