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State constitutional amendments | Statewide

The state Legislature has proposed 11 amendments to the state Constitution, all of which require voter approval. Amendments must receive 60 percent of the vote in order to pass. There is no Amendment 7. A legal challenge by its opponents led to the rewriting of some of the ballot language and, consequently, its reinstatement on the ballot as Amendment 8.

Information compiled by Times staff writers Matt Riva and Aaron Sharockman, Florida Trend and the Collins Center for Public Policy

What it saysWho does this affect?What does it do?Where did it come from?Are there any other effects?
Amendment 1Proposing an amendment to the state Constitution to prohibit laws or rules from compelling any person or employer to purchase, obtain, or otherwise provide for health care coverage.This amendment would indirectly affect every citizen of Florida, but have no effect on the federal Affordable Care Act, also known as "Obamacare."Amendment 1 would prohibit any law or rule up to the state level from forcing citizens to buy health insurance. Passage would send a message that a majority of Florida voters are against the individual mandate, and that message might become ammunition for lawmakers vowing to overturn the federal Affordable Care Act.The proposal was championed by Sen. Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island. It is a rehash of an earlier proposal that was rejected by the Florida Supreme Court.No budget impact. Could prevent Florida from implementing a Massachusetts-like health care law if the Affordable Care Act is one day repealed.
Amendment 2Proposing an amendment to the state Constitution to expand the availability of the property discount on the homesteads of veterans who became disabled as the result of a combat injury to include those who were not Florida residents when they entered the military.Disabled veterans who currently have homesteaded property in Florida.This amendment would expand an existing homestead property tax exemption for disabled veterans who were Florida residents when they entered the military to any veterans disabled as a result of combat.Florida has a long history of offering property tax breaks to its permanent residents. One of those tax breaks allows a homeowner to claim a $50,000 tax exemption on their primary residence, what is commonly known as a homesteaded property.Could cost local governments about $7.6 million per year in reduced property taxes. Proponents say it will attract more home buyers to the state.
Amendment 3Proposing an amendment to the state Constitution that replaces the existing state revenue limitation based on Florida personal income growth with a new state revenue limitation based on inflation and population changes.Primarily the Legislature.Florida has a constitutional limit to how much tax money it can use for state spending, and that limit is currently defined by personal income growth. Amendment 3 would recalculate that limit from now on to be based on inflation and population changes. The net effect is that the state could use the same amount that it had in the previous year, plus whatever changes apply due to inflation and population flux.Backers Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale, and Rep. Steve Precourt, R-Orlando, say the revenue cap is good because it protects the economy and limits government spending. Opponents fear catastrophic results during a recession or if a natural disaster strikes. With strict revenue limits in place, the state might be hard-pressed to fund necessary services.Amendment 3 authorizes several ways for the state to increase the revenue limit in any given year, for example, by a supermajority vote of the Legislature or a referendum allowing voters to decide.
Amendment 4Proposing an amendment to the state Constitution that makes several changes to property tax rules. Most notably, the amendment reduces from 10 percent to 5 percent the limitation on annual changes in assessments of non-homestead real property.Anyone who owns or pays taxes on property in Florida.For those who pay taxes on non-homestead properties, the maximum annual increase in taxable value of those properties would be reduced from 10 percent to 5 percent. For first-time home buyers (those who have not owned a home in Florida in the past three years), Amendment 4 would provide an extra homestead exemption up to $150,000 past the initial $50,000, phased out over five years. And it allows for the Florida Legislature to repeal Florida's "recapture" rule, which causes taxable property values to rise even when market values have dropped.The amendment was struck from the ballot by a court challenge in 2009, and since then, lawmakers have been resurrecting the proposal. Currently, the amendment is backed by Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, and Rep. Chris Dorworth, R-Lake Mary.Assuming tax rates remain the same, local governments stand to lose about $273 million in 2013, with revenue shrinking by $600 million by 2016.
Amendment 5Proposing an amendment to the state Constitution that requires Senate confirmation of a justice of the Supreme Court before the appointee can take office. The amendment also makes it easier for the Legislature to overturn court rules.The legislative and judicial branches.Amendment 5 makes it easier for the Legislature to repeal court rules, and then makes it harder for the court to override the Legislature's decision. It also allows for judicial nominating and qualifications commissions' rules to be repealed by a majority vote of any legislators present at that vote. It gives the Senate 90 days to reject the governor's nomination to the state Supreme Court.House Speaker Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park, originally proposed more dramatic changes to the state's courts. In addition to giving confirmation power to the Senate over Supreme Court nominees, Cannon proposed adding three justices to the Supreme Court and then splitting the court into two five-member courts. Amid backlash, Cannon withdrew his call to split the court and characterized his proposal as a starting point for discussions about reforming the court.No budget impact.
