This series on the four constitutional amendments on the Nov. 6 ballot was provided by the St. Petersburg Area League of Women Voters.
Amendments to the Florida Constitution must be approved by a majority of people voting on them in a general or special election. Amendments can be placed on the ballot in five ways: joint resolutions approved by a three-fifths vote of both houses of the Legislature; action of the Constitutional Revision Commission, which convenes every 20 years; citizen petition initiatives, requiring signatures equaling 8 percent of votes cast in the last preceding general election; action of a Constitutional Convention, convened by citizen petition initiative; and action by the Taxation and Budget Reform Commission, which convenes every 10 years.
Of the 79 constitutional amendments placed on the Florida ballot since 1968, 65 were joint resolutions of the Legislature, six were citizen initiatives, and eight were proposed by the Constitutional Revision Commission. Three of the citizen initiatives have been approved: the Sunshine Amendment, the Florida Lottery, and English as the official language in Florida. As of April 30, 1990, 10 officially approved petition initiatives were active. Florida is among a minority of states (15) that provide for constitutional amendment by citizen initiative.
The four amendments on the Nov. 6 ballot (called propositions) are all joint resolutions of the Legislature. Propositions 1, 2 and 3 were approved during the 1989 session, and No. 4 during the 1990 session. Propositions 2, 3 and 4 are similar to petition initiatives. Although the petitions contain more restrictive language than exists in the joint resolutions, at least two of the three sponsors of the petitions are satisfied with the joint resolution language.