The Florida Supreme Court ruled 6-1 on Friday that a constitutional amendment banning wagered greyhound racing in the state will be on the November ballot. The ruling overturns a Tallahassee circuit judge, who ruled the amendment was based on “trickeration.”
The state’s high court dismissed the accusation that the ballot summary did not accurately depict the purpose of the amendment.
The Supreme Court opinion stated, “The ballot language accurately describes the scope of Amendment 13 as being limited to racing of dogs in connection with wagering. Therefore, we conclude the circuit court’s determination to the contrary was error.”
The greyhound industry argued that the ballot language was deceiving because it would ban live wagered racing in Florida but not ban out-of-state simulcast wagering shown at state pari-mutuel facilities.
The Florida Greyhound Association, representing owners, breeders and trainers, was surprised by the ruling, thinking Circuit Judge Karen Givers ruling was based on solid legal ground.
“In Judge Givers ruling she quoted (Supreme Court Chief) Justice Canady in Mangat ‘ordinarily the text of a proposed amendment will necessarily contain the most direct and accurate expression of the substance and effect of the amendment.’ We are sorry that the Majority of the Court did not follow this opinion,” said Jack Cory from the Florida Greyhound Association. “We are disappointed in the decision today. It is now on to the next race, no on all in November.”
The Yes on 13 group supporting the constitutional ban reacted on social media.
RIP Trickeration. The greyhound breeders used you for a month to defend their cruelty, but alas you are no more.
— Protect Dogs – Yes on 13 (@VoteYesOn13) September 7, 2018
The pro-Amendment 13 group is backed by Grey2K and the United States Humane Society and holds a sizable financial advantage over the greyhound racing industry. Voters would have to approve the amendment by a 60 percent margin to place it in Florida’s Constitution.