SARASOTA- After several successful laws passed by citizen petitions and placed on the ballot, including legalizing medical marijuana in the state and restoring the voting rights of former felons; the state legislature has passed a bill that will make it harder to get those constitutional amendments on the ballot.

The bill makes it illegal to pay petitioners based on the number of signatures they collect and requires more personal information on the petition gatherers. President of the ACLU of Florida Michael Barfield says this limits public participation in democracy.

 “This is nothing short of an effort to prevent citizens from amending the constitution as they wish,” Barfield said. “It takes power away from the citizens, and we believe it’s vulnerable to attack and we’ll look at challenging this legislation that prevents people from exercising their rights.”

The new law will be in effect for petitions on the 2020 ballot.