The Florida Amendment Series – What we voted for and what it means to you
Bottom Line: Yesterday we passed 11 of the 12 state proposed amendments. During the cycle I provided a comprehensive review of each of them. Below are the Amendments that passed, links to my original stories.
BALLOT TITLE: Limitations on Property Tax Assessments
A cap of 10% annually for non-homestead property taxes. A 35.9% of households were rentals in Florida. That means that more than a third of Floridians are negatively impacted by the lack of limitations on the rate of increase in property taxes.
BALLOT TITLE: Voter Control of Gambling in Florida
First, it takes all forms of non-lottery gambling (including card games, slots and related gaming) and puts it under the banner of “casino gambling”. It then strips the state legislature of the power to make decisions about new casinos/gaming in Florida – replacing it with voter decisions over new casinos/gaming establishments in our state.
BALLOT TITLE: Voting Restoration Amendment
This is one of the most well-known proposed amendments on the ballot as its passage would restore voting rights to some convicted felons. The amendment would restore voting rights to felons who’ve completed all aspects of their sentence excluding those who’ve committed murder or any form of sexual offense.
BALLOT TITLE: Supermajority Vote Required to Impose, Authorize, or Raise State Taxes or Fees
Amendment 5 would help create greater stability and transparency on taxes generally in our state by requiring a two-thirds vote, rather than a 50% plus one vote, to impose higher taxes.
BALLOT TITLE: Rights of Crime Victims; Judges
Here’s what it does:
Mandatory retirement age for Florida’s judges would be 75, rather than 70 currently
State courts would have to rule on applicable statutes themselves/independently
Provides greater specificity from “victim’s rights” in Florida including deadlines for appeals processes and victims obtaining the right to review sentencing information
BALLOT TITLE: First Responder and Military Member Survivor Benefits; Public Colleges and Universities
Additional emergency professionals will be considered first responders under Florida law. Those professions are: Paramedics, Medical technicians and all military members in the state (currently only Florida’s National Guard is recognized). Second, provides death benefits to those with survivor’s rights in the event of death of a first responder and waivers of most educational expenses. Third, state colleges would be granted the same status as Universities under the Florida Constitution. Fourth, the supermajority vote by colleges to raise or impose fees.
BALLOT TITLE: Prohibits Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling; Prohibits Vaping in Enclosed Indoor Workplaces
Bans offshore drilling in Florida’s territorial waters
Bans any liquid smoking/vaping device inside public buildings and any private business excluding establishments where smoking is currently permitted (typically bars)
BALLOT TITLE: State and Local Government Structure and Operation
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
BALLOT TITLE: Property Rights; Removal of Obsolete Provision; Criminal Statutes
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
BALLOT TITLE: Lobbying and Abuse of Office by Public Officers
Expands ethics rules for many additional public officials/employees – elected and unelected
Prohibits public employees from using their positions for personal gain
BALLOT TITLE: Ends Dog Racing
No additional licenses to operate commercial dog racing operations would be made available after December 31st, 2018
After December 31st, 2020 commercial dog racing would be prohibited by all operators