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{{tncms-inline alignment=”left” content=”&lt;p&gt;&amp;mdash; The first proposal would expand the rights of crime victims in courts, and it would also allow the state to raise the maximum age for judges to serve.&amp;nbsp;&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;&amp;mdash; The second proposal deals with two separate articles of the current Florida Constitution, providing a change in the minimum vote by governing boards to establish or increase fees at state colleges and universities, while guaranteeing the rights of survivors of first responders and military personnel to receive death benefits.&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;&amp;mdash; The third proposition would allow the state to set term limits for members of school boards, while calling for more &amp;ldquo;civic literacy in public education.&amp;rdquo;&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;&amp;mdash; The fourth question deals with the great outdoors and the small indoors. This amendment, if passed, would ban much offshore drilling for oil and gas, while outlawing vaping &amp;mdash; smoking electronic cigarettes &amp;mdash; in enclosed workplaces.&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;&amp;mdash; The fifth amendment sets the time when the Florida Legislature convenes in even-numbered years, while providing for the creation of the Office of Domestic Security and Counterterrorism within the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and also setting the governor and the Cabinet as the chief authority of the state&amp;rsquo;s Department of Veterans Affairs; and overriding county charters that allow &amp;ldquo;specified county officers&amp;rdquo; to be removed from office &amp;ldquo;other than by election.&amp;rdquo;&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;&amp;mdash; The sixth amendment treats three different concerns: allowing aliens to own, sell and inherit real property; providing that a person charged with committing a crime may still be prosecuted under a repealed law, if the crime took place while the old law was in effect; and repealing &amp;ldquo;an obsolete provision regarding development of a high-speed ground transportation system.&amp;rdquo;&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;&amp;mdash; The seventh proposal would restrict lobbying by public employees &amp;ldquo;before certain government bodies.&amp;rdquo;&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;&amp;mdash; The eighth constitutional proposition would ban dog racing and betting on the animals.&amp;nbsp;&lt;/p&gt;” id=”23392519-847e-472a-a971-5d9a658ee643″ style-type=”info” title=”Submitted by the Constitution Revision Commission” type=”relcontent”}}

{{tncms-inline alignment=”left” content=”&lt;p&gt;The other five non-CRC constitutional amendments set to appear on the November ballot are:&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;&amp;mdash; The state&amp;rsquo;s voters will have the opportunity to increase Florida&amp;rsquo;s homestead exemption. Currently, the first $50,000 of the value of a Florida resident&amp;rsquo;s primary dwelling is not to be subject to&amp;nbsp;&lt;em&gt;ad valorem&lt;/em&gt;&amp;nbsp;taxation by local governments and special taxing districts, but school taxes may be levied on the valuation between $25,001 and $50,000. The proposed additional homestead exemption, also known as &amp;ldquo;the super-homestead exemption,&amp;rdquo; would grant as much as $25,000 of tax-free value &amp;mdash; except for school taxes &amp;mdash; of a home &amp;mdash; whose value is between $100,000 and $125,000.&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;&amp;mdash; Another constitutional amendment would limit the annual increase in assessments of non-homestead property, including commercial land and buildings, to 10 percent, except for school taxes.&amp;nbsp;&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;&amp;mdash; Florida voters will also have another opportunity to assert control over gambling. The amendment, if adopted, would give the electorate &amp;ldquo;the exclusive right to decide whether to authorize casino gambling.&amp;rdquo; The proposed amendment would not apply to gambling on tribal lands under federal jurisdiction.&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;&amp;mdash; Many convicted felons would regain their right to vote, once they complete their sentences, including parole and probation. The restoration of voting rights would not apply to those found guilty of murder or sex crimes, unless the governor and Cabinet grant clemency.&lt;/p&gt; &lt;p&gt;&amp;mdash; A constitutional amendment would require a supermajority vote by the Florida Legislature to raise state taxes or fees, or to impose new ones.&lt;/p&gt;” id=”e56832f2-ad72-43db-9f1d-37a34d923263″ style-type=”info” title=”Other constitutional amendments on November’s ballot” type=”relcontent”}}

The Nov. 6 general election is still five months away, but it is not too early or too soon for voters to begin informing themselves about the many and varied state referendums due to appear on the ballot.

A baker’s dozen Florida constitutional amendments — on practically everything from gambling to taxes and terrorism — await action by the voters this fall.

“There will be 13 amendments on the ballot,” Volusia County Supervisor of Elections Lisa Lewis told The Beacon, warning the ballot will be a long one, perhaps four pages.

That array of proposed changes in Florida’s basic law worries Lewis, who says voters may choose to leave portions of their decision documents blank. The prospect of  “under-voting” looms large this fall.

“Voter fatigue. With so much on the ballot — the later you get into the ballot, the more it will be under-voted.”

U.S. congressional races will top the ballot, followed by state rivalries for governor, Cabinet and legislative offices, followed by contests to fill county and municipal posts, as well as perhaps a few city charter-change propositions. 

The constitutional amendments will be spread out over the state portion of the ballot. 

The presence of 13 state amendments on the general-election ballot prompted the Volusia County Council earlier this month to postpone until 2019 a long-planned referendum on a 1/2-cent sales tax for transportation improvements and infrastructure. 

The local-option sales tax is needed, its supporters say, to pay for critical and unmet capital needs. The delay in slating the countywide vote is a letdown for leaders such as Orange City Mayor Gary Blair.

“I’m disappointed that it’s not to be on the ballot. But the ballot is going to be so convoluted,” he said.

Because of the top-down order of organizing the ballot — federal, state and local, in descending order — the sales-tax question may be one of the last items on the multi-page form, and thus overshadowed by the long passages of prose preceding it. 

The state constitutional amendments flow from three sources: eight come from the Constitution Revision Commission, while three come from the Florida Legislature, and the remaining two are the work of citizen initiatives, or petition drives. 

The Constitution Revision Commission is a 37-member body that convenes every 20 years to recommend ways to fine-tune state government. 

The attorney general is an automatic appointment, while 15 other members are selected by the governor; nine are named by the president of the Florida Senate; nine others are chosen by the speaker of the Florida House; and three others are picked by the chief justice of the Florida Supreme Court. 

The 2018 CRC has already finished work on its proposed constitutional amendments.

Unlike the proposed amendments submitted to the voters by the Florida Legislature or by groups of citizens, most of the CRC’s ballot propositions contain issues and matters unrelated to each other.


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