Florida Amendment 1 (Legislature)

Homestead Exemption Increase Amendment

“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.”


The Florida Legislature placed Amendment 1 on the 2018 general election ballot. If approved by the voters, it will expand existing homestead property tax exemptions. Currently, there is a full Homestead Exemption on the first $25,000 of assessed property value. There is no exemption on the value between $25,000 and $50,000. The “Second Exemption” is for the value between $50,000 and $75,000. There is no exemption on the value between $75,000 and $100,000. The proposed Amendment 1, also referred to as the ”Third Exemption” would exempt the value between $100,000 and $125,000.

Not all homeowners would see a decrease of their tax bill. Only those with homes valued over $100,000. The impact of Amendment 1 is expected to cost $644.7 million per year— meaning local governments will collect less revenue from property taxes. Local governments argue this will result in either service reductions or tax hikes on other non-exempt properties.

The Florida League of Cities is adamantly opposing Amendment 1. They state: “Amendment 1 isn’t what it seems. The Tallahassee politicians call it a tax break, but it’s really a tax SHIFT. … the benefits of Amendment 1 will only apply to some homeowners, and shift the burden of paying taxes to all other citizens. … Florida’s property tax system is a complicated mess and Amendment 1 makes it worse, more complicated and less fair—shifting a bigger burden onto small business owners, manufacturers and working families.”

News Links

How much could Amendment 1 save you in property taxes? http://www.tampabay.com/florida-politics/buzz/2018/05/16/how-much-could-amendment-1-save-you-in-property-taxes-pinellas-appraiser-mike-twitty-created-a-statewide-tool-to-estimate-potential-savings/

Tool created by property Appraisers to predict impact: http://www.3hxestimator.org/hb3/hb3.php

Amendment 1: what you need to know by Florida League of Cities https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pqNcRfhk9Q

Know before you vote: Amendment 1. http://www.greenepublishing.com/know-before-you-vote-amendment-one/



Florida Amendment 2 (Legislature)

Limitation 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.”


The Florida Legislature voted to place this amendment on the ballot to make permanent the limit property tax increases on non-homestead properties. This provision was first put in place in 2008, when voters passed the non-homestead 10 percent tax cap in. This safeguard has helped to stem the multi-billion dollar tax shift from homestead to non-homestead properties. For example, prior to the non-homestead tax cap, nearly three out of four non-homestead properties in Florida had taxes increases of more than 10 percent year to year. In 2006, 30 percent of non-homestead properties were hit with an 80 percent hike from just the year before.

This cap is scheduled to expire on January 1, 2019. If the amendment were to fail, and the provision were to expire, it could result in Floridians paying as much as $700 million more in property taxes annually according to a study done by Florida Tax-Watch.

The Florida Realtors and the Florida Chamber of Commerce are actively supporting Amendment 2. “Making the 10 percent non-homestead tax cap permanent in Florida impacts everybody in the state. It allows business owners to plan for the future by having a better grasp on their budgets, so they can expand and create more jobs. It helps renters continue to afford their housing as they save to one day purchase a home,” said Carrie O’Rourke, Vice President of Public Policy for the Florida Association of REALTORS®.

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Amendment 1 and 2 Note:

Florida does not have a state income tax, so property taxes are Florida’s largest state and local tax source. Amendment 1 and 2 reflect the complicated dynamic at play – wanting to limit the tax burden on property owners, but in doing so limiting the revenue for government budgets, resulting in reduced services or tax increases on non-exempt properties or raising other government fees.



Florida Amendment 3 (Petition)

Voter Approval of Casino Gambling Initiative

This amendment ensures that Florida voters shall have the exclusive right to decide whether to authorize casino gambling in the State of Florida. This amendment requires a vote by citizens’ initiative pursuant to Article XI, section 3, in order for casino gambling to be authorized under Florida law. This section amends this Article; and also affects Article XI, by making citizens’ initiatives the exclusive method of authorizing casino gambling.”


The initiative was put on the ballot via petition and is being supported mainly by a group called Voters in Charge. The purpose of this initiative is to add an amendment to the state constitution saying that Floridians, by their vote, have the right to decide whether to authorize casino gambling in Florida (slot machines, card games, etc.) The intent behind this amendment is to make it harder to authorize gambling in the state of Florida. .

