For a complete account of the Miami Herald recommendations for the Nov. 6 accepted election, bang here.
So why are there so abounding amendments on the election this November? Here’s the explanation:
Once every 20 years, Florida’s Constitution provides for the conception of a 37-member Constitution Revision Commission. Its assignment is to adduce changes to the certificate for voters to consider.
This year, there are 12 amendments on the ballot. The Florida Supreme Cloister removed Alteration 8, and three others are actuality challenged. The CRC put eight amendments on the ballot. The blow were generated by citizens’ petition.
The CRC’s amendments present a claiming to the voters, and we anticipate that it is for awful reasons. The CRC chose to “bundle” questions, a address that has been acclimated afore to combine, or “log-roll,” below citizen-friendly proposals with added favorable ones to actuate voters. An archetype is Alteration 9, which asks voters to adjudge whether to ban adopted oil conduct and additionally to ban e-cigarettes at workplaces.
An alteration needs at atomic 60 percent of votes to become allotment of the Florida Constitution.
Here’s what this year’s amendments do:
Increased Address Acreage Tax Exemption: This alteration is an oddity. It would put money in homeowners’ pockets by accouterment addition $25,000 address tax absolution for backdrop adjourned at $100,000 or more. Typical acreage owners would see their tax bills bead by about $250 per year, admiral estimate. School taxes would be exempt.
But voters shouldn’t be fooled. Tax savings, aside, homeowners will pay, one way or another. Bounded governments acquaint that Alteration 1 could aching the allotment of acute casework such as badge and blaze protection. Statewide, the absolution would amount counties and cities about $750 actor the aboriginal year, according to the Florida Association of Counties. But proponents adverse that acreage belief are accepted to acceleration in the advancing years, so bounded governments should be able to accomplish up shortfalls. But we’re not assertive that this abridgement will abide to hum forth indefinitely. And again what? We anticipate that the appulse to casework would be too great, and it may amount taxpayers far added in the continued run if this tax breach is approved.
Limitations on Acreage Tax Assessments: This alteration would assuredly accept an already-existing cap that banned property-tax appraisal increases to 10 percent annually for “non-homestead” acreage such as bartering or rental properties. The purpose is to anticipate the aition of the cap appointed to expire in 2019. Small business-owners and renters would be hit abnormally — and unfairly — hard.
Three South Florida acreage appraisers accept accounting an op-ed in Sunday’s assessment folio acknowledging the amendment. They say: “A Yes vote will avoid a abrupt and abundantly abrupt tax crisis for added than 530,000 residential and business acreage owners in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.” They are in the banking trenches; we’ll chase their admonition — voters should, too.
Voter Control of Bank in Florida: If approved, this high-interest alteration gives voters the absolute appropriate to accredit expansions of bank bank in Florida. That ascendancy currently rests with both the Legislature and voters.
In effect, this would anticipate the Legislature from casual laws to aggrandize bank or put an alteration on the election to do so, putting the adeptness of bringing added bank bank on residents. However, voters in one allotment of the accompaniment could adjudge who should get casinos for added genitalia of the accompaniment — like Miami-Dade. That’s concerning. And this would account beyond companies that accept the assets to accumulate hundreds of bags signature bare for a referendum, for or against.
But those who altercate casinos, like this Editorial Board, accept appear out able in abutment of Alteration 3 — verbally and financially. They accommodate the League of Women Voters, No Casinos, the Fontainebleau hotel, additional the Walt Disney Co. and the casino-operating Seminole Tribe, which, of course, accept franchises to protect.
Voting Apology Amendment: This is the best transformative alteration on the ballot. If approved, 1.6 actor Floridians — above prisoners — would accept their voting rights adequate afterwards they accomplishment their sentences. Ideally, they would not accept to delay bristles years to administer to the state; they would not be subjected to a humiliating, approximate — and political — action alone to accept Florida’s Charity Lath adios their requests because, well, aloof because.
Florida is one of alone three states that does not automatically restore ex-felons’ voting rights. We’ll be blunt: It is a decades-old aborigine aishment tactic, abiding in Jim Crow laws to accumulate African Americans disenfranshised. In the 21st century, unfortunately, it charcoal not a abandoned relic, but a assiduous reality.
Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet accomplish up the Charity Board, and for eight years they accept been adamantly against to automated restoration.
In February, Adjudicator Mark Walker, afraid at the approximate and abominable attributes of the charity process, disqualified it unconstitutional. In April, the 11th U.S. Ambit Cloister of Appeals baffingly backward the ruling. Walker acclimated one cogent nut to ster his reasoning:
In 2013, a white man bedevilled of voting illegally three years beforehand appeared afore Florida’s Charity Board. Back Scott asked him about his crime, the man responded: “Actually, I voted for you,” allegedly to the Board’s delight. His voting rights were adequate forthwith.
However, in bristles agnate cases in which above felons had casting actionable ballots, Scott and the Cabinet denied the apology of voting rights. Four of the bristles ex-felons, the cardinal said, were African American.
This lifetime ban keeps bodies on the margins, clumsy to participate in the adequateness of American activity and continued afterwards they accept paid their debt to society. It’s unfair, it’s racist and, as Adjudicator Walker ruled, unconstitutional. Get rid of it.
Super-majority Vote Appropriate to Impose, Authorize, or Accession Accompaniment Taxes or Fees: Currently, the accompaniment Legislature can accession best taxes through a simple majority. If Alteration 5 passes, it would crave a two-thirds vote in the House and in the Senate to appoint new taxes or fees or to access absolute ones.
The Republican-controlled Legislature and Gov. Scott altercate it should be added difficult to accession taxes than it is to cut them. But according to the detached League of Women Voters, “The alteration does not accommodate a accouterment that would acquiesce for tax increases in times of emergencies (hurricane, floods, recession, etc.) and is an aishment of the Legislature’s fiduciary albatross to accede all options and canyon a alive budget.
Rights of Abomination Victims; Judges: This alteration is one of the few that has been featured on television ads. Abomination victims ask: “What about my rights?” It’s a heartstring-tugger. If passed, the alteration would accord a scattering of rights, including the apprehension of actuality “reasonably adequate from the accused,” the appropriate to accept their assurance advised back lath set bond and the appropriate to be heard at accessible balloon proceedings.
But this affair is arranged with addition that would accession the appropriate retirement age for lath from 70 to 75, and crave lath to not accede a accompaniment agency’s estimation of a law back interpreting the law themselves.
Most Florida sheriffs abutment the alteration because it beefs up victims’ rights. However, it’s duplicative: Victims rights are already adequate in the Constitution, and the alteration would annihilate an absolute accouterment that ensures victims’ rights do not baffle with the built-in rights of the accused.
First Responder and Aggressive Member Survivor Benefits; Accessible Colleges and Universities: This is one of the three amendments actuality challenged in the accompaniment Supreme Court, acceptable for its ambagious nature.
It would do several things: Surviving spouses of aggressive associates and aboriginal responders dead in the band of assignment would accept a acquittal of afterlife allowances from the accompaniment and would accept some educational costs at accessible institutions waived. Best taxpayers accept no botheration with the negligible tax increase.
Then the alteration turns to accessible colleges and universities acute that to accession any fee — charge not included — a university lath of advisers would charge nine votes out of its 13 members. For a fee to be aloft systemwide, the Accompaniment University System’s Lath of Governors would charge 12 out of 17 associates to approve. This additionally agency the costs of academy could be kept bottomward by acute a college beginning to access fees. Good. But it additionally agency advisers can anticipate any fee increases, potentially handicapping a university’s adeptness to pay for services. Possibly problematic. There’s too abundant here. Each should be vetted on the claim individually.
The accompaniment Supreme Cloister removed this amendment, accompanying to allotment schools, from the ballot.
Prohibits Adopted Oil and Gas Drilling; Prohibits Vaping in Enclosed Calm Workplaces: This is an accessible one for best Floridians, abnormally those in South Florida. The alteration prohibits oil conduct below amnion controlled by Florida, and in addition archetype of alteration bundling, it additionally bans the use of e-cigarettes, additionally accepted as vaping, at calm workplaces. That works, too.
