Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Ballot Amendments and Questions– How will you vote?

Election Day is November 6, 2018 are you ready to vote?

St. Petersburg, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author: In Search of RobinSo You Want to Blog.

Here are few useful links as you form your opinion and try to better understand what each proposed Constitutional amendment will do!

The League of Women Voters and this pdf from Florida Tax Watch give great insight on each amendment, along with their recommendation on how to vote on each. They also explain the implications for voting for or against each amendment.

Florida Association of Counties offers a quick explanation for each proposal, along with analysis of how some of the amendments will impact county governments if they’re approved. Click on each amendment to learn more and to read editorials on the topic from the state’s largest papers.

Below is a handy table with recommended votes based on my research of various political sites, newspapers and Blogs.

There is a column to record your vote and you can print it and take it with you to speed up your voting process at the polls.

2018 PROPOSED FLORIDA CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS
YOUR
VOTE
1
Increased Homestead Property Tax Exemption
YES
2
Limitations on Property Tax Assessments
YES
3
Voter Control of Gambling in Florida
YES
4
Voting Restoration Amendment
NO
5
Supermajority Vote Required to Impose, Authorize, or Raise State Taxes or Fees
YES
6
Rights of Crime Victims; Judges
NO
7
First Responder and Military Member Survivor Benefits; Public Colleges and Universities
YES
8
REMOVED
9
Prohibits Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling; Prohibits Vaping in Enclosed Indoor Workplaces
YES
10
State and Local Government Structure and Operation
YES
11
Property Rights; Removal of Obsolete Provision; Criminal Statutes
YES
12
Lobbying and Abuse of Office by Public Officers
YES
13
Ends Dog Racing
YES

Below is the official description of the proposed constitutional Amendments  

Proposed Constitutional Amendments
No. 1 Constitutional Amendment - Affects: Article VII, Section 6 Article XII, Section 37 
Increased Homestead Property Tax Exemption - Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution to increase the homestead exemption by exempting the assessed valuation of homestead property greater than $100,000 and up to $125,000 for all levies other than school district levies. The amendment shall take effect January 1, 2019.

No. 2 Constitutional Amendment - Affects: Article XII, Section 27 
Limitations on Property Tax Assessments - Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution to permanently retain provisions currently in effect, which limit property tax assessment increases on specified non-homestead real property, except for school district taxes, to 10 percent each year. If approved, the amendment removes the scheduled repeal of such provisions in 2019 and shall take effect January 1, 2019.

No. 3 Constitutional Amendment - Affects: Article X, Section 29
Voter Control of Gambling in Florida - This amendment ensures that Florida voters shall have the exclusive right to decide whether to authorize casino gambling by requiring that in order for casino gambling to be authorized under Florida law, it must be approved by Florida voters pursuant to Article XI, Section 3 of the Florida Constitution. Affects articles X and XI. Defines casino gambling and clarifies that this amendment does not conflict with federal law regarding state/tribal compacts.
The amendment’s impact on state and local government revenues and costs, if any, cannot be determined at this time because of its unknown effect on gambling operations that have not been approved by voters through a constitutional amendment proposed by a citizens’ initiative petition process.

No. 4 Constitutional Amendment - Affects: Article VI, Section 4
Voting Restoration Amendment - This amendment restores the voting rights of Floridians with felony convictions after they complete all terms of their sentence including parole or probation. The amendment would not apply to those convicted of murder or sexual offenses, who would continue to be permanently barred from voting unless the Governor and Cabinet vote to restore their voting rights on a case by case basis.
The precise effect of this amendment on state and local government costs cannot be determined, but the operation of current voter registration laws, combined with an increased number of felons registering to vote, will produce higher overall costs relative to the processes in place today. The impact, if any, on state and local government revenues cannot be determined. The fiscal impact of any future legislation that implements a different process cannot be reasonably determined.

No. 5 Constitutional Amendment - Affects: Article VII, Section 19
Supermajority Vote Required to Impose, Authorize, or Raise State Taxes or Fees - Prohibits the legislature from imposing, authorizing, or raising a state tax or fee except through legislation approved by a two-thirds vote of each house of the legislature in a bill containing no other subject. This proposal does not authorize a state tax or fee otherwise prohibited by the Constitution and does not apply to fees or taxes imposed or authorized to be imposed by a county, municipality, school board, or special district.

