The Florida Amendment Series: Amendment 11

The Florida Amendment Series: Amendment 11 

Bottom Line: This is the tenth 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: Property Rights; Removal of Obsolete Provision; Criminal Statutes 

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 Removes obsolete language repealed by voters.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.  

Breakdown of changes: 

  • Removes the ability for the state to prevent non-Floridians from transacting in Florida real-estate and inheriting property 
  • Removes irrelevant high-speed rail language from the state  
  • Applies current sentencing guidelines to those already serving criminal sentences for like crimes 

Thoughts: Once again we have a proposal that has three unrelated ideas coming together – which I do find annoying. Amendment 11 would enact three changes of varying degrees of significance. I’ll take them in order of potential significance.  

The least significant is the language about high-speed rail. Fourteen years ago, Floridians voted down a high-speed rail project across the state but there is language pertaining to it that exists at the state level. This simply cleans up the books so to speak. No real-world impact here. Next up property transactions... 

Though not currently enforced, in Florida law enacted well over 100 years ago, there’s the ability for the state to deny any non-Floridian from buying, selling or inheriting property in Florida. You could see what the problem could be here if a certain type of activist politician or politicians took over in Tallahassee. Given that Florida’s the 2nd/vacation home destination of choice for hundreds of thousands of people (2nd highest percentage of 2nd homes of any state nationally), enforcement of that provision in Florida law would have the potential to be a catastrophe. It was enacted during a time of extreme protectionism that certainly doesn’t apply to Florida’s current economy or way of life.  

The third provision reconciles any new sentencing guidelines in Florida law with those already serving sentences for like crimes. Under current law, once one is sentenced for a crime, that’s the end of the story. Under this change, any changes in sentencing guidelines would be applied to current and future criminals.  

While I don’t appreciate the bundled approach, each of these provisions has merit in my view and therefore I’ll be voting yes on Amendment 11. 

 

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