PM Tampa Bay 2018 Proposed Constitutional Amendments Guide

posted by Felix Vega - 970 WFLA Legal Analyst - 

 

Tampa, Fla. (970 WFLA) - A full listing of the amendments appearing on the November 6th Ballot.  Below you will find the actual Ballot Title and Summary that match your sample ballot along with key takeaways on what the amendments will add, change or delete from the affected parts of the State Constitution.  

When appropriate you will find legal analysis considering certain issues affecting the amendment in question and more expansive information of what is contained in the full text of the amendments. 

AMENDMENT 1

 BALLOT TITLE: Increased Homestead Property Tax Exemption

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.

YES – ADDS EXEMPTION FROM PROPERTY TAXES, NOT SCHOOL TAXES, VALUED BETWEEN $100,000 TO $125,000

  • MAXIMUM HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION WOULD BE $75,000
  • EFFECTIVE DATE IF PASSED – JANUARY 1, 2019
  • Local governments, which rely on property taxes to fund local services, would lose funding. One estimate found that Florida cities could lose over $600 million in the first year. 

NO – LEAVES CURRENT PROPERTY VALUE RANGES IN PLACE (PROPERTY VALUES UP TO $25,000 AND $50, TO $75,000)

  • MAXIMUM HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION WOULD BE $50,000

AMENDMENT 2

 BALLOT TITLE: Limitations on Property Tax Assessments

BALLOT SUMMARY: Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution to permanently retain provisions currently in effect, which limit property tax assessment increases on specified non-homestead 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.

YES – CURRENT 10 PERCENT LIMIT REMAINS IN PLACE AND WILL NOT BE INCREASED ON NON-HOMESTEAD PROPERTIES (2ND HOMES, RENTAL PROPERTIES, COMMERCIAL OR VACANT LAND I.E. PROPERTY YOU OWN THAT IS NOT YOUR PRIMARY RESIDENCE)

  • EFFECTIVE DATE IF PASSED – JANUARY 1, 2019

NO – 10% CAP EXPIRES AND RULES PREVIOUSLY WRITTEN TO ALLOW FOR INCREASES WILL GO FORWARD AS PREVIOUSLY PLANNED.

AMENDMENT 3

BALLOT TITLE: Voter Control of Gambling in Florida

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.

FINANCIAL IMPACT STATEMENT: The amendment’s impact on state and local government revenues and costs, if any, cannot be determined at this time because of its unknown effect on gambling operations that have not been approved by voters through a constitutional amendment proposed by a citizens’ initiative petition process.  

YES – VOTERS WILL HAVE SOLE AUTHORITY TO EXPAND CASINO GAMBLING OUTSIDE OF SEMINOLE TRIBES AND ALREADY ESTABLISHED PARI-MUTUEL (BETTING) ESTABLISHMENTS IN BROWARD / MIAMI-DADE.

  • AMENDMENT 3 WOULD ALSO ADD DEFINITIONS FOR WHAT CONSTITUTES “CASINO GAMBLING”
  • CASINO GAMES FOUND IN TRADITIONAL INDIAN GAMING CASINOS AND DEFINED BY FEDERAL LAWS
  • HOUSE BANKING GAMES LIKE BACCARAT, BLACKJACK, CALIFORNIA BLACK JACK
  • ROULETTE, CRAPS, SLOT MACHINES, ELECTRONIC / VIDEO GAMING DEVICES THAT SIMULATE A GAME OF CHANCE
  • SPECIFICALLY EXCLUDES, PARIMUTUAL WAGERING, HORSE RACING, DOG RACING, JAI-ALAI

NO- CURRENTLY, LEGISLATURE HAS ABILITY TO AUTHORIZE ADDITION / EXPANSION OF CASINO GAMBLING IN THE STATE BUT HAS REPEATEDLY FAILED TO DO SO.  THEY, ALONG WITH VOTERS WOULD BOTH RETAIN ABILITY TO ADD CASINO GAMBLING.

AMENDMENT 4 - RESTORATION OF FELON VOTING RIGHTS

 BALLOT TITLE: Voting Restoration Amendment

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.

