'Right to Pray' initiative proposed

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A proposed Florida constitutional amendment would limit the authority of government to close churches or restrict the sizes of gatherings, after controversies emerged across the country during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The proposed amendment, sponsored by an Orlando-based political committee known as Florida Right to Pray Together, was posted this month on the state Division of Elections website. The committee would need to submit 891,589 valid petition signatures by Feb. 1 to get on the November 2022 ballot.

The proposal would limit the ability of the governor or other parts of government to close or restrict the sizes of gatherings at religious institutions without legislative approval.

“The freedom of religion is a fundamental right enshrined in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution and in the Constitution of the state of Florida,” the proposal says.

“Any executive order by the governor or any other designated governmental authority in the state of Florida cannot close, or limit in size, gatherings of any houses of worship or individually organized gatherings of prayer for more than 21 calendar days within a governor’s term, without specific approval of a majority of both houses of the Legislature.”

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