Does looking at all the state amendments on your ballot this year kind of make you want to cry? Us too.
There are so many because this is a Constitution Revision Commission year. CRC members— who are mostly appointed by the governor, the Senate president, and the speaker of the House — travel the state to hear what residents want to see amended in the constitution, and then the CRC members decide which of those to put on the ballot.
This only happens once every 20 years, and it’s probably the easiest way to get an item on the ballot, so CRC members crammed as many on there as they could. Eight of the amendments on the ballot came from the CRC. (More on that below.)
The other key ways are for the legislature to propose an amendment (three of this year’s amendments), or for citizens to collect enough signatures to place it on the ballot (aka a citizen’s initiative, and there are two of those).
You’ll notice that a couple of these amendments bundle together things that seem totally unrelated. That’s because they are totally unrelated. In a confusing move, the CRC bundled together a bunch of proposed amendments because they worried there would otherwise be too many on your ballot. Instead they chose to combine things like a ban on offshore drilling and a ban on indoor vaping. (Some folks say that they did this to be deliberately misleading. We’re not gonna take a stance on that.)
We’re pretty sure that is a worse outcome than having two dozen amendments on the ballot, but it’s not up to us, so instead we’ll just explain them all very, very clearly.
You’ll also notice that this guide and your ballot skip Amendment 8. That got struck from the ballot after the League of Women Voters sued for misleading language.
These amendments require 60 percent of the people who vote on them – rather than 60 percent of total voters – in order to pass.
Amendment 1 on your ballot proposes raising the homestead tax exemption.
Amendment 2 proposes putting a permanent cap on property value increases for vacation homes, apartments, and commercial property.
Amendment 3 proposes reserving the right to decide whether to allow casino gambling for voters only, rather than the legislature.
Amendment 4 proposes restoring the right to vote to most convicted felons who have completed their sentences (with some important exceptions).
Amendment 5 proposes raising the threshold in the state legislature for raising taxes.
Amendment 6 relates to Marsy’s Law, for which you’ve probably been seeing a ton of political ads.
Amendment 7 is a three-part amendment that addresses benefits for first responders and some governance issues with universities.
Amendment 9 proposes banning both offshore oil drilling and vaping at indoor workplaces.
Amendment 10 proposes requiring Miami-Dade County elect, rather than appoint, its sheriff.
Amendment 11 proposes repealing a law that would allow the state legislature to ban non-citizens from owning, buying, or selling property.
Amendment 12 proposes major changes to state ethics rules for public officials.
Amendment 13 proposes banning gambling on dog racing.