FINANCIAL IMPACT STATEMENT: The precise effect of this amendment on state and local government costs cannot be determined, but the operation of current voter registration laws, combined with an increased number of felons registering to vote, will produce higher overall costs relative to the processes in place today. The impact, if any, on state and local government revenues cannot be determined. The fiscal impact of any future legislation that implements a different process cannot be reasonably determined.

YES – CONVICTED FELONS (EXCEPT THOSE CONVICTED OF MURDER OR SEXUAL OFFENSES) WOULD HAVE *ONLY THEIR VOTING RIGHTS RESTORED AUTOMATICALLY UPON FULL COMPLETION OF SENTENCE INCLUDING PRISON, PROBATION, COMMUNITY CONTROL ALONG WITH ALL CONDITIONS OF SUPERVISION.

  • CURRENTLY NON-VIOLENT FELONY OFFENDERS MUST WAIT 5 YEARS TO APPLY TO THE CLEMENCY BOARD TO POSSIBLY GET A HEARING.  
  • NON-VIOLENT FELONIES INCLUDE GRAND THEFT (INCLUDING SHOPLIFTING OVER $300), SIMPLE DRUG POSSESSION, FELONY DRIVING ON A SUSPENDED LICENSE AND EVEN TAMPERING WITH CRAB TRAPS (3RD DEGREE FELONY)
  • THOSE THAT HAVE BEEN CONVICTED OF WHAT THE BOARD DETERMINES TO BE MORE THAN 60 TYPES OF VIOLENT FELONIES MUST WAIT 7 YEARS. 
  • POTENTIALLY AFFECTS APPROXIMATELY 1.5 MILLION FELONS WHO MAY REGISTER TO VOTE
  • EFFECTIVE DATE IF PASSED – JANUARY 1, 2019

NO – CURRENT 5 AND 7 YEAR WAITING PERIODS REMAIN IN EFFECT; RESTORATION OF VOTING RIGHTS REMAINS AT DISCRETION OF GOVERNOR / CLEMENCY BOARD

AMENDMENT 5

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

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

YES – ANY HIKE IN STATE FEES SUCH AS DRIVER’S LICENSE AND VEHICLE REGISTRATION FEES OR STATE SALES TAXES WOULD REQUIRE TWO-THIRDS (2/3) VOTE OF BOTH THE STATE HOUSE AND SENATE TO PASS LEGISLATION, INCREASING IT FROM CURRENT SIMPLE MAJORITY VOTE

  • EFFECTIVE DATE IF PASSED – JANUARY 1, 2019

NO – KEEPS THE CURRENT SIMPLE MAJORITY VOTE IN PLACE FOR THE STATE HOUSE AND SENATE TO INCREASE FEES, TAXES

NOTE: THE FOLLOWING AMENDMENTS WERE PROPOSED BY THE STATE’S CONSTITUTIONAL REVISION COMMISSION.  THE COMMISSION CONVENES ONCE EVERY 20 YEARS TO REVIEW CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS, HOLD PUBLIC HEARINGS THEN SUBMIT PROPOSED CHANGES THROUGH BALLOT INITIATIVES TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE WHO OVERSEES STATE ELECTIONS. SEVERAL OF THE FOLLOWING AMENDMENTS WERE CHALLENGED IN STATE COURT ON A VARIETY OF ISSUES, INCLUDING THE LEGAL CONCEPT OF “BUNDLING.”

BUNDLING OCCURS WHEN SEVERAL ISSUES ARE ROLLED INTO ONE AMENDMENT, SUPPOSEDLY IN VIOLATION OF THE SINGLE SUBJECT RULE THAT IS REQUIRED TO GET AN AMENDMENT APPROVED.  AMENDMENT 8 WAS THE ONLY BALLOT INITIATIVE THAT WAS REMOVED FROM CONSIDERATION BY THE FLORIDA SUPREME COURT FOR BUNDLING.  

AMENDMENTS 7, 9, 11 AND 13 WERE SIMILARLY CHALLENGED BUT ALLOWED BY THE SUPREME COURT IN THE END. 

IN IT'S RULING ISSUED ON OCTOBER 17TH, THE JUSTICES POINTED OUT THAT AMENDMENTS COMING FROM THE CONSTITUTIONAL REVISION COMMITTEE DO NOT FALL UNDER THE "SINGLE SUBJECT" RULE FOR BALLOT INITIATIVES THAT ARE DONE BY PETITION OR PASSED BY THE LEGISLATURE. 