It would be harder to authorize gambling in the state if the amendment passes because it would require 60% of Floridians to decide if they want to expand it. The two main supporters of the Voters in Charge are Disney and the Seminole Tribe of Florida. These two groups support this measure because they don’t want the competition that would come from more destination casinos in the state of Florida.

Expansion of gambling has been an issue the state has grappled with for years, as they oversee negotiating terms of existing authorized gaming with the Seminole tribe. The issue has been further complicated since 2012, when voters in eight counties, including Brevard, voted to expand gambling in their county by allowing slot machines at existing dog or horse racing facilities.

Amendment 3 would not end gambling in Florida. The Seminole tribe is a sovereign nation and would be allowed to continue operating their casinos on their lands. However, it would take away the ability of local communities to decide whether to expand gaming or not in their own community by requiring all questions of gambling expansion to be made by statewide ballot.

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Florida Amendment 4 (Petition)

Voting Rights Restoration for Felons Initiative

“Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, any disqualification from voting arising from a felony conviction shall terminate and voting rights shall be restored upon completion of all terms of sentence including parole or probation. (b) No person convicted of murder or a felony sexual offense shall be qualified to vote until restoration of civil rights.”


This initiative was put on the ballot via a petition that one of the support organizations, Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, put on. The purpose of this amendment is to immediately give voting rights back to felons after they completed all terms of their sentence. As of right now, felons have to wait until and unless a state board restores their individual voting rights. This initiative would not include any one convicted of a felony murder or sexual offense.

3 Democratic gubernatorial candidates have come out in support of Amendment 4, because Florida is one of only four states that still has a system that excludes so many people from voting, and they believe that these people deserve second chances.

The opposition to this initiative is Florida Speaker Richard Corcoran and gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam. The only official organization against this measure is Floridians For A Sensible Voting Rights Policy. The executive director says they oppose this measure because “it [the initiative] treats all other felonies as though they were the same. It’s a blanket, automatic restoration of voting rights. If it gets on the ballot, your only choice will be an all or nothing, yes or no vote on the amendment. If it passes, neither you nor anyone else will ever be allowed to consider the specifics of the crime or the post-release history of the criminal before that new voter registration card is issued”

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Florida Amendment 5 (Legislature)

Two-Thirds Vote of Legislature to Increase Taxes or Fees Amendment

“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”


This amendment was put on the ballot and proposed by Governor Rick Scott in his last State of the State Address. This amendment would require 2/3 majority of each chamber (house and senate) of the state legislature for any state tax or fee to be raised, or a new one enacted. This amendment would also require that a bill enacting a new or increasing an existing tax or fee contain no other subject, meaning that the bill would have the only the proposed tax, no riders attached.

Besides Rick Scott, 3 numerous other representatives in the Florida legislature agree with this measure. The stated arguments are that it should always be harder for the government to raise taxes on the people. One state Senator who opposes this measure, Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez, D-Miami, believes that this would “tie the hands” of the Legislature in addressing issues. Another state representative, Rep. Joseph Geller says, “I think this is a short-sighted idea. There’s simply no need for this. Have some confidence in the people who will sit in these seats after you are gone.”

While increasing the threshold to pass a tax would guarantee needing a larger coalition for passage, it could also be said that it empowers a minority of legislators to oppose such efforts. This amendment applies only to the state legislature, and the 2/3 requirement would not be imposed on local governing bodies, school boards, or taxes proposed through state or local initiative process.

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Florida Amendment 6: Rights of Crime Victims; Judges (CRC)

Marsy’s Law; Judicial Retirement Age; and Judicial Interpretation of Laws and Rules Amendment

“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 justices and judges from seventy to seventy-five years; deletes authorization to complete judicial term if one-half of term has been served by retirement age.”


This amendment was put on the ballot by the Constitutional Revision Committee. This amendment actually includes three distinct proposals, as the CRC bundled them together to limit the total number of amendments on the Ballot. If you vote yes, you vote yes to all three of the proposals, and if you vote no, you vote no to all 3 of the proposals.

Amendment 6 would give constitutional rights to crime victims, increase the age that require judges to retire from 70 to 75, and would prohibit state courts from referring to administrative agency’s interpretation of a statute or rule in legal cases. Many of Florida Sheriffs have come out in support of Ammendment 6, and Marsy’s Law for All is an organization that supports this measure.

