Goes together like oil and vaping? Unusual Florida ballot measure links offshore drilling and e-cigarettes

October 9, 2018

Florida voters will be asked next month to decide on a curious combination of questions: Should the state ban offshore oil and gas drilling, and also end e-cigarette use in the workplace?

Both questions will appear on a single ballot measure next month proposing a state constitutional amendment.

These two seemingly unrelated issues – oil exploration and vaping – have stirred up equal parts anger and confusion among voters ever since the state’s Constitution Revision Commission earlier this year approved the measure for the ballot.

“Bundling these issues is mixing apples and oranges, and this decision, made without any public debate, could harm jobs, the state economy, tax revenues, and our long-term energy future,” Florida Petroleum Council Executive Director David Mica said in a statement at the time.

The combination of the two proposed bans into one ballot measure has come with little explanation from Florida’s CRC beyond Brecht Heuchan, chairman of the commission’s Style and Drafting Committee, telling local media that the sponsors of the different proposals worked together under the slogan of “clean air, clean water.” The proposed amendment advanced with little discussion in April.

Mica's group contends that the combination question "doesn't make sense," while warning that oil and gas development is critical for...

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