AMENDMENT 6

BALLOT TITLE: Rights of Crime Victims; Judges

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.

YES - ISSUE 1 – CRIME VICTIM’S RIGHTS (THIS LIST IS *NOT EXHAUSTIVE.  PLEASE SEE FULL TEXT OF AMENDMENT 6)

  • CREATES CERTAIN RIGHTS GUARANTEED TO CRIME VICTIMS AND THEIR FAMILIES
  • RIGHT NOT TO BE HARASSED BY DEFENDANT / DEFENDANT’S FAMILY
  • CREATE’S STATE ATTORNEY’S RIGHT TO SPEEDY TRIAL – TRIAL TO BE HELD WITHIN 60 DAYS OF STATE ATTORNEY FILING CASE (THIS DOES *NOT AFFECT A DEFENDANT’S CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO SPEEDY TRIAL.  THIS WILL BE A REQUEST MADE TO A JUDGE, MOST LIKELY WHEN A CASE HAS BEEN POSTPONED FOR A LONG PERIOD OF TIME)
  • LIMITS APPEAL PROCESS TO 2 YEARS IN NON-CAPITAL CASES (ALL CASES THAT ARE *NOT 1ST DEGREE MURDER OR CAPITAL SEXUAL BATTERY)
  • LIMITS APPEAL PROCESS IN CAPITAL CASES TO 5 YEARS (1ST DEGREE MURDER AND CAPITAL SEXUAL BATTERY)
  • RIGHT FOR VICTIM TO BE REPRESENTED BY AN ATTORNEY TO ACT IN THEIR INTERESTS DURING THE CRIMINAL CASE
  • ACCESS TO PRE-SENTENCING REPORTS
  • ISSUE 2 – JUDICIAL RETIREMENT AGE RAISED FROM 70 TO 75
  • ISSUE 3 – REQUIRES JUDGES TO READ / INTERPRET STATUTES AND LAWS INSTEAD OF RELYING ON  ADMINISTRATIVE AGENCIES. 
  • LEGAL LESSON: THE CURRENT VICTIM’S RIGHTS PORTION OF THE CONSTITUTION GUARANTEES CRIME VICTIMS THE RIGHT TO BE ADVISED OF AND BE PRESENT AT ALL MATERIAL STAGES OF ANY PROCEEDINGS, INCLUDING HOMICIDE VICTIM’S NEXT OF KIN EVEN IF A FAMILY MEMBER MAY POTENTIALLY BE CALLED AS A WITNESS
  • EFFECTIVE DATE IF PASSED – JANUARY 1, 2019

NO – CURRENT RIGHT OF CRIME VICTIM, HOMICIDE VICTIM’S FAMILY / NEXT OF KIN TO BE NOTIFIED OF AND BE PRESENT AT ALL HEARINGS AND BE HEARD WHEN APPROPRIATE.  JUDICIAL CHANGES WOULD NOT TAKE PLACE EITHER.

AMENDMENT 7

NOTE: THIS INITIATIVE WAS CHALLENGED IN COURT FOR BUNDLING.  THE FLORIDA SUPREME COURT HAS ALLOWED IT TO APPEAR ON THE BALLOT.

BALLOT TITLE: First Responder and Military Member Survivor Benefits; Public Colleges and Universities

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 super-majority 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.

YES – ISSUE 1 – DEATH BENEFITS, WAIVER OF EDUCATIONAL EXPENSES FOR SURVIVORS OF MILITARY, FIRST RESPONDERS

  • COVERS FIREFIGHTERS, PARAMEDICS, EMERGENCY MEDICAL TECHNICIAN (EMT), LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS, CORRECTIONS OFFICERS (PRISONS), CORRECTIONAL PROBATION OFFICER, MEMBER OF THE FLORIDA NATIONAL GUARD, U.S. ARMED FORCES
  • INTENTIONALLY OR ACCIDENTALLY KILLED, SERIOUSLY INJURED THEN LATER DIES
  • APPLIES TO CHILD OR SPOUSE OF ELIGIBLE MEMBERS
  • COVERS CAREER CERTIFICATE PROGRAMS, UNDERGRADUATE AND POST GRADUATE STUDIES
  • ELIGIBLE MEMBER MUST BE FLORIDA RESIDENT OF HAVE DUTY POST IN FLORIDA
  • EFFECTIVE DATE: LEGISLATURE TO CREATE LAW – JULY 1, 2019

