By B.C. Manion
About 60 people turned out at the Zephyrhills Woman’s Club’s educational forum Oct. 5 to gain a better understanding about the 11 proposed amendments to the Florida Constitution.
Brian Corley, Pasco County supervisor of elections, presented an overview of the possible changes, translating the somewhat complicated language into plain English. He used an analysis prepared by the nonpartisan Collins Center for Public Policy as his guide in describing the options available for early voting and on Election Day Nov. 6.
Amendment 1, Health Care Services: This would add an amendment to the Florida Constitution to include a provision that prohibits the government from requiring you to purchase health insurance.
Amendment 2, Veterans Disabled Due to Combat Injury; Homestead Property Discount: This would allow certain disabled veterans, who were not residents prior to entering the military service, to qualify for a discount on their property taxes.
Amendment 3, State Government Revenue Limitation: This 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 Nonhomestead Assessment Increases; Delay of Scheduled Repeal: This would reduce the maximum annual increase in taxable value for nonhomestead properties from 10 percent to 5 percent; provide an extra homestead exemption for first-time homebuyers and allow lawmakers to prohibit assessment increases for properties with decreasing market values.
Amendment 5, State Courts: This would provide for state Senate confirmation of Florida Supreme Court justices; give lawmakers control of 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 of Public Funding of Abortions; Construction of Abortion Rights: This 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 private law that is sometimes used in Florida to challenge abortion laws.
Amendment 8, Religious Freedom: This would remove the prohibition in the Florida Constitution that prevents religious institutions from receiving taxpayer funding.
Amendment 9, Homestead Property Tax Exemption for Surviving Spouse of Military Veteran or First Responder: This would grant a full property tax exemption to the surviving spouses of military veterans who die while on active duties and to surviving spouses of first responders who die in the line of duty.
Amendment 10, Tangible Personal Property Tax Exemption: This would double the tangible personal property tax exemption and allow local governments to increase that exemption.
Amendment 11, Additional Homestead Exemption; Low-Income Seniors Who Maintain Long-Term Residency on Property; Equal to Assessed Value: This would give an additional property tax exemption to low-income seniors who have lived in their home for more than 25 years if the property has a just value less than $250,000.
Amendment 12, Appointment of Student Body President to Board of Governors of the State University System: This would change the way the state selects the student representative on the state university system’s Board of Governors, which oversees the university system.
There are just 11 amendments, even though the last amendment on the ballot is numbered Amendment 12, Corley noted. That’s because the Florida Supreme Court had issues with the clarity of Amendment 7. That amendment was rewritten to address the court’s concerns and it is now Amendment 8, Corley explained.
Corley said his office takes no position on any of the amendments or any of the political races.
Want to know more?
Check out these websites for additional information:
Be prepared for voting day
Pasco County Supervisor of Elections Brian Corley expects more than 75 percent of registered voters to take part in this year’s general election. As such, lines at polling places on Nov. 6 may be lengthy.
To help speed things up, Corley advises voters to fill out their sample ballot so they can get through the voting process more quickly.
He also advises those who have moved to make sure they have updated their address with his office.
For additional information, call (800) 851-8754.
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.