The Florida Amendment Series: Amendment 10

The Florida Amendment Series: Amendment 10 

Bottom Line: This is the ninth in a twelve-part series covering Florida’s proposed constitutional amendments. Amendments can be confusing enough to understand but furthering the confusion, while there were originally thirteen amendments scheduled for November’s ballot, a court ruling knocked the 8th off of the ballot. For that reason, you’ll see amendments 1 through 7 and 9 through 13. Each proposed amendment requires a minimum of 60% support to pass. Here’s how it will appear on the ballot: 

BALLOT TITLE: State and Local Government Structure and Operation  

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.  

Breakdown: Once again we have a proposal with many moving pieces within it. Here’s what this proposal would do: 

  • During election years the state legislative session would begin in January rather than March  

  • FDLE would add a counter-terrorism/domestic security division 

  • The state’s VA Department would be constitutionally protected/mandated  

  • All Sheriffs, Property Appraisers, Tax Collectors, Supervisors of Elections & Clerk of Courts would have to be elected by voters in each county  

Thoughts: Once again we have a batch of issues that at best are loosely related packed into one proposal that makes me more skeptical than I’d otherwise be. Speaking to the merit of each of the proposals... 

The bumping up of the legislative session in election years makes sense to help provide enough time to work through sessions without interference with election cycles. I’m not sure why we wouldn’t go ahead and do that in all years but whatever – no issues here. 

The FDLE adding a counter-terrorism/domestic security division conceptionally makes sense to me given the threats we face. Additionally, might Pulse have been prevented if we had this in place? Also, law enforcement is generally supportive of this across the state. Next up the VA Department... 

Nothing would actually change with the state’s VA if this passes, which leads to me being skeptical about its inclusion. Is this another effort to use the military/vets to obtain support of those who strongly support our military? Still, I don’t have an issue with the state’s VA being constitutionally protected. The last one would only impact some Floridians.  

Most counties do hold elections for the officials cited in this proposed amendment. There would be no changes in counties like Palm Beach but there would be in Miami Dade for example. 

While I don’t appreciate the bundled approach, I don’t find anything objectionable and am strongly supportive of the addition of Florida adding our own counter-terrorism division given the multiple failures of the feds leading up to events like Pulse and Stoneman Douglas in recent years. For that reason, I’ll be voting yes on Amendment 10.

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