ISSUE 2 – VOTES TO INCREASE COLLEGE, UNIVERSITY FEES BY BOARD OF GOVERNORS OR BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF UNIVERSITIES (EXCLUDING TUITION) MUST BE DONE BY SUPER-MAJORITY (2/3) VOTE BY MEMBERS

ISSUE 3 – WOULD ADD ALL STATE AND COMMUNITY COLLEGES INTO THE CONSTITUTION ALONG WITH UNIVERSITIES FOR STATE UNIVERSITY SYSTEM

NO – NONE OF THE ABOVE PROVISIONS WOULD BE ADDED.

AMENDMENT 8 – ***STRUCK DOWN BY FLORIDA SUPREME COURT BASED ON BUNDLING. THIS IS NOT ON THE BALLOT***

BALLOT TITLE: School Board Term Limits and Duties; Public Schools

BALLOT SUMMARY: Creates a term limit of eight consecutive years for school board members and requires the legislature to provide for the promotion of civic literacy in public schools. Currently, district school boards have a constitutional duty to operate, control, and supervise all public schools. The amendment maintains a school board’s duties to public schools it establishes, but permits the state to operate, control, and supervise public schools not established by the school board.

LEGAL ANALYSIS BASED ON FLORIDA SUPREME COURT RULING

  • HAD THREE DIFFERENT INITIATIVES ROLLED INTO ONE - BUNDLING
  • VIOLATES SINGLE SUBJECT RULE FOR AMENDMENTS
  • MOST CONTROVERSIAL à TRANSFER OF CHARTER SCHOOL OVERSIGHT TO A STATE BOARD
  • WOULD HAVE TAKEN CONTROL OF CHARTER SCHOOLS AWAY FROM LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICT
  • “SUPERVISES PUBLIC SCHOOLS NOT ESTABLISHED BY THE SCHOOL BOARD”

AMENDMENT 9

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

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.

YES – ISSUE 1: UPDATES GENERAL PROVISION OF THE CONSTITUTION DEALING WITH AIR AND WATER POLLUTION ACROSS THE STATE AND THE EVERGLADES TO INCLUDE A BAN ON EXPLORATION AND EXTRACTION OF OIL OR NATURAL GAS BENEATH ALL STATE WATERS

  • PROTECTED AREAS WOULD RUN FROM THE MEAN HIGH WATER LINE ALONG THE COAST TO THE TERRITORIAL WATER BOUNDARIES OF THE COAST

ISSUE 2: ADDS USE OF VAPOR-GENERATING DEVICES TO BAN ON SMOKING IN INDOOR WORKPLACES; DOES NOT RESTRICT COUNTIES / CITIES TO PASS MORE RESTRICTIVE ORDINANCES

  • DOES *NOT APPLY TO PRIVATE HOMES **UNLESS THEY ARE BEING USED TO PROVIDE CHILD CARE, ADULT CARE OR HEALTH CARE (DAY CARE CENTERS RUN OUT OF A HOME, NURSING HOMES, ETC)
  • DOES *NOT APPLY TO VAPING RETAILERS, DESIGNATED SMOKING ROOMS AT HOTELS OR LODGING ESTABLISHMENTS
  • ALLOWS CITIES, COUNTIES, MUNICIPALITIES TO PASS ORDINANCES TO RESTRICT FURTHER 
  • EFFECTIVE DATE IF PASSED – JANUARY 1, 2019

NO – NEITHER PROVISION ARE ADDED TO THE CONSTITUTION

FLORIDA SUPREME COURT ANALYSIS: LIKE AMENDMENT 7, AMENDMENT 9 WAS CHALLENGED FOR BUNDLING OF ISSUES, BUT WAS UPHELD BY THE SUPREME COURT

AMENDMENT 10

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 counter-terrorism within department of law enforcement.

