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Florida Supreme Court OKs fair districts amendment fiscal impact

The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday approved the fiscal impact statement that accompanies the 2010 ballot initiative about legislative district boundaries. But Chief Justice Peggy Quince dissented because she believes the statement is biased and not realistic. She said it "should not be used as a scare tactic to discourage the voter." (Download redistricting advisory opinion.)

The court previously rejected the first impact statements and Financial Impact Estimating Conference, a state commission, submitted a revised analysis. But the language remains vague. It reads: "The fiscal impact cannot be determined precisely. State government and state courts may incur additional costs if litigation increases ..."

FairDistrictsFlorida.org, the sponsor of the constitutional amendment, opposed the second half of the statement, suggesting it includes unverifiable speculation about future unknown costs. The state's high court is allowing it, citing a precedent, but left the door open to challenge such vague statements in the future.

Three justices concurred with the opinion, two concurred with the result only, one recused herself and the chief justice dissented.

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