2018 Proposed Constitutional Amendments 1-5

2018 Proposed Constitutional Amendments 1-5
In this year’s general election, Florida voters will have a chance to vote on potentially 13 proposed amendments to the Florida Constitution. Of these, 8 were approved by the Constitution Revision Commission (CRC), which recently met, 3 by the state legislature, and 2 by citizen initiative. Of the 8 that came from the CRC, 7 are facing court challenges. Although the CRC can legally bundle more than one issue into an amendment, this authority is being contested. Circuit judges have already ordered the removal of 2 of the amendments, but the state has appealed both these orders.

Here, then, are proposed amendments 1 through 5, including their impacts and who is supporting or opposing them:

Amendment 1 was proposed by the Florida Legislature. It would grant an additional $25,000 homestead exemption for homes worth $125,000 or more. If passed, this amendment would cause local governments—city and county—to lose tax revenue and could result in diminished services. It is opposed by Florida Association of Counties, Florida Education Association, Florida League of Cities, Florida Policy Institute, League of Women Voters of Florida, and Progress Florida.

Amendment 2 also came from the Florida Legislature. It would make permanent what currently is a temporary cap of 10 percent on annual property value increases for vacation homes, apartments, and commercial property. Like Amendment 1, this would impact taxes collected by local authorities. This amendment is supported by Florida Association of Realtors, Florida Chamber of Commerce, and Florida TaxWatch. It is opposed by Florida Education Association and League of Women Voters of Florida.

Amendment 3 came by way of citizen initiative. It would require approval of any new casino gambling through a citizen-initiative constitutional amendment, essentially cutting out legislative action on casino gambling. However, the legislature would retain the right to oversee, regulate, and tax these operations. Support for this amendment comes from Disney Worldwide Services, Florida Chamber of Commerce, Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, League of Women Voters of Florida, No Casinos Inc. and Seminole Tribe of Florida. Opposition comes from Florida Education Association.

Amendment 4 also came from a citizen initiative. It would restore voting rights to felons who have completed their sentences, except for those convicted of murder or felony sex crimes. Supporters of this amendment include American Civil Liberties Union, Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, Floridians for a Fair Democracy, Florida Policy Institute, Florida Education Association, Florida National Organization for Women, League of Women Voters of Florida, and Progress Florida. Opposed is Floridians for a Sensible Voting Rights Policy.

Amendment 5 came out of the Florida Legislature. It would require a two-thirds vote of the state legislature to approve any new or increased taxes or fees, rather than a simple majority. These tax or fee increases would have to be voted on as stand-alone bills, and not bundled with other measures. This requirement would apply at the state level only, not at the local governmental level. Supporting this proposal are Florida TaxWatch and Florida Chamber of Commerce. Opposed are Florida Education Association, Florida Policy Institute, League of Women Voters of Florida, and Progress Florida.

Next week’s article will pick up with Amendment 6.

You Should Also Read:
2018 Florida Midterm Elections
A History of the Florida Constitution

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