A Short Course on the 11 Proposed Amendments to the Florida Constitution on the November 2012 General Election Ballot

by Carlton Fields
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[author: Rheb Harbison]

The Legislature has placed 11 proposed constitutional amendments on the ballot for the General Election to be held November 6, 2012. There will be no citizen initiated proposed constitutional amendments on the ballot this year. 

Proposed constitutional amendments passed by the Florida Legislature are not subject to gubernatorial review, but each is subject to approval by Florida voters. Proposed constitutional amendments require a 60 percent voter approval to be adopted. 

The Collins Center for Public Policy[1] identifies, researches, frames and implements state-level public policy issues. The Center has prepared easy to understand nonpartisan information for voters about each proposed amendment. This article compiles the Center’s analytical work around the proposed constitutional amendments.  The compilation includes issue framing, analysis, policy considerations, and arguments for and against each proposed amendment. 

►  Amendment 1:
Health Care Services

      Amends: Article 1, Section 28, Florida Constitution

      Sponsor:  The Florida Legislature

What it would do: This would add an amendment to the state constitution that attempts to prohibit the government from requiring individuals to purchase health insurance.

If You Vote Yes:  A “yes” vote means you want the Florida Constitution to include a provision that prohibits the government from requiring you to purchase health insurance.

If You Vote No:  A “no” vote means you do not want the Florida Constitution to include a provision that prohibits the government from requiring you to purchase health insurance.

To read The Collins Center for Public Policy analysis of Amendment 1, including arguments for and against, see:  Amendment 1

To read the full text of the amendment, see: Amendment 1, Full Text

Amendment 2:
Veteran’s Property Tax Discount

      Amends:  Article VII, Section 6 and Article Xii, Section 32, Florida Constitution

      Sponsor:  The Florida Legislature

What it would do:  This amendment would allow certain disabled veterans, who were not Florida residents prior to entering military service, to qualify for a discount on their property taxes.

If You Vote Yes:   A “yes” vote means you want the state to give a property tax discount to disabled veterans who moved to Florida after entering the military.

If You Vote No:   A “no” vote means you do not want to extend the tax discount to disabled veterans who moved to Florida after entering the military.

To read The Collins Center for Public Policy analysis of Amendment 2, including arguments for and against, see:  Amendment 2

To read the full text of the amendment, see:  Amendment 2, Full Text

Amendment 3:
State Government Revenue Limitation

Amends: Article VII, Sections 1 and 19 & Article XII, Section 32, Florida Constitution

Sponsor: The Florida Legislature

What it would do:  This amendment would set a state revenue limit each year, based on a formula that considers population growth and inflation instead of using the current method of calculating the revenue limit based on personal income.

If You Vote Yes:  A “yes” vote means you want the state to change the way it calculates its revenue limit.

If You Vote No:  A “no” vote means you do not want the state to change the way it calculates its revenue limit.

To read The Collins Center for Public Policy analysis of Amendment 3, including arguments for and against, see:  Amendment 3

To read the full text of the amendment, see: Amendment 3, Full Text 

► Amendment 4:
Property Tax Limitations; Property Value Decline; Reduction for Nonhomestead Assessment Increases; Delay of Scheduled Repeal

Amends: Article VII, Sections 4, 6 & Article XII, Sections 27, 32, 33, Florida Constitution

Sponsor: The Florida Legislature

What it would do:  Reduce the maximum annual increase in taxable value of non-homestead properties from 10 percent to 5 percent; provide an extra homestead exemption for first-time home buyers; allow lawmakers to prohibit assessment increases for properties with decreasing market values.

If you vote yes:  A “yes” vote means you favor the enhanced tax breaks being proposed.

If you vote no:  A “no” vote means you are against the enhanced tax breaks being proposed.  

To read The Collins Center for Public Policy analysis of Amendment 4, including arguments for and against, see:  Amendment 4

To read the full text of the amendment, see:  Amendment 4, Full Text

Amendment 5:
State Courts

Amends: Article V, Sections 2, 11, and 12, Florida Constitution

Sponsor: The Florida Legislature

What it would do: This measure would provide for Senate confirmation of Supreme Court justices; give lawmakers control over changes to the rules governing the court system; and direct the Judicial Qualifications Commission, which investigates judicial misconduct complaints, to make its files available to the Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives.

If you vote yes:  A “yes” vote means you want the Senate to have confirmation power over Supreme Court appointees, and some authority over changes to the rules that govern the state’s courts. You also want to grant the House access to Judicial Qualifications Commission’s investigative files on judges.

If you vote no:  A “no” vote means you do not want these proposed changes made to the state’s judiciary.