YES ISSUE 1 – PROTECTS VETERANS AFFAIRS DEPARTMENT BY MAKING IT CONSTITUTIONALLY MANDATED DEPARTMENT IN FLORIDA

ISSUE 2- REQUIRES ALL COUNTIES TO ELECT LOCAL OFFICIALS NAMED IN THE BALLOT SUMMARY ABOVE.

  • PRIMARILY AIMED AT MIAMI-DADE COUNTY WHO DOES *NOT ELECT SHERIFF
  • OTHER POSITIONS AS MENTIONED ARE ALREADY ELECTED
  • ALSO PREVENTS REMOVAL, TRANSFER OF DUTIES, ETC. OF THOSE OFFICIALS BY COUNTY CHARTER

ISSUE 3 – SETS START OF LEGISLATIVE SESSION IN JANUARY INSTEAD OF MARCH IN EVEN-NUMBERED YEARS

ISSUE 4 – CONSTITUTIONALLY CREATES COUNTER-TERRORISM OFFICE

NO – DOES NOT MAKE ANY OF THE ABOVE CHANGES

  • EFFECTIVE DATE IF PASSED – JANUARY 1, 2019

AMENDMENT 11

 NOTE: **CHALLENGED IN COURT FOR BUNDLING OF ISSUES – FLORIDA SUPREME COURT ALLOWING IT 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.

NOTE: THIS IS ESSENTIALLY A MEASURE TO CLEAN-UP CERTAIN PARTS 

YES – ISSUE 1 – REMOVES LANGUAGE THAT PROPERTY OWNERSHIP BY “ALIENS INELIGIBLE FOR CITIZENSHIP” COULD BE REGULATED OR PROHIBITED

ISSUE 2 – REMOVES LANGUAGE FROM HIGH SPEED RAIL AMENDMENT PASSED IN 2003 BUT LATER REPEALED

ISSUE 3 – REPEAL OF CRIMINAL LAW WILL NOT AFFECT PROSECUTION FOR THAT CRIME IF IT WAS COMMITTED BEFORE IT WAS REPEALED (I.E. IF POLICE DISCOVER A CRIME WAS COMMITTED BEFORE A LAW WAS REPEALED – NOT AMENDED— CRIME COULD STILL BE PROSECUTED

  • EFFECTIVE DATE IF PASSED – JANUARY 1, 2019

NO – ABOVE CHANGES WOULD NOT BE MADE INCLUDING POSSIBLY NOT ALLOWING NON-CITIZENS TO OWN PROPERTY

AMENDMENT 12

BALLOT TITLE: Lobbying and Abuse of Office by Public Officers

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.

YES – BAN ON LOBBYING BY CERTAIN PUBLIC OFFICIALS (STATE AND LOCAL) FOR PERIOD OF 6 YEARS AFTER LEAVING OFFICE

  • ALSO APPLIES TO FORMER JUSTICES AND JUDGES TO BAN LOBBYING FOR 6 YEARS
  • CONSTITUTIONAL BAN ON USING CURRENT OFFICE FOR OWN PERSONAL GAIN
  • EFFECTIVE DATE IF PASSED – JANUARY 1, 2020 AND JANUARY 1, 2022 DEPENDING ON CERTAIN POSITIONS

NO – NO CHANGES WOULD BE MADE

AMENDMENT 13

BALLOT TITLE: Ends Dog Racing

BALLOT SUMMARY: Phases out commercial dog racing in connection with wagering by 2020. Other gaming activities are not affected.

YES – BAN ON GREYHOUND RACING AT PARIMUTUAL FACILITIES BUT DOES NOT AFFECT ANY OTHER GAMBLING THAT OCCURS (SLOTS, CARD GAMES) AT THOSE SAME LOCATION

  • SOME BETTING FACILITIES HAVE REQUIREMENT OF DOG RACING AS PART OF THEIR LICENSE – WOULD NOT BE PENALIZED FOR STOPPING NOR WOULD IT PREVENT APPLICATION OR RENEWAL OF LICENSE
  • ALSO WOULD *NOT AFFECT BETTING ON OUT-OF-STATE DOG RACING (I.E. WATCHING ON TV AND WAGERING)
  • EFFECTIVE DATE IF PASSED – JANUARY 1, 2019

NO: COMMERCIAL DOG RACING WOULD REMAIN IN FLORIDA

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