2018 Proposed Constitutional Amendments
On your 2018 General Election ballot, you’ll be faced with 13 – yes, 13 proposed amendments to Florida’s Constitution.
That’s because in addition to the Florida Legislature and private citizens, a 37-member Constitutional Revision Commission (CRC) can also establish ballot measures. The CRC meets every 20 years to review Florida’s Constitution and make suggested changes — they met in 2017 and proposed eight of the 13 proposed amendments that will appear on the General Election ballot in November.
If you’re wondering how to decide whether to vote ‘yes” or “no” on each one, you’re in luck. The Progressive Caucus of the Florida Democratic Party has done all the research for you. Click here www.progressivefl.org to find information about each proposed Amendment along with suggestions on how to vote on each.
Amendments must be approved by 60 percent of Florida voters.
Proposed Constitutional Amendments: Lawsuits
The Constitution Revision Commission (CRC) has bundled together proposals many of which have no relationship to one another. This is a deliberate attempt by the Republican-controlled CRC to avoid opposition to specific provisions.
It’s not surprising, therefore, that numerous lawsuits have been filed demanding four of these proposed Amendments be stricken from the ballot.
A final ruling was made on Amendment 8, striking it from the ballot. The other lawsuits are described below.
Amendment 6: Adds Marsy’s Law (victim’s rights) to state constitution; increases judicial retirement age; prohibits judges from deferring to administrative agencies to interpret law.
The suit got its first hearing in Leon County District Court on August 24. The judge sided with the arguments in two lawsuits that this Amendment’s summary and title misrepresented their contents to voters and failed to explain all the ways that victims’ rights would be expanded.
The decision has been appealed to the Florida Supreme Court.
Amendment 8: Establishes school board term limits; allows state to operate non-board established schools; requires civic literacy.
Florida’s Supreme Court voted in September to throw off the November general election ballot this controversial measure that a lower court judge had said misled the public about its real purpose: to expand publicly funded charter schools.
Amendment 10: Prohibits counties from abolishing certain local offices, changes start date of legislative sessions, and adds and executive office and executive department to the Constitution.
Circuit Court Judge James Shelfer rejected a challenge from Volusia and Broward Counties that sought to have this Amendment removed from the ballot. This decision will likely make its way to the Florida Supreme Court.
Broward and Volusia Counties, in separate lawsuits, are asking the Leon County Circuit Court to invalidate Amendment 10 arguing that the proposal is unconstitutional as it misleads voters as it does not explain that voters in these two counties would be stripped of their right to govern themselves. Voters around the state are being asked, through this amendment, to overrule decisions made by their local voters on which of their officials should be elected. The amendment was placed on the ballot by the CRC.
Amendment 13: Prohibits betting on dog races.
A Tallahassee judge ordered this amendment removed from the ballot. Attorney General Pam Bondi has appealed the ruling to the Florida Supreme Court. Leon County Circuit Court Judge Karen Gievers stated the amendment “is clearly and conclusively defective” because it misleads voters.
Amendment 13, if passed by the voters, would outlaw greyhound racing at dog tracks by 2020. The amendment was placed on the ballot by the CRC and backed by Attorney General Pam Bondi and the Massachusetts-based advocacy group GREY2K USA Worldwide.