State and Bounded Government Structure and Operation: One aspect in this arranged alteration is government overreach, abnormally for Miami-Dade County. It links four proposals: has the state’s aldermanic affair alpha in January rather than March in even-numbered years (the Legislature currently changes its dates by statute); creates a counter-terrorism appointment and makes the accompaniment veterans diplomacy administration constitutionally required, and requires bristles county-level offices to be elected: tax collectors, acreage appraisers, admiral of elections, clerks of ambit cloister and sheriffs. That’s a big accord for Miami-Dade, which has a home-rule allotment and is the alone canton that does not accept a sheriff or an elections chief. Whose the accompaniment to acquaint us how to run our government business?
The Editorial Lath met with associates of the Florida Sheriffs Association and the Florida Association of Tax Collectors, who abutment the adopted positions. These adopted positions action added accountability to taxpayers, said Mike Adkinson, accomplished admiral of the Sheriffs Association and Larry Hart, tax beneficiary for Lee County.
“Nowadays, bodies appetite added of say on who holds those positions,” Adkinson said. But opponents say amateur bodies could be elected, not professionals. Hart said alone Miami-Dade, Broward and Volusia do not accept their tax collector.
But Miami-Dade gotten forth aloof accomplished so far. And no, Miami-Dade doesn’t charge hacks or lackluster, term-limited legislators attractive for article to do bushing these important positions. Been there.
Property Rights; Removal of Anachronistic Provision; Bent Statutes: This is a head-scratcher, an aggravating arranged alteration which a adjudicator ordered off the ballot. That adjustment is actuality appealed.. At its best, it would annul anachronistic diction apropos a accelerated abuse alteration that has back been repealed; it would additionally aition the state’s adeptness to prohibit noncitizens or “aliens disqualified for citizenship” from buying, owning and affairs property.
If Alteration 11 passes, the Legislature will be accustomed to accomplish adapted bent statutes administer retroactively, alike if the Legislature changes the law, article the NRA supports.
Yes, authoritative the Constitution’s accent below ancient would be welcomed, but this alteration represents too abundant messing with the accompaniment document. Sounds added like mischief, and we don’t apperceive what botheration is actuality solved. Accord this the thumbs-down.
Lobbying and Abuse of Appointment by Accessible Officers: This alteration would bar accessible admiral from lobbying both during their agreement and for six years following. It additionally would bind accepted accessible admiral from application their appointment for claimed gain. It expands belief rules for accessible admiral — both adopted admiral and government employees, including judges.
Six years is a continued time. The accepted prohibition is two years. However, we’ve apparent too abounding assembly brim alike that aphorism by acting as, say, paid consultants afore the time is up. Plus, there’s the perception, to say annihilation of the reality, that some legislators are auditioning for their aing job back they should be bedfast their constituents. Abounding government-watchdog groups abutment this amendment. We do, too.
Ends Dog Antagonism in Florida: Alteration 13 would ban greyhound antagonism by the end of 2020. This alteration represents a banking and ethical affray amid the bank industry and animal-rights advocates. But it additionally signals a cultural shift: According to animal-rights advocates, millennials accept far below absorption in gambling; and Floridians affliction about attention animals — abnormally dogs — and their well-being.
According to the accompaniment Division of Parimutuel Wagering, a dog dies on a Florida clue every three days. Animal advocates say that the greyhounds are bedfast in cages for up to 23 hours a day.
The antagonism industry has fought aldermanic measures to assure the dogs. Alteration 13 is a compromise: Florida’s 11 dog advance would be accustomed to accumulate their bank permits alike if they arrest antagonism by 2019, and they would be able to accomplish as agenda apartment and, in Broward and Miami-Dade counties, larger-scale venues that action aperture machines. This would be a huge achievement for animal-rights activists — and the animals.
Dog antagonism is a attitude in Florida, which has added dog advance than the blow of the country combined. On the added hand, greyhound trainers and breeders say this represents an end to an industry — and jobs — back there are 8,000 greyhounds in the state. But dog-racing has become a accident leader, a sideshow to slots and agenda rooms. Alteration 13 allows them a adroit avenue from this anachronistic anatomy of entertainment.
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