“On 2nd try, Miami-Dade commissioners approve petition count”

Miami Herald:

Miami-Dade commissioners agreed Monday to start counting nearly 130,000 signatures tied to a proposed ballot item on new campaign-finance rules, but warned they still might kill the proposal over stern concerns raised by county lawyers.

The 9 to 0 vote came during the second emergency meeting this month called to consider the ballot measure backed by unions, local Democrats and others. The proposed rules would impose a broad package of restrictions against campaign and committee donations by county vendors and lobbyists — prime sources of financial support for county officeholders.

“I’m prepared to vote yes, but with a very, very large ‘but,’ ” said Commissioner Sally Heyman, a lawyer who cited what she said were legal shortcomings in the proposed item….

Monday’s session also opened a new line of attack against the proposal, with county lawyers warning the submitted ballot language contains significant legal flaws, including the presumption that the current finance system conveys “an appearance of ethical impropriety” in county government.

“This question is misleading,” said Oren Rosenthal, an assistant county attorney who specializes in election law. “The ballot is no place for political rhetoric and subjective evaluations. The ballot question potentially runs afoul of this restriction.”

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