2018 Constitutional Amendments

 

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The Florida Chamber has long opposed placing issues into Florida’s Constitution that can be solved through the legislative process. While we recognize that sometimes constitutional amendments are necessary to preserve the integrity of Florida’s political system, they should —as with the U.S. Constitution — be considered only under “great and extraordinary occasions.” While our nation’s constitution only holds 27 amendments, since 1970, Florida’s Constitution has been amended more than 120 times. The below 12 constitutional amendments that will appear on the general election ballot on November 6, 2018. The below 12 amendments includes 6 amendments recommended by the Constitution Revision Commission.

 

 

 

 

AMENDMENT 1

Increased Homestead Property Tax Exemption

Florida Chamber Position: Neutral

Sponsor: The Florida Legislature/House   (HJR7105)

Official Ballot Summary: Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution to increase the homestead exemption by exempting the assessed valuation of homestead property greater than $100,000 and up to $125,000 for all levies other than school district levies. The amendment shall take effect January 1, 2019.

 

AMENDMENT 2

Limitations on Property Tax Assessments

Florida Chamber Position: Support

Amendment 2 protects all Floridians by keeping a 10% cap on certain annual property tax increases. Amendment 2 is for everybody. It helps communities thrive by preventing excessive property taxes and ensuring Florida remains an affordable place to live, work and do business. Amendment 2 is supported by small businesses and local Realtors®, supported by city and local leaders, and has strong bipartisan support. Visit www.EverybodyIsFor2.com to learn more.

Sponsor: The Florida Legislature/House   (CS/HJR 21)

Official Ballot Summary: Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution to permanently retain provisions currently in effect, which limit property tax assessment increases on specified nonhomestead real property, except for school district taxes, to 10 percent each year. If approved, the amendment removes the scheduled repeal of such provisions in 2019 and shall take effect January 1, 2019.

 

AMENDMENT 3

Voter Control of Gambling in Florida

Florida Chamber Position: Support

The Voter Control of Gambling Amendment puts voters back in charge of gambling decisions in Florida, not Tallahassee politicians and gambling lobbyists. For nearly a century, approval of casino gambling was strictly left for voters to decide. Amendment 3 simply seeks to return to that standard to authorize casino gambling. Visit www.VotersInCharge.org to learn more.

Sponsor:  Voters In Charge

Official Ballot Summary: This amendment ensures that Florida voters shall have the exclusive right to decide whether to authorize casino gambling by requiring that in order for casino gambling to be authorized under Florida law, it must be approved by Florida voters pursuant to Article XI, Section 3 of the Florida Constitution. Affects articles X and XI. Defines casino gambling and clarifies that this amendment does not conflict with federal law regarding state/tribal compacts.

 

AMENDMENT 4

Voting Restoration Amendment

Florida Chamber Position: Neutral

Sponsor:  Floridians for a Fair Democracy, Inc.

Official Ballot Summary: This amendment restores the voting rights of Floridians with felony convictions after they complete all terms of their sentence including parole or probation. The amendment would not apply to those convicted of murder or sexual offenses, who would continue to be permanently barred from voting unless the Governor and Cabinet vote to restore their voting rights on a case by case basis.

 

AMENDMENT 5

Supermajority Vote Required to Impose, Authorize, or Raise State Taxes or Fees

Florida Chamber Position: Support

Amendment 5 was placed on the ballot by the Florida Legislature. Currently, the Florida Legislature can enact new taxes or fees, or increase existing ones (except the corporate income tax) through a simple majority vote. A “yes” vote for Amendment 5 supports requiring a two-thirds vote of each chamber of the Florida Legislature to enact new taxes or fees or increase existing ones.

Sponsor: The Florida Legislature/House   (HJR7001)

Official Ballot Summary:  Prohibits the legislature from imposing, authorizing, or raising a state tax or fee except through legislation approved by a two-thirds vote of each house of the legislature in a bill containing no other subject. This proposal does not authorize a state tax or fee otherwise prohibited by the Constitution and does not apply to fees or taxes imposed or authorized to be imposed by a county, municipality, school board, or special district.