No. 6 Constitutional Revision - Affects: Article I, Section 16, Article V, Sections 8 and 21, Article XII, New Section
Rights of Crime Victims; Judges - Creates constitutional rights for victims of crime; requires courts to facilitate victims’ rights; authorizes victims to enforce their rights throughout criminal and juvenile justice processes. Requires judges and hearing officers to independently interpret statutes and rules rather than deferring to government agency’s interpretation. Raises mandatory retirement age of state justices and judges from seventy to seventy-five years; deletes authorization to complete judicial term if one-half of term has been served by retirement age.

No. 7 Constitutional Revision - Affects: Article IX, Sections 7 and 8, Article X, New Section
First Responder and Military Member Survivor Benefits; Public Colleges and Universities - Grants mandatory payment of death benefits and waiver of certain educational expenses to qualifying survivors of certain first responders and military members who die performing official duties. Requires supermajority votes by university trustees and state university system board of governors to raise or impose all legislatively authorized fees if law requires approval by those bodies. Establishes existing state college system as constitutional entity; provides governance structure.

No. 8 Removed

No. 9 Constitutional Revision - Affects: Article II, Section 7, Article X, Section 20
Prohibits Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling; Prohibits Vaping in Enclosed Indoor Workplaces - Prohibits drilling for the exploration or extraction of oil and natural gas beneath all state-owned waters between the mean high water line and the state’s outermost territorial boundaries. Adds use of vapor-generating electronic devices to current prohibition of tobacco smoking in enclosed indoor workplaces with exceptions; permits more restrictive local vapor ordinances.

No. 10 Constitutional Revision - Affects: Article III, Section 3, Article IV, Sections 4 and 11, Article VIII, Sections 1 and 6
State and Local Government Structure and Operation -Requires legislature to retain department of veterans’ affairs. Ensures election of sheriffs, property appraisers, supervisors of elections, tax collectors, and clerks of court in all counties; removes county charters’ ability to abolish, change term, transfer duties, or eliminate election of these offices. Changes annual legislative session commencement date in even-numbered years from March to January; removes legislature’s authorization to fix another date. Creates office of domestic security and counter terrorism within department of law enforcement.

No. 11 Constitutional Revision - Affects: Article I, Section 2, Article X, Sections 9 and 19
Property Rights; Removal of Obsolete Provision; Criminal Statutes - Removes discriminatory language related to real property rights. Removes obsolete language repealed by voters. Deletes provision that amendment of a criminal statute will not affect prosecution or penalties for a crime committed before the amendment; retains current provision allowing prosecution of a crime committed before the repeal of a criminal statute.

No. 12 Constitutional Revision - Affects: Article II, Section 8, Article V, Section 13, Article XII, New Section
Lobbying and Abuse of Office by Public Officers - Expands current restrictions on lobbying for compensation by former public officers; creates restrictions on lobbying for compensation by serving public officers and former justices and judges; provides exceptions; prohibits abuse of a public position by public officers and employees to obtain a personal benefit.

No. 13 Constitutional Revision - Affects: Article X, New Section, Article XII, New Section
Ends Dog Racing - Phases out commercial dog racing in connection with wagering by 2020. Other gaming activities are not affected.

LOCAL BALLOT QUESTIONS
For City and County Ballot initiatives and Referendums check your local County Supervisor Elections web site

Pinellas County Located at the bottom of the page
City of Clearwater, City of Madeira Beach, City of St. Petersburg, City of St. Pete Beach, Town of Redington Beach, City of Tarpon Springs
Hillsborough County Amendments and Referendums at the bottom of the Page
Manatee County  You will need to fill out some voter information
Sarasota County  Sample Ballots are in PDF format and require Adobe Acrobat Reader to view. Acrobat Reader is available by clicking a link on the site.  

This election is extremely important. These Ballot questions are key to Florida and your local jurisdictions future. Be sure to vote on all of the state and local ballot initiatives. 
E-mail Doc at mail to: dr.gwebb@yahoo.com or send me a Facebook (E. Eugene Webb) Friend request. Like or share on Facebook and follow me on TWITTER  @DOC ON THE BAY.
See Doc's Photo Gallery at Bay Post Photos.  
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