• Florida Election 2018: The amendments, explained

    By: Kevin Williams, Christopher Heath, WFTV Orlando | Videos by Courtney Cole, Action News Jax

    Updated:

    As Florida voters head to the polls, more is at stake than the major offices for which candidates are running.

    Voters will also decide to approve or deny 12 proposed amendments that impact everything from felons' rights to greyhound racing.

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    Scroll down to learn more about each proposed amendment.

    Amendment 1: Homestead Property Tax Exemption

    Amendment 1 proposes to Increase the portion of a home’s value that can be exempted from non-school property taxes by $25,000; exempting the home’s value between $100,000 to $125,000. 

    A “yes” vote would save homeowners money. However, critics warn that savings will not last since cities will be forced to raise other taxes to make up for the lost revenue. The Florida Association of Counties warns if this amendment passes, cities and counties will lose $752 million in the first year: Money that will need to be replaced

    Amendment 2: Limitations on Property Tax Assessments

    Amendment 2 would maintain existing law by permanently placing a 10 percent cap on the annual increase of non-homestead property.

    Amendment 3: Voter Control of Gambling

    Approval of Amendment 3 would shift the authority to authorize casino expansion in Florida from the legislature to the voters. If passed, voters would need to approve any future expansion of gambling. It would not impact existing gambling at dog tracks or the Seminole casinos.

    Amendment 4: Restoration of Rights

    Amendment 4 is getting national attention. The proposal would restore voting rights to non-violent felons after they have completed their sentence, including parole and probation. The amendment does not apply to felons convicted of murder or sex crimes.

    There are about 1.5 million non-violent felons in Florida who have served their time, but have not had their rights restored.

    Amendment 5: Supermajority to Raise Taxes

    Approval of Amendment 5 would require the Florida Legislature to approve all future tax or fee increases with a two-thirds vote (a supermajority). This would not apply to local taxes and fees, or state fees already indexed to inflation.

    Amendment 6: Crime Victims, Judges, Law

    There are three parts to this amendment: The first part deals with rights for crime victims, also known as “Marsy’s Law." The change would create a bill of rights for victims of crime, giving them better access information about the suspect in a crime, expanding on rights already in state law. 

    The second part would raise the mandatory age of retirement for state judges from 70 to 75.

    The last part would prohibit state courts from deferring to an agency interpretation of a state statute.

    Amendment 7: First Responders, Colleges, Universities

    There are three parts to Amendment 7: Part one extends death benefits to first responders and military members. State law already provides these benefits to police, firefighters, corrections officers and the national guard. However, this change would extend these benefits to EMS, paramedics, and military members. 

    Part two would require a two-thirds vote (supermajority) of university trustees and the sate system board of governors to raise fees. There are 12 members, right now only a majority is required.

    The last part would establish the state college system in the constitution.

    Amendment 8 - School Board Term Limits and Duties; Public Schools

    This proposed amendment was thrown out by the Florida Supreme Court and will not appear on the November 2018 ballot.

    Amendment 9: Offshore Drilling and Indoor Vaping

    There are two parts to this amendment: The first part would prohibit drilling off Florida’s coast. The state of Florida only controls the area between 0-9 nautical miles off shore. This amendment would stop drilling in this area, but would have no impact on waters beyond 9 nautical miles. There is also an exception that would continue to allow the transport of oil and gas through this buffer.

    The second part of the amendment would prohibit vaping (e-cigarettes) in enclosed indoor workplaces.

    Amendment 10: Counterterrorism, Veteran Affairs, Local Government, State Government

    There are four parts to this amendment: The first would have the state legislature meet in January in even-numbered years, and March in odd-numbered years. The legislature routinely moves the state date around to accommodate even-year campaign season; this amendment would lock in the odd/even split. 

    The second part would create a counterterrorism office within FDLE. 

    The third part would require the state to have a Department of Veteran’s Affairs; something that it already has.

    The fourth part would make all of Florida’s 67 counties elect their constitutional officers (sheriff, tax collector, clerk, elections supervisor).  Most central Florida counties already do this, however, some counties like Miami-Dade appoint the sheriff.

    Amendment 11: Criminal Statutes, Property Rights, High-Speed Rail

    There are three parts to this amendment: The first would make any future changes to criminal law retroactive to people already convicted. Most states already do this.

    The second part would allow for non-citizens to buy or sell property in the state. 

    The last part is basically housekeeping, as it would delete language approving of high-speed rail.

    Amendment 12: Lobbying Ban

    Amendment 12 bans public officials from lobbying during their terms in office. It also prohibits them from lobbying for six years after their term ends.

    Amendment 13: Ban Greyhound Racing

    Amendment 13 ends greyhound racing in Florida by 2020. Tracks with other forms of gambling, including card rooms and slot machines could keep that, however, tracks would no longer be allowed to hold dog races.

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