A breakdown of the 13 proposed Constitutional amendments
on your November ballot
With 13 proposed amendments on the ballot for Floridians this November, there is a lot of change for voters to consider. To help you understand what your options are, FRLA’s Governmental Relations team researched the proposed amendments and broken them down into simpler terms. This guide is intended to help our members cast informed votes and thereby wield one of the most powerful tools in democracy. If you’d like to read the full text of any amendment, simply click on the title.
It is important to note that FRLA does not take a position on all amendments. However, for proposals that will have a significant impact on our industry, we did let you know what our recommendations are. As always, if you have questions about any legislation, please feel free to reach out to Governmental Relations team at 888-372-9119 ext. 228.
Title: Increased Homestead Property Tax Exemption
Summary: Homestead property is the property on which your permanent residence is located. If passed, Amendment One would 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.
A YES vote supports the increase in homestead exemption.
A NO vote maintains the homestead exemption at its current level.
FRLA has not taken a position on Amendment One.
Title: Limitations on Property Tax Assessment
Summary: Currently, property tax assessments on non-homestead real property are limited to no more than a 10% increase every year. ‘Non-homestead real property’ is any property that does not have a homestead exemption, including commercial property. This limitation of annual increases to property tax assessments on non-homestead real property is set to expire in 2019. The proposed amendment would make the limitation permanent.
A YES vote supports a permanent cap on the property tax assessments of non-homestead real property, limiting the assessments on non-homestead real property to an increase of no more than 10% every year.
A NO vote removes the cap on assessments on non-homestead real property. Starting January 1, 2019, the yearly increase on assessments would not be limited.
FRLA recommends voting YES on Amendment Two.
Title: Voter Control of Gaming
Summary: The proposed amendment would establish that additional casino gambling may only be authorized under Florida law through a vote by citizens’ initiative. The amendment does not interfere with federal law regarding gaming compacts.
A YES vote would establish that casino gambling may only be authorized by a vote of Florida’s citizens, through the mechanisms established in the Constitution.
A NO vote would give the legislature the authority regarding casino gambling in Florida.
FRLA recommends voting YES on Amendment Three.
Title: Voting Restoration Amendment
Summary: This proposed amendment would automatically restore the voting rights of felons once they have completed all terms of their sentence. This does not include felons convicted of murder or sexual offenses.
A YES vote supports the automatic restoration of voting rights for felons.
A NO vote maintains the current requirement that a felon’s civil rights must be restored before he or she can be allowed to vote.
FRLA has not taken a position on Amendment Four.
Title: Supermajority Vote Requried to Impose, Authorize, or Raise State Taxes or Fees
Summary: Currently, the legislature is authorized to raise taxes or fees by a majority vote. This amendment would require that any taxes or fees proposed by the state legislature must be adopted by a two-thirds vote of the House and Senate. This amendment does not allow the state legislature to adopt a tax or fee that is otherwise prohibited by the Constitution. It does not apply to taxes and fees levied by local government entities.
A YES vote requires the state legislature pass taxes and fees by a two-thirds majority of both the House and Senate.
A NO vote allows for taxes and fees to be adopted by a majority vote of both the House and Senate.
FRLA has not taken a position on Amendment Five.
Title: Rights of Crime Victims; Judges
Summary: This proposed amendment creates certain rights for victims of crimes and establishes processes by which victims can enforce these rights. Further, it raises the mandatory retirement age for judges from 70 to 75 years of age.
A YES vote supports specific rights for crime victims and raises the mandatory age of retirement for judges.
A NO vote opposes the adoption of specific rights for crime victims and keeps the mandatory retirement age for judges at 70 years of age.
FRLA has not taken a position on Amendment Six.
Title: First Responder and Military Members Survivor Benefits; Public Colleges and Universities
Summary: This proposed amendment has three parts. First, it would grant mandatory benefits and educational fee waivers to qualifying survivors of certain first responders and military personnel who die in the performance of their official duties. Next, it would require a supermajority vote of university trustees and state university board of governors to raise fees and tuition. Finally, it establishes the state college system as a constitutional entity.
A YES vote grants mandatory benefits and educational fee waivers to qualifying survivors of first responders and military personnel, requires a supermajority vote to raise university and state college fees and tuition, and establishes the state college system as a constitutional entity.
