Prohibits Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling; Prohibits Vaping in Enclosed Indoor Workplaces

Analysis and Opinion

From the League of Women Voters

Editor’s Note: This is a 12-day series that looks at each amendment the League of Women Voters analyzed and made a recommendation. Today their analysis and recommendation are on Amendment 9.

Amendment 9 – Prohibits oil drilling beneath waters controlled by Florida; prohibits the use of e-cigarettes, also known as vaping, at indoor workplaces.

Support

Our concern for the environment overrides our concern about putting vaping in the Constitution. We also believe that if this amendment doesn’t pass, it sends a signal to the federal government that Florida does not care about off-shore drilling.

Full Summary: This question has two parts.

  1. The first part would prohibit oil and gas drilling off Florida’s coast (a CRC analysis of this proposal is here). Former Gov. Charlie Crist and several legislators tried but failed to place a similar question on the 2010 ballot after the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion and spill. The proposal on November’s ballot would fall under a section of the Constitution titled “Natural resources and scenic beauty.” If approved, this addition to the Constitution would prohibit drilling beneath “state waters,” which are defined as about nine miles off the western and southern coastlines and at least three miles off the eastern coastline. “State waters” also means bays, estuaries and other waters under Florida’s jurisdiction. The proposed prohibition applies to drilling for both exploration and extraction of oil and gas. Florida law has prohibited offshore oil and gas drilling since 1988, but a constitutional amendment would give the ban more permanence. The proposed amendment would not affect shipping oil and gas products on state waters. The amendment also does not apply to federally controlled waters that extend beyond state boundaries. This proposal comes against a backdrop of moves by the Trump administration to loosen restrictions on offshore drilling and seismic testing in federal waters off U.S. coasts. 
  2. The amendment’s second part addresses vaping, which is the act of inhaling and exhaling a nicotine-containing aerosol produced by various devices (a CRC analysis of this proposal is here). These so-called “e-cigarettes” were not on the market in 2002 when voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment that banned smoking tobacco in indoor workplaces. Vaping has since become an increasingly popular way for people to consume tobacco products without smoking. However, the long-term health consequences of vaping are not fully understood, and the vapor contains chemicals and compounds that bystanders might inhale. The vaping part of this amendment would add the term “vapor-generating electronic devices” to the current constitutional restrictions on enclosed indoor workplace smoking. As with the tobacco limits, this addition would exclude a private residence unless it’s being used for child care, adult care or health care. And as with tobacco smoking, the amendment would allow tobacco vaping in other situations, including in bars, at retailers where vaping products are sold, and in hotel rooms designated for vaping. The proposed amendment also specifies that local governments are free to pass more restrictive regulations of vapor-generating electronic devices. This part of the amendment instructs the lawmakers to pass vaping restrictions at their next session and to make that law effective on July 1, 2019.

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