Among the choices voters will consider when they head to polls in November, will be the longest list of proposed constitutional amendments in Florida. The twelve (12) constitutional amendments will be the most on the ballot since 1998. Sixty percent of the vote is required to pass a constitutional amendment in Florida.
Many voters state that the language of the amendments are confusing, making it important to review the questions thoroughly beforehand. Know the difference between a “Yes” or “No” vote – sometimes the wording can be misleading. Visit the Collier County Supervisor of Elections website for more information about the November Election and for a sample ballot (colliervotes.com). Explanation of what constitutes a “Yes” vote is for clarification purposes only and does not constitute an endorsement of the amendment.
- Amendment 1: Increased Homestead Property Tax Exemption – The measure would increase the homestead exemption from $50,000 to $75,000. It will allow homeowners to deduct an additional $25,000 from the taxable value of a home worth more than $100,000, starting January 1, 2019. A “Yes” vote approves the increase.
- Amendment 2: Limitations on Property Tax Exemptions – Makes permanent what currently is a temporary cap of 10% on annual property value increases for vacation homes, apartments and commercial property, effectively limiting increases on tax bills. Makes permanent the 10% limit on increases in tax value for non-homestead property, thus reducing tax bills. A “Yes” vote makes the cap permanent.
- Amendment 3: Voter Control of Gambling – It will allow Floridians to have the exclusive rights to allow casino gambling in Florida. Requires voter approval of any new casino gambling and effectively barring the Legislature from making gambling decisions by passing laws. A “Yes” vote stops the Legislature from passing laws to allow casino gambling or placing its own casino amendments on the ballot.
- Amendment 4: Voting Restoration Amendment – A “Yes” vote allows those who have completed their entire prison sentence to earn the right to vote back after completing the terms of their sentence, except for those convicted of murder or felony sex offenses.
- Amendment 5: A “Yes” vote would require a super-majority vote to impose, authorize, or raise state taxes or fees, which means two-thirds of the Florida House and the Senate to impose, authorize, or raise any state tax or fee.
- Amendment 6: Rights of Crime Victims & Judges – Vastly expands the scope of victim’s rights (known as Marsy’s Law) to the State Constitution; Increases mandatory retirement age for judges from 70 to 75; Forces courts and judges to interpret laws and rules for themselves rather rely on interpretations by government agencies. A “Yes” vote is in support of all of these changes.
- Amendment 7: First Responders and Military Member Survivor Benefits; Higher Public Colleges & Universities – Requires State to provide death benefits to members of the U.S. military who are either residents of Florida or who are stationed in Florida; Requires universities’ boards of trustees and the State Board of Governors to get super-majority approval from their members to increase students’ fees or impose new ones; Add the framework of State College System to the Constitution. A “Yes” vote is in support of all of these changes.
- Amendment 8: Taken off the Ballot
- Amendment 9: Prohibits Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling; Prohibits Vaping in Enclosed Indoor Workplaces – Prohibits oil and gas drilling beneath waters controlled by Florida; Signals to Federal government Floridians’ opposition to offshore drilling; Prohibits the use of e-cigarettes, also known as vaping in indoor workplaces. A “Yes” vote is in support of all of these changes.
- Amendment 10: State and Local Government Structure and Operation – Requires the Legislature to hold its session in early January on even-numbered years; Creates an Office of Domestic Security and Counterterrorism within the Florida Department of Law Enforcement; Mandates the existence of a state Department of Veterans’ Affairs; Mandates all counties to elect a sheriff, tax collector, property appraiser, supervisor of elections and Clerk of Circuit Court. A “Yes” vote is in support of all of these changes.
- Amendment 11: Property Rights; Removal of Obsolete Provision; Criminal Statutes – Repeal a nearly century-old obsolete provision that allows the legislature to restrict the property rights of non-citizens from buying, owning and selling property; Removes obsolete language regarding high-speed transportation in Florida; Deletes language that requires criminal suspects to be prosecuted under the provisions of the law they’re accused of breaking, even of that law is changed by the Legislature. A “Yes” vote is in support of all of these changes.
- Amendment 12: Lobbying and Abuse of Office by Public Officers – Expands/modifies ethics rules for elected officials and government employees, notably by expanding from two to six years the time that many officials would have to wait before they could lobby state government. A “No” vote would keep in place the current constitutional restrictions on lobbying by sitting and former government officials. A “Yes” vote would make changes stated in the proposed amendment to existing laws.
- Amendment 13: Ends Dog Racing – A “Yes” vote supports bans on wagering on any type of dog racing, notably greyhounds as of December 31, 2020, while still allowing dog tracks to continue offering other types of gambling, including poker rooms and slot machines.