Amendment 6Proposing an amendment to the state Constitution providing that public funds may not be expended for any abortion or for health benefits coverage that includes coverage of abortion.Anyone seeking an abortion in Florida.The amendment prohibits spending public funds on health benefits that include coverage of abortion, but it would not apply to expenditures required by federal law, which include an abortion to save the life of the mother or pregnancies resulting from rape and incest. It also exempts abortions from the privacy clause of the state's Constitution.For several decades, federal law has prohibited the expenditure of federal funds for most abortions (exceptions include rape, incest and medical conditions that threaten the mother's life). If passed, Amendment 6 would simply copy those restrictions into the state Constitution.No budget impact.
Amendment 8Proposing an amendment to the state Constitution that deletes the prohibition against using revenues from the public treasury directly or indirectly in aid of any church, sect, or religious denomination or in aid of any sectarian institution.Religious institutions.Repeals the Florida Constitution's prohibition on state funding of religious organizations.Amendment 8 passed the Legislature largely along party lines, with Republicans, like sponsors Sen. Thad Altman, R-Melbourne, Rep. Scott Plakon, R-Longwood, and Rep. Steve Precourt, R-Orlando, in support and Democrats in opposition. An important subplot within Amendment 8 concerns its impact on school voucher programs. Past programs that included religiously affiliated schools have been deemed unconstitutional partly due to the "no aid" provision. Passage of Amendment 8 would remove that obstacle to restarting voucher programs.
Amendment 9Proposing an amendment to the state Constitution to authorize the Legislature to provide by general law ad valorem homestead property tax relief to the surviving spouse of a military veteran who died from service-connected causes while on active duty or to the surviving spouse of a first responder who died in the line of duty.Surviving spouses of veterans or first responders.Amendment 9 gives a full property tax exemption on homes to surviving spouses of veterans or first responders killed in the line of duty.State law has granted this property tax exemption to eligible military spouses since 1997. However, the exemption was never enshrined in the state Constitution. If passed, this proposed amendment enshrines that exemption in the state Constitution.Without knowing how many surviving spouses may be eligible in any given year, it is difficult to calculate the economic impact on property tax revenues with certainty.
Amendment 10Proposing an amendment to the state Constitution to provide an exemption from ad valorem taxes levied by counties, municipalities, school districts, and other local governments on tangible personal property if the assessed value of an owner's tangible personal property is greater than $25,000 but less than $50,000.Small-business owners and local governments.This amendment would double the tangible personal property tax exemption (taxes on furniture, fixtures, machinery, tools, shelving, signs and equipment used in a business or to earn income) and allow local governments to increase that exemption.One of the few amendments that Gov. Rick Scott is a proponent of, Amendment 10 is sponsored by Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice, and Rep. Eric Eisnaugle, R-Orlando.Statewide, the additional exemption (from $25,000 to $50,000) would reduce property tax collections across the state by a combined $61 million over its first three years, according to the state Revenue Estimating Conference, which calculates the anticipated fiscal impact of proposed amendments.
Amendment 11Proposing an amendment to the state Constitution to allow counties and municipalities to grant an additional homestead tax exemption equal to the assessed value of homestead property if the property has a just value less than $250,000 to an owner who has maintained permanent residency on the property for not less than 25 years, who has attained age 65, and who has a low household income as defined by general law.Low-income seniors who have lived in the same home (of value less than $250,000) for 25 years or more.Allows counties and municipalities to grant an additional homestead tax exemption for senior citizens with an annual household income less than $27,030 and with homes valued less than $250,000.Voters in 1998 approved a measure that authorized the Legislature to allow cities and counties to grant a homestead exemption up to $25,000 to seniors over 65 whose household income (at the time of the bill's passage) did not exceed $24,200. That homestead exemption was in addition to the $50,000 in exemptions extended to all Florida homeowners.If every city and county in Florida were to approve the exemption, it would cost those local governments an estimated $9.1 million in fiscal year 2014-15 and $9.4 million in 2015-16.
Amendment 12Proposing an amendment to the state Constitution to replace the president of the Florida Student Association with the chairman of the council of state university student body presidents as the student member of the Board of Governors of the State University System and to require that the Board of Governors organize such council of state university student body presidents.The Board of Governors, which oversees the state university system and, indirectly, all higher-education students in Florida.Currently, the student representative on the Board of Governors is the chairman of the Florida Student Association, which was established to serve as a council consisting of the student body presidents from each of the state universities (Florida State University does not participate). This amendment requires the board to organize its own council of state university student body presidents and instate that chairman as the student representative on the board.Florida State University, which does not participate in the Florida Student Association, has been aggressively lobbying for years for a change in the selection process of the student representative of the Board of Governors.No budget impact; amendment could affect the Florida Student Association.

In-depth look at the 11 Florida constitutional amendments

In-depth look at the 11 Florida constitutional amendments 10/17/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 17, 2012 2:11pm]
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