NIE Tampa Bay Times Election 2012

2012 Proposed Constitutional Amendments

Eleven proposed constitutional amendments will appear on the General Election ballot on November 6, 2012. Below is a brief summary of each proposed amendment prepared by the nonprofit, nonpartisan Collins Center for Public Policy.

Named after former Florida Governor LeRoy Collins, the Collins Center for Public Policy was established in 1988 to seek out creative, nonpartisan solutions to Florida’s toughest issues.

The Collins Center’s analysis of these proposed constitutional amendments provides explanations of the proposals along with arguments for and against them. For more in-depth information, click on each link for more information on the proposed amendment.

Amendment 1 - Health Care Services

  • Title on ballot: Health Care Services
  • Sponsor/Originator: 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.

Amendment 2 - Veteran’s Property Tax Discount

  • Title on Ballot: Veterans Disabled Due To Combat Injury; Homestead Property Tax Discount
  • Sponsor/Originator: 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.

Amendment 3 - State Revenue Limitation

  • Title on Ballot: State Government Revenue Limitation
  • Sponsor/Originator: 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.

Amendment 4 - Property tax limitations; property value decline; reduction for non-homesteaded assessment increases; delay of scheduled repeal

  • Title on Ballot: Property Tax Limitations; Property Value Decline; Reduction For Nonhomestead Assessment Increases; Delay of Scheduled Repeal
  • 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.

Amendment 5 - State Courts

  • Title on ballot: State Courts
  • Sponsor/Originator: 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.

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

  • Title on Ballot: Prohibition on Public Funding of Abortions; Construction of Abortion Rights
  • Sponsor/Originator: 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.

Amendment 7

This proposal was known as Amendment 7 until a legal challenge by opponents led to the rewriting of some of the ballot language and its reinstatement on the ballot as Amendment 8. This is the reason there is no Amendment 7 on the 2012 ballot.

Amendment 8 - Religious Freedom

  • Title on Ballot: Religious Freedom
  • 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. Note: This proposal was known as Amendment 7 until a legal challenge by opponents led to the rewriting of some of the ballot language and its reinstatement on the ballot as Amendment 8. This is the reason there is no Amendment 7 on the 2012 ballot.

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

  • Title on Ballot: Homestead Property Tax Exemption for Surviving Spouse of Military Veteran or First Responder
  • Sponsor/Originator: 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.

Amendment 10 - Tangible Personal Property Tax Exemption

  • Title on Ballot: Tangible Personal Property Tax Exemption
  • Sponsor/Originator: 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.

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

  • Title on Ballot: Additional Homestead Exemption; Low-Income Seniors Who Maintain Long-Term Residency on Property; Equal to Assessed Value
  • Sponsor/Originator: 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.

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

  • Title on Ballot: Appointment of Student Body President to Board of Governors of the State University System
  • Sponsor/Originator: 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.