A NO vote does not grant mandatory benefits and educational fee waivers to qualifying survivors of first responders and military personnel and maintains the current governance practices for universities and state colleges.
FRLA has not taken a position on Amendment Seven.
Amendment Eight has been removed from Florida’s ballots.
Title: School Board Term Limits and Duties; Public Schools
Summary: This proposed amendment has three parts. First, it establishes a term limit of eight consecutive years for school board members. Next, it requires the legislature to adopt laws that will promote of civic literacy. Finally, it states the district school board will exercise control over only those free public schools established by the district school board.
A YES vote supports term limits for elected school board officials and requirements for civic literacy. A YES vote further supports permitting the state to control free public schools not established by the school board.
A NO vote opposes term limits for school board members and requirements for civic literacy. A NO vote reserves control of all free public schools to the school board of the district, regardless of who established the school.
FRLA has not taken a position on Amendment Eight.
Title: Prohibits Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling; Prohibits Vaping in Enclosed Indoor Workplaces
Summary: This amendment proposes the prohibition of offshore drilling beneath all state-owned waters between the mean high water line and the edge of the state’s furthest territorial boundary. Further, this amendment proposes adding a prohibition on vaping devices to the existing provisions that prohibit smoking in indoor work spaces. It also allows local government entities to adopt more restrictive vaping regulations.
A YES vote prohibits offshore drilling and vaping in indoor workplaces. Further, it allows for more restrictive local regulations on vaping.
A NO allows offshore drilling and vaping in indoor workplaces.
FRLA recommends voting YES on Amendment Nine.
Title: State and Local Government Structure and Operation
Summary: This amendment proposes the legislative session start in January during even-numbered years. It proposes the creation of the Office of Domestic Security and Counterterrorism within the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. It requires the existence of Department of Veterans’ Affairs. It ensures the election of sheriffs, property appraisers, supervisors of elections, tax collectors, and clerks of court in all counties, and removes the ability of charter counties to eliminate or make changes to these offices.
A YES vote supports: January legislative session start in even years, the creation of the Office of Domestic Security of Counterterrorism, the required existence of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, the election of listed constitutional officers, and the elimination of the ability of charter counties to eliminate or change the constitutional officers.
A NO vote allows but does not require the existence of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. Further, a NO vote allow constitutional officers to be selected by means other than election, and it permits charter counties the continued ability to change or eliminate constitutional officers.
FRLA has not taken a position on Amendment Ten.
Title: Property Rights; Removal of Obsolete Provision; Criminal Statutes
Summary: The amendment proposes the elimination of discriminatory language in regards to real property rights. It also specifies that if a criminal statute is repealed, the repeal does not affect prosecutions of that crime if those prosecutions took place prior to the repeal. It allows for the amendment (or change) of a criminal statute to affect prosecutions or penalties for crimes committed before the amendment. It eliminates the high speed rail requirement.
A YES vote supports: the removal of discriminatory language, clarifying the impact of amendment and repeal on criminal prosecution and punishment, and removing the high speed rail requirement.
A NO vote retains existing language regarding real property and retains the high speed rail requirement. It further retains the current language regarding the impact of repeal and amendment on criminal prosecution and punishment.
FRLA has not taken a position on Amendment Eleven.
Title: Lobbying and Abuse of Office by Public Officers
Summary: This amendment supports additional regulations and restrictions regarding lobbying following public service or judicial service. It also prohibits public officers and employees from using their positions to garner a disproportionate benefit for themselves or their families.
A YES vote prohibits public officers, agency heads, and judicial officers from lobbying for compensation before specified bodies during their term of service and for a period of six years following their term of service. It establishes a prohibition against using one’s public position for disproportionate benefit to oneself or one’s family.
A NO vote opposes the adoption of additional lobbying restrictions and ethical regulations.
FRLA has not taken a position on Amendment Twelve.
Title: Ends Dog Racing
Summary: This amendment proposed an end to dog racing in Florida.
A YES supports phasing out dog racing in Florida.
A NO vote allows for the continuation of dog racing in Florida.
FRLA has not taken a position on Amendment Thirteen.