Florida’s general election is only a few weeks away. In addition to who they prefer as the next governor, Florida voters will also cast their vote on 12 amendments. There are 20 topics weaved into several of the amendments, which might be confusing for even the well-versed voter.
HelloSWFL’s politic beat reporters, Anna Kohls and Bo Evans , spent several days fleshing out each amendment and topics to get a better understanding of what Florida voters are in for when they head to the polls on Nov. 6, 2018.
Amendment 1: Your Florida home's property tax is at stake
If you own a home in the state of Florida, and it is your primary place of residence, your homestead property tax could be changed.
Amendment 2: The 10% cap on non-homestead properties is up for debate
The amendment is a 10 percent cap that protects non-homestead properties.
Renters and people who do not live in Florida full-time. The amendment is supposed to expire Jan. 2019 unless it receives 3/5 supermajority.
A yes vote means property owners will be given an additional $25,000 of property tax exemption for a total of $75,000 on homes, which are $125,000 in value.
A no vote means the exemptions will stay the same at $50,000.
Amendment 3: Who will control gambling in Florida
The expansion of casino gambling in Florida is in your hands.
Amendment 4: What about convicted felons and their voting rights?
Ex-convicts want their voting privileges restored sooner, rather than later.
Amendment 5: 2/3 Vote = Supermajority
If you want to have a say on who can raise taxes, pay close attention to Amendment No. 5. Right now the legislature needs a simple majority -- 50 percent plus one -- to impose a new state tax or fee or raise existing taxes or fees. If enough people vote in favor of the amendment, then legislature will need a supermajority or a 2/3 vote to impose new state taxes or fees.
Amendment 6: Marsy's Law
There are three parts to this amendment. One part of the amendment will focus on the victims of a crime. The second could allow Florida judges to sit on the bench until they are 75-years-old. The third is provided in the video below:
Amendment 7: First Responder and Military Member Survivor Benefits; Public Colleges and Universities
There are three parts to Amendment 7.
The first part will give benefits to family of military members or first responders, who were killed while on duty.
The second part will require a university to have a 2/3 vote to raise college fees.
And the third will put the state and community colleges in Florida’s constitution.
Amendment 9: Offshore Oil & Gas Drilling and Vaping all Rolled into One
Voters have to decide whether they are for or against offshore drilling. And in the same amendment, voters will have to figure out if they want to add vaping to the list of “no smoking” laws in the state of Florida.
Amendment 10: Four in One
There are four topics to Amendment 10.
Topic 1 - Lawmakers want the start date for the legislative session to start on the second Tuesday in January .
Topic 2 - Create a Counter-Terrorism office
Topic 3 - Require a State Veterans Affairs Department
Topic 4 - Election of county-level offices, which includes sheriff, tax collector, supervisor of elections, etc.
Amendment 11: Removing complex language
Amendment 11 may sound simple, but there is some complexity to it. It is all about removing the language.
Amendment 12: All Eyes Are on Lobbyists and Public Officers
Can elected officials be paid lobbyists after they leave office?
This one is straightforward. Public officers are not allowed to lobby and get paid while they are in office. They will have to wait at least six years after they have left office to be a paid lobbyist.
In addition, public officer or employees are not allowed to use their position for personal gain.
Amendment 13: End Dog Racing in Florida
The amendment would ban all dog racing in the state after December 2020.
It is one of the simpler proposals on the ballot. A yes vote means dog racing in Florida would be banned.
A no vote means dog racing would continue as it has in the past.