Proposal to infuse religion with state tax dollars advances

Source: TALLAHASSEE DEMOCRAT*

, Democrat Capitol Reporter

A state constitution review panel Wednesday approved a proposal that could overturn the state’s high court on private school vouchers. The Constitution Revision Commission Declaration of Rights Committee with a 5 -1 vote advanced a proposal to allow voters to repeal Florida’s Blaine Amendment – a prohibition of tax dollars to aid religion.

Florida’s “no aid provision,” inserted in the 1885 and 1968 constitutions – and those of 37 other states — arose from what scholars say were late 19th-century fears that immigrant-supported Catholic schools would undermine the public school system.

It prohibits tax money “directly or indirectly in aid of any church, sect or religious denomination.”

“I’m not here on some sort of religious agenda. I just think the Blaine Amendment is wrong,” said Roberto Martinez, appointed to the CRC by Supreme Court Chief Justice Jorge Labarga.  “It is just unconstitutional based on the standards set forth in the U.S. Constitution and is unnecessary.”

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