The Florida Civil Rights Initiative - FCRI - seeks to restore race-neutral, fair treatment for all citizens regardless of race, gender or ethnicity.  But equal rights in Florida will have to wait until 2002!

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Florida Civil Rights Initiative (FCRI)
Aims for 2002 Ballot!

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FCRI Index and Background:

Text of the Florida Initiative, below FOUR Florida Petitions?  Yes, sort of... See explanation, below Florida Initiative Contact Info, bottom NEWEST News Archives
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Major News Items & Milestones:
*** July 15, 2000: ***
Florida Supreme Court Rules Against FCRI
May 5, 2000:
Connerly Postpones FCRI Until 2002
Apr. 14, 2000:
U.S. Civil Rights Commission Attacks Color Blind Justice
Nov. 9, 1999:
Fla. Gov. Jeb Bush Ends Quotas?


Text of the Florida Civil Rights Initiative

          Below is the official text of the ballot initiative as registered with the State of Florida, and as reproduced on Florida's Division of Elections web site:


Reference: Article I, Section 26

Election Year: 2000

Summary:  "Amends Declaration of Rights, Article I of Florida Constitution, to bar government from treating people differently based on race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in public education, employment, or contracting, whether the program is called "preferential treatment," "affirmative action," or anything else. Does not bar programs that treat people equally without regard to race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin. Exempts bona fide qualifications based on sex and actions needed for federal funds eligibility."

          Florida Civil Rights Initiative
          P.O. Box 10875
          Tallahassee, FL 32302
          (850) 561-3600

Approval Date: 04/22/99

          43,536 Signatures required for review by Attorney General
          435,329 Signatures required to have this initiative on the ballot

Address of Sponsor:
          Florida Civil Rights Initiative
          P.O. Box 10875
          Tallahassee, FL 32302
          (850) 561-3600

Committee Type:  Political Committee (PAC)

          L. James Cherry
          227 N. Bronough St.
          Tallahassee, FL. 32302
          (850) 561-3600

          Allen Douglas
          304 N. Meridian St.
          Tallahassee, FL. 32302

[Link to Florida Division of Elections at: ]

Explanation / Philosophy:   The Florida Civil Rights Initiative (FCRI) will restore within Florida the original meaning and purpose of the United States Civil Rights Act.

          The U.S. Civil Rights Act has been perversely construed in many instances to permit preferential treatment for certain groups on the basis of race, sex and ethnicity.   But as a matter of simple logic, one cannot prefer on the basis of these criteria without discriminating against someone else.  Such preferences, therefore, violate the nation's and Congress' original understanding of civil rights.

          Senator Hubert Humphrey (D-Minn.), one of the principle supporters of the 1964 Act in Congress declared:  "The simple and complete truth about [the Act] is that it forbids discriminating against anyone on account of race."

          The Florida Civil Rights Initiative will put into law this fundamental civil rights principle with regard to public employment, public education, and public contracting in the state of Florida.

Four FCRI Petitions?  Sort of...

          FCRI is dedicated to the elimination of BOTH race and gender preferences. That remains FCRI's priority.

          Due to a unique feature of Florida State Law, as well as the Florida Judiciary’s unique record regarding approval of ballot initiatives, FCRI legal scholars have determined that the safest and surest route to a successful initiative is to distribute four closely related petitions each of which accommodates the unique legal environment in Florida.  Months of legal research and case law analysis has been conducted by FCRI in an attempt to "inoculate" the Initiative, to the maximum extent possible, from judicial nullification.

          Currently, a four-part, carbon form petition approved by the Secretary of State is being circulated in Florida so that one or more initiatives will be available to be placed on the Fall 2000 ballot. Under Florida law, as soon as at least 10% of the required signatures (10% of 435,000 = 43,500) are collected, the Florida Supreme Court will review the substance of the language of an initiative in order to grant or deny ballot access.

Version 1 of FCRI (please sign it!) -- This is known as the "omnibus" version -- it is virtually identical to the language of the successful initiatives in California and Washington State.  The "omnibus" version says that state and local governments "shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public contracting or public education." 

          In the event that the Florida judiciary disallows the above "omnibus" version, FCRI is also circulating the following three, somewhat more narrow petitions:

Version 2 of FCRI (please also sign it!) -- Same as above, except it seeks to prohibit race-based preferences in public employment;

Version 3 of FCRI (please also sign it!) -- Same as above, except it seeks to prohibit race-based preferences in public contracting;

Version 4 of FCRI (please also sign it!) -- Same as above, except it seeks to prohibit race-based preferences in public education.