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Florida Amendment 7: First Responder and Military Member Survivor Benefits; Public Colleges and Universities (CRC)

Florida First Responder and Military Member Survivor Benefits, Supermajority Board Votes for College Fees, and State College System Amendment

“Grants mandatory payment of death benefits and waiver of certain educational expenses 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”


This amendment was put on the ballot by the Constitutional Revision Committee. This amendment actually includes three distinct proposals, as the CRC bundled them together to limit the total number of amendments on the Ballot. If you vote yes, you vote yes to all three of the proposals, and if you vote no, you vote no to all 3 of the proposals.

The first proposal would require employers to pay death benefits to the qualifying survivors of first responders who died while on official duty. It also requires the state to pay death benefits to the qualifying survivors of active duty us military member who are accidentally killed or unlawfully and intentionally killed. It will also require the state to waive certain educational expenses to the surviving children of deceased first responder or military member. The second proposal would require a supermajority vote of a college board to raise college fees. The third proposal would add a structure of the state college system to the Florida Constitution. Which would give the state of Florida more control over the state college system.

Perhaps of all the CRC proposals, this one is criticized for combining issues that are not really tied – forcing voters to make tough choices.

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Florida Amendment 8: School Board Term Limits and Duties; Public Schools (CRC)

Florida School Board Term Limits, Allow State to Operate Non-Board Established Schools, and Civic Literacy Amendment

“A proposed revision relating to education; amending Section 4 of Article IX and creating a new section in Article XII of the State Constitution to establish a limitation on the period for which a person may serve as a member of a district school board; amending Section 4 of Article IX of the State Constitution to specify which schools are operated, controlled, and supervised by a school board; and creating a new section in Article IX of the State Constitution to require the Legislature to provide for the promotion of civic literacy in public education.”


This amendment was put on the ballot by the Constitutional Review Committee, and like the previous two amendments, bundled three distinct proposals together. This amendment establishes a term limit for School Board members, allows the state government to operate, control and supervise public schools that were not made by the school board, and requires the legislature to actively promote civic literacy (the knowledge on how to participate in your community) in public education.

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Florida Amendment 9: Prohibits Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling; Prohibits Vaping in Enclosed Indoor Workplaces (CRC)

Florida Ban Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling and Ban Vaping in Enclosed Indoor Workplaces Amendment

“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 vapor ordinances”


This amendment was put on the ballot by the Constitutional Review Committee, and like the previous two amendments, bundled multiple proposals together. This amendment would prohibit drilling for oil off the coast of Florida as well as put into place a measure that would prohibit the use of vapor-generating electronic devices in enclosed indoor workplaces.

In 2016 President Obama imposed a moratorium on new oil and gas drilling off of 120 million acres of the U.S. Outer Continental shelf in the Arctic and Atlantic. In 2017 President Trump repealed this moratorium citing that this would create more American jobs and give America more freedom from foreign oil and gas. This first part of Amendment 9 would ban drilling off of our coast. Much of our economy is reliant on tourism with our beaches, and property taxes paid by our coastal residents and businesses. Even though President Trump has SAID he’d excluded Florida, and by extension the Florida coast, from the drilling proposal, if passed, Amendment 9 would make it clear Florida voters do not want drilling off the coast.

Oil and natural gas industry are the main opposition to this amendment.

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Florida Amendment 10: State and Local Government Structure and Operation (CRC)

Florida State and Local Government Structure Amendment

“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.”


This amendment was put on the ballot about the Constitutional Review Committee, and like the previous amendments, bundled multiple, unrelated, proposals together. This amendment will require the Legislature of Florida to create a Department of Veterans Affairs. Florida had created the Department of Veteran Affairs through a constitutional amendment that allowed them to have 26 executive departments, despite the stated 25 limits in the constitution. This amendment however does not require the state of Florida to create the VA. This amendment would put into the Florida Constitution that the state is required to create the Department of Veteran Affairs.

The second part of the amendment would ban counties from being able to abolish certain offices like sheriff, tax collectors, etc. and require that an election will be held for each of the positions. The third part of this amendment changes the day that the legislative session commencement in even numbered years from March to January. The fourth and last part to this amendment would create the Office of Domestic Security and Counter-terrorism within the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

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Florida Amendment 11: Property Rights; Removal of Obsolete Provision; Criminal Statutes (CRC)

Florida Repeal Prohibition on Aliens’ Property Ownership, Delete Obsolete Provision on High-Speed Rail, and Repeal of Criminal Statutes Effect on Prosecution Amendment

“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.”