To read The Collins Center for Public Policy analysis of Amendment 5, including arguments for and against, see: Amendment 5

To read the full text of the amendment, see:  Amendment 5, Full Text

Amendment 6:
Prohibition on Public Funding of Abortions; Construction of Abortion Rights

Amends:  Article I, Section 28, Florida Constitution

Sponsor: The Florida Legislature

What it would do:  This amendment would make the existing federal ban on public funding for most abortions part of the state constitution. It would narrow the scope of a state privacy law that is sometimes used in Florida to challenge abortion laws.

If you vote yes:  A “yes” vote means you support putting the existing federal ban on the use of public funds for abortions into the state constitution; and you support eliminating the state’s privacy right with respect to a woman’s right to choose.

If you vote no:   A “no” vote means you are against placing the existing federal ban on using public funds for abortions into the state constitution; and you are against eliminating the state’s privacy right with respect to a woman’s right to choose.

To read The Collins Center for Public Policy analysis of Amendment 6, including arguments for and against, see: Amendment 6

To read the full text of the amendment, see:  Amendment 6, Full Text

 Amendment 7: Removed from the Ballot

► Amendment 8:
Religious Freedom

Amends: Article 1, Section 3, Florida Constitution

Sponsor: The Florida Legislature

What it would do: This amendment would remove the prohibition in Florida’s Constitution that prevents religious institutions from receiving taxpayer funding.

If You Vote Yes:  A “yes” vote means you want to remove from the Florida Constitution a prohibition against the state funding religious institutions and replace it with a provision that prohibits the state from denying funding to institutions based on religious affiliations.

If You Vote No: A “no” vote means you want to retain the provision in the Florida Constitution that prohibits the state from funding religious institutions.

To read The Collins Center for Public Policy analysis of Amendment 8, including arguments for and against, see: Amendment 8

To read the full text of the amendment, see: Amendment 8, Full Text

Amendment 9: 
Homestead Property Tax Exemption for Surviving Spouse of Military Veteran or First Responder

Amends: Article VII, Section 6 & Article XII, Section 32, Florida Constitution

Sponsor: The Florida Legislature

What it would do:  This would grant a full property tax exemption to the surviving spouses of military veterans who die while on active duty and to the surviving spouses of first responders who die in the line of duty.

If You Vote Yes:  A “yes” vote means you want the state to grant the full homestead exemption to the surviving spouses.

If You Vote No:  A “no” vote means you do not want the state to grant the full homestead exemption.

To read The Collins Center for Public Policy analysis of Amendment 9, including arguments for and against, see: Amendment 9

To read the full text of the amendment, see: Amendment 9, Full Text

► Amendment 10:
Tangible Personal Property Tax Exemption

Amends: Article VII, Section 3 & Article XII, Section 32, Florida Constitution

Sponsor: The Florida Legislature

What it would do:  This amendment would double the tangible personal property tax exemption and allow local governments to increase the exemption.

If You Vote Yes:  A “yes” vote means you want to double the tangible personal property tax exemption and allow cities and counties to expand the exemptions beyond that.

If You Vote No:   A “no” vote means you do not want to double the tangible personal property tax exemption and you do not want to allow cities and counties to expand the exemptions.

To read The Collins Center for Public Policy analysis of Amendment 10, including arguments for and against, see: Amendment 10

To read the full text of the amendment, see:  Amendment 10, Full Text

Amendment 11:
Additional Homestead Exemption; Low-Income Seniors Who Maintain Long-Term Residency on Property; Equal to Assessed Value

Amends: Article VII, Section 6, Florida Constitution

Sponsor: The Florida Legislature

What it would do:  This amendment would give an additional property tax exemption to low-income seniors who have lived in their home for more than 25 years.

If You Vote Yes:  A “yes” vote means you think cities and counties should have the authority to grant a full property tax discount to eligible seniors.

If You Vote No:  A “no” vote means you do not think that cities and counties should have the authority to grant a full property tax discount to eligible seniors.

To read The Collins Center for Public Policy analysis of Amendment 11, including arguments for and against, see: Amendment 11

To read the full text of the amendment, see:  Amendment 11, Full Text

Amendment 12:
Appointment of Student Body President to Board of Governors of the State University System

Amends: Article IX, Section 7, Florida Constitution

Sponsor: The Florida Legislature

What it would do:  This amendment would change the way the state selects the student representative on the state university system’s Board of Governors, which oversees the university system.

If You Vote Yes:  A “yes” vote means you want the state to create a new council of university student presidents from which the student representative to the Board of Governors will be chosen.

If You Vote No:  A “no” vote means you want to keep the current system of selecting the student representative to the Board of Governors.

To read The Collins Center for Public Policy analysis of Amendment 12, including arguments for and against, see: Amendment 12

To read the full text of the amendment, see: Amendment 12, Full Text


[1] This article was complied in substantial part from work produced by the Collins Center for Public Policy with  permission.

 

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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