Constitutional Amendments

REMOVED FROM BALLOT

Changes to the Florida Constitution can be proposed by a joint resolution of the Florida Legislature, citizens' initiative process (see handbook below), the constitutional revision commission, or the taxation and budget reform commission.
Proposed amendments require 60% approval from voters to pass [see Florida Constitution, Article XI, Section 5(e)].


GENERAL ELECTION CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS ON THE 2018 BALLOT


Constitutional amendments reach the ballot by different avenues. A total of thirteen state constitutional amendments are scheduled to appear on the November 6th General Election ballot. 

* Three were placed on the ballot by the State Legislature 
* Two by citizen petition initiative (includes Financial Impact Statement) 
* Eight by the Constitutional Revision Commission (CRC)


1. INCREASED HOMESTEAD PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTION - 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.

2. LIMITATIONS ON PROPERTY TAX ASSESSMENTS - 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.

3. VOTER CONTROL OF GAMBLING IN FLORIDA - 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. 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.

4. VOTING RESTORATION AMENDMENT - 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. 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. 

5. SUPERMAJORITY VOTE REQUIRED TO IMPOSE, AUTHORIZE, OR RAISE STATE TAXES OR FEES - 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.

6. RIGHTS OF CRIME VICTIMS; JUDGES - 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 judges from seventy to seventy-five years; deletes authorization for judges to complete term if one-half of term has been served by retirement age. 


7. FIRST RESPONDER AND MILITARY MEMBER SURVIVOR BENEFITS; PUBLIC COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES - Creates mandatory payment of education and compensation benefits to qualifying survivors of certain first responders and military members who die performing official duties. Requires supermajority 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. 


8. SCHOOL BOARD TERM LIMITS AND DUTIES; PUBLIC SCHOOLS - 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.

9. PROHIBITS OFFSHORE OIL AND GAS DRILLING; PROHIBITS VAPING IN ENCLOSED INDOOR WORKPLACES - 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 ordinances. 

10. STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT STRUCTURE AND OPERATION - 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 counterterrorism within department of law enforcement. 

11. PROPERTY RIGHTS; REMOVAL OF OBSOLETE PROVISION; CRIMINAL STATUTES - 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. 

12. LOBBYING AND ABUSE OF OFFICE BY PUBLIC OFFICERS - Expands current restrictions on lobbying for compensation by former public officers; creates restrictions on lobbying for compensation by serving public officers; provides exceptions; prohibits certain abuses of public office for personal benefit. 

13. DOG RACING - Prohibits gaming or pari-mutuel entities from racing dogs in connection with wagering; eligibility of such entities to conduct other authorized pari-mutuel and gaming activities is not affected; prohibits wagering on outcome of in-state live dog races. Voters will have a choice to make for each of these amendments.


For a summary of each amendment, including the impact of a yes or no vote, visit www.bereadytovote.org/constitutional-amendments.