This amendment was put onto the ballot by the Constitutional Review Committee. This amendment actually includes three distinct proposals, as the CRC bundled them together to limit the total number of amendments on the Ballot. If you vote yes, you vote yes to all three of the proposals, and if you vote no, you vote no to all 3 of the proposals.

The first part of this measure would remove language in the Florida Constitution that says that people ineligible for citizenship cannot own land. The actual text is “except that the ownership, inheritance, disposition and possession of real property by alien’s ineligible for citizenship may be regulated or prohibited by law.” This amendment would remove this sentence from the Florida Constitution and would not allow the government to control if a noncitizen can own land.

The second part of this amendment would remove language from the constitution that no longer has any power because it has been repealed. The language is about a High-Speed Rail provision that was enacted in 2000 and repealed in 2004, but the language still remains.

The third and last part of this measure would repeal the “Savings Clause” in the Florida Constitution. This clause states that any repeal or amendment of a criminal statute does not affect the sentences or punishment of people prosecuted before the statute was repealed. This amendment would correct this.

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Florida Amendment 12: Lobbying and Abuse of Office by Public Officers (CRC)

Florida Lobbying Restrictions Amendment

“Expands current restrictions on lobbying for compensation by former public officers; creates restrictions on lobbying for compensation by serving public officers and former justices and judges; provides exceptions; prohibits abuse of a public position by public officers and employees to obtain a personal benefit.”


This amendment was put on the ballot by the Constitutional Review Committee. This amendment would prohibit retired judges, for a period of 6 years, from personally representing someone else for money in front of the legislative or executive branches of state government. This amendment would restrict local elected officials from using their office for personal gain.

Often referred to as the “Lobby Ban” amendment, this proposal aims to end what is referred to as the “revolving door” where members of the legislature becoming lobbyists as soon as their team ends. The practices bring ups many ethical concerns, most notably that they get too cozy with special interests while serving in office in hopes of landing a lucrative job in the future.

“I think you ought to choose,” said former Florida Senate President Don Gaetz, the Republican CRC member who is sponsoring the constitutional amendment expanding the lobbying ban. “If you want to be a lobbyist great, be a lobbyist. If you want to public official, be a public official and run for office. But you can’t be both — at least I don’t think you should.”

Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran, who has made expanding the state’s current two-year lobbying ban a top priority, sent a letter to the CRC urging members to approve the amendment, saying the Legislature has been incapable of policing itself.

“Recent legislative attempts to extend the lobby ban and impose stricter ethical requirements have been thwarted by the self-interested politicians we hope to regulate,” Corcoran wrote.

If the six-year lobbying ban becomes law it would be the strongest revolving door law in the nation. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, no state currently has more than a two-year ban on former lawmakers becoming legislative lobbyists.

Amendment 12 is one the few proposed constitutional changes that has broad, bipartisan support. A recent Florida Chamber of Commerce poll showed Amendment 12 had support from 55 percent of voters.

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Florida Amendment 13: Ends Dog Racing (CRC)

Dog Racing Ban

“Phases out commercial dog racing in connection with wagering by 2020. Other gaming activities are not affected”


The amendment was put on the ballot by the Constitutional Review Committee, and is the only one not bundled with other issues. This amendment would phase out commercial dog racing in connection with wagering by 2020. Other gaming activities will not be affected.

The first part of this measure would remove language in the Florida Constitution that says that people ineligible for citizenship cannot own land. The actual text is “except that the ownership, inheritance, disposition and possession of real property by alien’s ineligible for citizenship may be regulated or prohibited by law.” This amendment would remove this sentence from the Florida Constitution and would not allow the government to control if a noncitizen can own land.

Many animal rights groups have organized support for Amendment 13, and are calling it the “The Protect Dogs – Yes on 13” campaign. Owners and operators of existing dog tracks have filed suit to block the amendment from appearing on the ballot, arguing the short ballot language put forth by the CRC misleads voters and fails to mention the loss of revenue to local communities should racing be banned.

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