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Federal Judge Blocks Ballot Initiative Contribution Limits

A woman looks over another woman's shoulder as she writes on a clipboard.
John Raoux
AP Photo
Voters approved Amendment 4 to the Florida Constitution following a campaign to get the measure placed on the ballot for a referendum. The amendment restored the right to vote to people with non-violent felony records.

A federal court ruling issued Thursday finds a new Florida law to limit donations to citizen-led ballot initiatives violates the First Amendment.

The new law would’ve set a $3,000 limit on individual contributions to campaigns working to get state constitutional amendments on the ballot for a referendum.

U.S. District Court Judge Allen Winsor’s ruling finds the law violates donors’ First Amendment rights of free speech and association. Winsor writes legal precedent has established political committee contributions to ballot initiatives are a form of expression.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida filed the suit soon Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the measure into law in May.

This is the second recently enacted state law a federal judge has temporarily blocked from taking effect this week. Late Wednesday, a U.S. District Court ordered an injunction against a new state law that would've fined social media platforms up to $250,000 per day for de-platforming political candidates.

Both laws would've taken effect Thursday.

Valerie Crowder hosts and produces state and local newscasts during All Things Considered. Her reporting on local government and politics has received state and regional award recognition. She has also contributed stories to NPR newscasts.