Local business growth could get a boost from a county ballot referendum this November. If passed, the referendum would give the Polk County Commission the authority to extend tax breaks to new and existing businesses for new buildings and equipment, according to supporters. The initiative was placed on the ballot by the commission. County Commission Chairman Bob English represented Citizens for Polk Jobs, a political action committee, when he talked about the referendum during theSept. 1 County Commission meeting.

Backers of Amendment 4, the controversial statewide ballot initiative that would give voters more say over local development proposals, have borrowed the most iconic tool in subdivision construction as a prop for a new television campaign advertisement. The 30-second spot, called “Dozer” and paid for by the Florida Hometown Democracy group, shows a voter slipping behind the curtain of a booth at a development site just as a bulldozer flattens the booth and, apparently, the voter.

This story went up on our newswire earlier today, and I just thought I’d point it out on the blog here.

The Florida Supreme Court today threw out three proposed constitutional amendments placed on the November ballot by lawmakers. The court tossed an amendment that would have watered down two other amendments put on the ballot by citizens’ petition dealing with redistricting, another designed to give tax breaks to first-time home-buyers and a third passed by lawmakers opposed to federal health care reforms.

Read the story from The Palm Beach Post

Seminole County Public Schools is putting a half-cent sales tax on the November ballot. If approved by voters, it would generate about $260 million for school construction, renovation and technology upgrades over 10 years. The Seminole County Commission voted unanimously Aug. 10 to put the half-cent school capital outlay sales tax on the Nov. 2 ballot.

Read the story from the Orlando Business Journal

The Florida Supreme Court will consider this week whether to restore Proposition C, a ballot measure that would prohibit the government from requiring people to have health insurance or from penalizing them for not having it, a key provision of President Obama’s health care law. The state high court will begin hearing oral arguments Wednesday.

The Florida Supreme Court will take up cases challenging three redistricting amendments slated for the Nov. 2 ballot. The justices Monday halted trial court proceedings while they consider arguments to either dismiss a challenge to a pair of citizen initiatives or decide it themselves.

Read the story from The Miami Herald

The legal war over redrawing the state’s political boundaries heated up Thursday, with a Leon County judge striking down one constitutional vote on redistricting while another court weighed whether two others should remain on the ballot. The court battles marked the latest in the tussle over what guidelines, if any, should control legislative efforts - generally after the once-a-decade census - to craft new districts for themselves and for the state’s seats in Congress.

Pensacola, Florida now joins a list with Big Spring, Texas; Howard County, Maryland; and North Platte, Nebraska.

Miami Beach voters could cast ballots for Mary Jane come November should a budding effort to decriminalize marijuana possession in the city gain traction. In front of City Hall Wednesday evening, the Committee for Sensible Marijuana Policy announced a drive to gather signatures in support of a proposed amendment that would make “personal” possession of marijuana in Miami Beach a civil code violation punishable by a mere fine.

Read the story from the Miami Herald

Now that Flagler County commissioners have agreed to place an economic development tax referendum on the November ballot, proponents of the plan have their work cut out for them. “They have to come up with a much more concrete, more specific proposal to put before the voters,” said Palm Coast Mayor Jon Netts. “Right now you have a very amorphous proposal.” Netts, who supported the idea of placing the referendum on the ballot for voters to decide, said he has not formed an opinion on the issue.

The Republican-controlled Florida Legislature’s answer to a pair of citizen initiatives on redistricting is set for a vote in the House. A partisan roll call is likely Monday on the proposed state constitutional amendment (HJR 7231). If also approved by the Senate, the measure would go on the Nov. 2 ballot. There it would join the citizen initiatives, Amendments 5 and 6. One is for legislative and the other for congressional redistricting.

Republican lawmakers drove a proposed constitutional amendment through a House council Thursday, saying the measure is needed to expand on a pair of Democratic-backed redistricting proposals already set for the November ballot. But Democrats said the real intent of the late-developing measure is to confuse voters who polls show are expected to support the FairDistricts Florida amendments set to go before voters this fall. Amendments 4 and 5 ask voters to bar legislators from drawing legislative or congressional district lines that benefit political parties or incumbent lawmakers.

Expect debate over Amendment 4 to help heat up Florida’s already-hot summer. The amendment will be on the ballot on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 2. If approved by a 60-percent majority statewide, the constitutional amendment will allow Floridians to veto changes to their community-growth master plans that have been approved by local officials.

Read the story from the West Volusia Beacon

The way officials throughout Florida, often at developers’ behest, trample local growth plans is maddening. So, it’s no wonder Hometown Democracy, a grass-roots movement, got enough public support for a 2010 ballot to alter that landscape. It would require public votes on any changes to local growth plans. Something’s needed to get officials to honor growth-management plans. And Hometown Democracy appears an earnest, provocative and intriguing way of making them do so.