BRIEFS

Ballot initiatives will now need 766,000 signatures
It will take more signature-gathering – and money – to get proposed constitutional amendments on the 2018 ballot.

The state will require backers of ballot initiatives to submit 766,200 valid signatures to put measures before voters next year, up from the 683,149 needed for 2016 initiatives, according to information posted on the state Division of Elections website.

Under the Florida Constitution, the required total is updated after each presidential election year and is based on 8 percent of the overall number of votes cast.

Groups that have successfully placed measures on the ballot in the past often have raised large amounts of money to hire petition gatherers.

House to consider ridesharing bill
A controversial proposal that would set statewide regulations for ridesharing companies such as Uber and Lyft is ready to go to the full House after the legislative session starts March 7.

On Tuesday, the House Government Accountability Committee, in a 21-1 vote, supported the measure (HB 221), which would create statewide rules for “transportation network companies” and set insurance and background-check requirements for drivers.

It has drawn opposition from the Florida League of Cities and taxicab companies that typically face local regulations. The Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee previously voted 14-1 to support the measure.

Rep. Barbara Watson, D-Miami Gardens, voted against it in both committees, expressing a need for parity between app-based services and taxi companies.

A Senate proposal has not been heard in committees.

–The News Service of Florida

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