Florida Proposed Amendments Update

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Thinking about voting by mail? The deadline to request a ballot is 5pm 10/31/18, yes Halloween. SCARY.

There are links to the local Supervisor of Elections’ offices at the bottom of this post.

Does it matter if an amendment even passes? (more on that later) Amendments need 60% or more voter approval to pass. Overseas ballots started going out on 9/22 (45 days before election). The deadline to register to vote has passed (October 9), but voters can still check with their local Supervisor of Elections to make sure all of their information is correct, and that they are on the voting rolls.

Florida elections timeline 

Florida’s statewide amendments 2018 – read the official language here.

Amendment  1:  Increased Homesteaded Property Tax Exemption*
Amendment  2:  Limitations on Property Tax Assessments*
Amendment  3:  Voter Control of Gambling in Florida**
Amendment  4:  Voting Restoration Amendment**
Amendment  5:  Supermajority Vote Required to Impose, Authorize, or Raise State Taxes or Fees***
Amendment  6:  Rights of Crime Victims; Judges
Amendment  7:  First Responder and Military Member Survivor Benefits; Public Colleges and Universities
Amendment  8:  School Board Term Limits and Duties; Public Schools
Amendment  9:  Prohibits Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling; Prohibits Vaping in Enclosed Indoor Workplaces
Amendment 10:  State and Local Government Structure and Operation
Amendment 11:  Property Rights; Removal of Obsolete Provision; Criminal Statutes
Amendment 12:  Lobbying and Abuse of Office by Public Officers
Amendment 13:  Ends Dog Racing

*Legislature proposed ballot items
**Citizen initiative ballot items
*** 
Gov. Rick Scott proposed this one and the Legislature said sure!

The rest of the proposed amendments are from the Constitutional Revision Commission. The CRC is the only entity allowed to bundle related  ballot items. Challenges to the CRC proposed amendments stated that they stretched the parameters too far. 

What is definitely off the ballot?

Amendment 8 aka the he who shall not be named Amendment: stricken down by a lower court, and the Fl Supreme Court for misleading language. While the amendment was intended to allow the state to bypass local school districts and create charter schools on its own, not including the phrase ‘charter schools’ in the amendment was deemed misleading.

What is on for now but still contested?

Amendments 6, 7, 9, 11, & 13 were taken off the ballot by Judge Karen Gievers of Leon County. She stated that the proposed amendments did not follow the clear guidelines of being on a single topic. The State of Florida appealed, and Amendments 6 and 13 were returned to the ballot by the Florida Supreme Court. The State is still appealing 7, 9, & 11, but they appear on the ballot. The State was also sued to get proposed Amendment 10 removed from the ballot, but the Florida Supreme Court kept the it on the ballot.

What are people saying about these amendments? 

WMNF fully supports a YES vote for #4, restoring voting rights.

The Tampa Bay Times has a summary of what the amendments are about. The website ReadytoVote.org lists some of the pros and cons of each amendment. The League of Women Voters weighs in here, and the Sierra Club weighs in here. The Florida Chamber of Commerce weighs in here.  And the American Civil Liberties Union, which makes people of all political leanings mad occasionally, weighs in here. 

What has been approved by voters but not done by the state?

Amendment 1 (2014) – the Water and Land Conservation passed with 75% of the vote. State agencies have been using the money intended to buy land to protect Florida’s environment to buy equipment, pay salaries, and everything but land. Environmental groups sued. The state appealed. And the environmental groups went back into court (9/19/18), asking the judge to force the state to follow the will of the people. This may come up as an issue in Florida’s Senate race between Senator Bill Nelson and Governor Rick Scott, heightened by the Red Tide/Blue Green Algae fiasco.

Amendment 2 (2016) – Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative has also landed in court this year. The state has been in court over whether approved patients can smoke in their homes; how dispensary licenses are awarded, and other aspects of the voter approved amendment. 

Anyhoo, y’all, please vote in this election. 

Links to the Supervisor of Elections’ offices

Hardee Supervisor of Elections
Hernando Supervisor of Elections 
Hillsborough Supervisor of Elections
Manatee Supervisor of Elections
Pasco Supervisor of Elections
Pinellas Supervisor of Elections
Polk Supervisor of Elections
Sarasota Supervisor of Elections

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