Florida Law Regarding Ballot Initiatives:  The Florida Constitution limits revision or amendments to "embrace but one subject and matter directly connected therewith."  To ensure against legal objection, FCRI legal scholars felt that it was safest to construct the four, interrelated but separate voter petitions to directly address education, employment and contracting together as well as individually.  Ideally, the Florida State Supreme Court will allow the voters of Florida a chance to decide on all three areas of government operation pertaining to both race and gender preferences on one ballot. 

          In anticipation of possible legal restrictions (which are unique to Florida) on the number of issues that can be addressed in one petition, FCRI advocates have kept race and gender preferences together on one petition (on the "omnibus" version) but have also separated race and gender preferences on three other petitions which separately address public education, public contracting and public employment.  As mentioned above, pending permission by the Court, FCRI continues to work to gather enough signatures to eliminate BOTH race and gender preferences.  That remains FCRI's priority.

          The Florida Civil Rights Initiative (FCRI) is definitely committed to eliminating both race and gender preferences.  Those affirmative action programs such as broad-based outreach and recruitment which do not discriminate or grant preferential treatment based on race or gender will not be prohibited by the FCRI. 

          The pro-quota forces in Florida are attempting to frighten the voters into thinking that the FCRI will eliminate affirmative action programs for women and minorities.  This is absolutely false, and you can help your fellow citizens make an informed choice by explaining the true intent of the FCRI.

Why Do the Three "Mini" Initiatives Treat Only Race?   First and foremost, remember that FCRI is fighting very hard to get the "omnibus" version of the initiative (eliminating both race and sex-based preferences) approved by the Florida courts. 

          But, given Florida’s unique judicial climate regarding ballot initiatives, FCRI was forced to choose between racial preferences vs. gender preferences on three of the four ballot initiatives.  These three "mini initiatives" should be considered as the backup plan in the event the court disallows the "omnibus" version!  Given those limitations, race was chosen as the main issue on the three "mini initiatives" because no other social issue of our time needs to be more urgently addressed.  The U.S. did not fight a civil war over gender, but rather over states’ rights and race!  President Clinton did not call for a national dialogue on gender, and he did not set up a national "Initiative on Gender" as he did with regard to his "Initiative on Race."

          Also, most preferences in education are based on race.  Florida’s Tampa Tribune newspaper reported that an elementary school girl in Brandon (Hillsborough County) was denied admission to a local public school’s gifted program which employs dual standards and different test cut-offs for whites and Asian-Americans on one hand and blacks and Hispanics on the other hand.  A January 1999 study by the Tallahassee-based Lincoln Center for Public Service discovered whites and Hispanics are being admitted to Florida’s public graduate schools with higher grades and test scores than blacks.

          Florida’s race preferences in education are similar to other cases across the country in which women and young girls are being denied their individual rights because they are not the "right" race, not because of their gender.  In other states, for example, Janice Camerena Ingram was asked to leave a California community college class because the class was only for "underrepresented minorities."   Jennifer Gratz was denied admission to the University of Michigan which relies on race-based student-admission preferences.  Similarly, growing up poor and working through night school, Katuria Smith was rejected at the University of Washington Law School even though she had higher grades and scores than her "minority" counterparts.  Sarah McLaughlin’s father sued successfully to be admitted to the public Boston Latin School, and a federal appeals court ordered Boston Latin to abandon race-based admissions.  Therefore, treating people equally without regard to race remains a stubborn problem for government, and Florida state and local governments are no exception.

American Civil Rights Institute

          The American Civil Rights Institute is a national civil rights organization created to educate the public about racial and gender preferences.

          Based in Sacramento, California, ACRI's initial focus is on three areas: assisting organizations in other states with their efforts to educate the public about racial and gender preferences, assisting federal representatives with public education on the issue, and monitoring implementation and legal action on California's Proposition 209.

          Connerly currently serves as chair of the ACRI, is on the board of the California Chamber of Commerce and is chairman of the California Governor's Foundation.

Florida Civil Rights Initiative
P.O. Box 10875
Tallahassee, FL 32302


The American Civil Rights Institute
P.O. Box 188350
Sacramento CA 95818
(916) 444-2278
Fax (916) 444-2279

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*  We use the term reverse discrimination reluctantly and only because it is so widely understood.  In our opinion there really is only one kind of discrimination.