 

AMENDMENT 6

Rights of Crime Victims; Judges

Florida Chamber Position: Neutral

Sponsor: Constitution Revision Commission

Official Ballot Summary:  Creates constitutional rights for victims of crime; requires courts to facilitate victims’ rights; authorizes victims to enforce their rights throughout criminal and juvenile justice processes. Requires judges and hearing officers to independently interpret statutes and rules rather than deferring to government agency’s interpretation. Raises mandatory retirement age of state justices and judges from seventy to seventy-five years; deletes authorization to complete judicial term if one-half of term has been served by retirement age.

 

AMENDMENT 7 *

First Responder and Military Member Survivor Benefits; Public Colleges and Universities

Florida Chamber Position: Neutral

Sponsor: Constitution Revision Commission

Official Ballot Summary:  Grants mandatory payment of death benefits and waiver of certain educational expenses to qualifying survivors of certain first responders and military members who die performing official duties. Requires supermajority votes by university trustees and state university system board of governors to raise or impose all legislatively authorized fees if law requires approval by those bodies. Establishes existing state college system as constitutional entity; provides governance structure.

 

AMENDMENT 8  – REMOVED FROM BALLOT

School Board Term Limits and Duties; Public Schools

 

 

AMENDMENT 9*

Prohibits Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling; Prohibits Vaping in Enclosed Indoor Workplaces

Florida Chamber Position: Oppose 

This issue can be addressed and achieved through the legislative process, and therefore does not need to be permanently incorporated into Florida’s Constitution.

Sponsor: Constitution Revision Commission

Official Ballot Summary:  Prohibits drilling for the exploration or extraction of oil and natural gas beneath all state-owned waters between the mean high water line and the state’s outermost territorial boundaries. Adds use of vapor-generating electronic devices to current prohibition of tobacco smoking in enclosed indoor workplaces with exceptions; permits more restrictive local vapor ordinances.

 

AMENDMENT 10

State and Local Government Structure and Operation

Florida Chamber Position: Neutral

Sponsor: Constitution Revision Commission

Official Ballot Summary:  Requires legislature to retain department of veterans’ affairs. Ensures election of sheriffs, property appraisers, supervisors of elections, tax collectors, and clerks of court in all counties; removes county charters’ ability to abolish, change term, transfer duties, or eliminate election of these offices. Changes annual legislative session commencement date in even- numbered years from March to January; removes legislature’s authorization to fix another date. Creates office of domestic security and counterterrorism within department of law enforcement.

 

AMENDMENT 11*

Property Rights; Removal of Obsolete Provision; Criminal Statutes

Florida Chamber Position: Support

Sponsor: Constitution Revision Commission

Official Ballot Summary:  Removes discriminatory language related to real property rights. Removes obsolete language repealed by voters. Deletes provision that amendment of a criminal statute will not affect prosecution or penalties for a crime committed before the amendment; retains current provision allowing prosecution of a crime committed before the repeal of a criminal statute.

 

AMENDMENT 12

Lobbying and Abuse of Office by Public Officers

Florida Chamber Position: Oppose

This issue can be addressed and achieved through the legislative process, and therefore does not need to be permanently incorporated into Florida’s Constitution.

Sponsor: Constitution Revision Commission

Official Ballot Summary:  Expands current restrictions on lobbying for compensation by former public officers; creates restrictions on lobbying for compensation by serving public officers and former justices and judges; provides exceptions; prohibits abuse of a public position by public officers and employees to obtain a personal benefit.

 

Amendment 13

Ends Dog Racing

Florida Chamber Position: Oppose

This issue can be addressed and achieved through the legislative process, and therefore does not need to be permanently incorporated into Florida’s Constitution.

Sponsor: Constitution Revision Commission

Official Ballot Summary:  Phases out commercial dog racing in connection with wagering by 2020. Other gaming activities are not affected.

 

 

*These constitutional amendments were subject to litigation and the Florida Supreme Court has yet to rule on their constitutionality.