Amendments that will be on the Florida 2018 ballot

Early voting is October 22nd to November 4th in Duval County.  It begins as late as October 27th in other Florida counties.   You can early vote at most libraries in Jacksonville.  Please vote early and take your completed sample ballot with you.  You don’t want to be deciding on these amendments at the polling booth.

You can get information from these websites about the amendments that will be on our Florida ballot:

http://floridaballotguide.com/
https://www.lwvfl.org/amendments/ 
http://www.bobgrahamcenter.ufl.edu/content/2018-amendmentsreferendums

These three only list the amendments for which they have a stated position:  https://www.sierraclub.org/florida/florida-politics­

https://www.aclufl.org/en/aclu-florida-2018-voter-guide-select-constitutional-amendments­

https://protectdogs.org

And here is the link to information on the Duval County website:
https://duval.electionsfl.org/Election-Information/Constitutional-Amendments

And you can print out the 46 page booklet about the amendments from this website:
https://duval.electionsfl.org/Portals/Duval/Documents/Elections/2018%20Election/constitutional-amendments-2018-general-election-english.pdf

Here is what I have decided about the amendments so far: 
1 AND 2— Voting NO because I agree with the LWV’s position which you can see at their website at this  LINK

3.  See page 7 of the pamphlet at the Florida website which includes the exact wording of the amendment at this LINK.  Amendment #3 is supported by Disney, No Casinos Inc and Seminole Tribe of FL.  Someone told me that a ‘Yes’ vote for #3 almost guarantees gambling will be locked out of Florida with exception of Indian Casinos.  BUT I wonder why this needs to be in the constitution. Is it because the anti-gambling coalition doesn’t think legislators would pass legislation like this?  I wonder why we’re more worried about gambling addiction than other kinds of addiction.

Please offer feedback in the comment section if you want to sway me.  I have decided to vote no on #3.

I originally thought that the voters of each county were going to be able to make the decision. BUT no. The acceptance of new gambling casinos must be made by citizen initiative statewide. What if the citizens of Miami or Broward want casinos, then why should the rest of the state have a decision in that? I’m voting no. I think each county should be able to make their own ordinances for yes or no on gambling casinos.
 
It isn’t that I’m not worried about gambling addictions. But I have known people that enjoy gambling. I think perhaps I am less paternalistic than those that want to vote yes on #3. As I understand the term, maternalism is more helpful and less demanding. I think we should be worried about all addictions and offer more mental health help. I am more in favor of education than laws that prohibit behavior.
 

4. Definitely voting YES to restoring the voting rights of those that have finished their penalty of prison, probation and parole. Florida is one of only four states that permanently bar felons from voting after their sentences are completed. We need to fix that.

5. Oppose. Quote from the LWV website: This amendment does not include a provision that would allow for tax increases in times of emergencies (hurricane, floods, recession, etc.) and is an abrogation of the Legislature’s fiduciary responsibility to pass a reasonable budget.

6. Oppose.  I am voting no based on this (from the ACLU website—see link above):

Amendment 6 (if it passes) would give huge corporations a new right to inject themselves into criminal proceedings and appear in court with their high-powered lawyers to have a say in sentencing and bail hearings when they accuse people of even relatively minor crimes such as shoplifting.

I would vote NO on this part even if it stood alone. Quote (from the 46 page State of Florida booklet about the amendments–see link above):

[If amendment 6 passes] ….. a state court or an officer hearing an administrative action pursuant to general law may not defer to an administrative agency’s interpretation of such statute or rule, and must instead interpret such statute or rule de novo  …..

It is VERY sad that the CRC put this awful stuff in this amendment rather than addressing some of the victim’s issues.  People advocating for Marsy’s Law should be VERY angry at the CRC for NOT addressing their concerns.  I hope that advocates of Marsy’s Law also see that they must vote NO on amendment 6 because of the above problems.

7. Oppose. Quote from LWV website: We oppose a supermajority vote to increase fees or taxes. Family members of the military who die in the line of service are already compensated through the federal government.

8.  This one will not be on the ballot since the lower court and the Florida Supreme Court ruled that the wording is confusing and misleading.

9. Definitely voting YES. No drilling off our shores. Drilling off our shores puts our beautiful beaches in danger of oil spills.  This is another one that the CRC bundled unrelated issues into.  I hope those unrelated issues won’t stop you from voting YES.

10. Voting NO.  Quote from the LWV website:

A yes vote would limit the voters in local communities from deciding on the election of county officers.  FDLE is already the lead agency in coordinating efforts to prevent terrorism, and the Constitution already has authorized the Legislature to create a Department of Veteran Affairs.  ….  Florida’s counties are divided into charter and non-charter counties. County charters are voter-approved documents that act much like local constitutions in that they outline how the county is governed. Twenty of the state’s counties, including its largest – Miami-Dade, Broward, Pinellas, Orange and Duval, to name a few – operate under charters. Some of those counties have stopped holding elections for offices such as tax collector, instead transferring those duties to county departments.

I just received a very odd post card from Sheriff Mike Williams. It VERY much troubles me. It is misleading. I wonder why he wants to send me a misleading postcard. I am VERY troubled.  Amendment 10 (if passed as Sheriff Williams is advocating for) would TAKE AWAY local control in deciding if the LOCAL voters want to have the tax collector and the county clerk and the sheriff appointed instead of elected.

Quote from this article: ARTICLE
“Of the 75 words that comprise the summary, only 34 words buried in the middle advise voters that the proposed amendment materially negates home rule powers of counties,” …. What the ballot summary obscures is that Broward County — which decided back in 1974 to turn over tax collection to financial pros — would be forced to elect a tax collector. …. Does anyone support this other than a few term-limited local politicians in desperate need of another elected office to enhance their fat state pensions?
11. I am voting yes on 11 because it allows for someone’s sentence to be reduced if a law changes. Below quote from ACLU (see link above):

Amendment 11 – Vote YES–The ACLU of Florida supports Amendment 11 because it would address mass incarceration by allowing criminal justice reforms to apply retroactively. Right now, many people are incarcerated under harsh sentencing laws that could soon be reformed, but even if the legislature changes those sentencing laws, they won’t apply to people currently affected by them. If Amendment 11 passes, reforms to mandatory minimum sentencing or drug policy reform could apply to people currently serving under sentences that the legislature no longer believes are fair.

Here is a link to a GREAT article about this amendment 11:
http://floridapolitics.com/archives/250441-constitution-revision-allow-retroactive-criminal-law-changes­   Quotes from article: The coalition contends that Florida is the last state in the union to have a Savings Clause in its Constitution. The coalition includes The James Madison Institute, Unified Sportsmen of Florida, Florida Tax Watch, Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, FreedomWorks, the R Street Institute, Right On Crime, and Families Against Mandatory Minimums, among others.
end quote
Section 9 Article X is already in our Florida Constitution. Amendment 11 would amend it by adding the underlined portion and deleting the struck through portion.

amendment 11-1

The CRC put unrelated things in the amendment but that should NOT stop you from voting YES. The unrelated things: The issue regarding the ability of non-citizens to purchase and sell property cannot be enforced, And it deletes obsolete language having to do with high-speed rail in Florida.

12.  I want to stop legislators from pushing legislation that will harm the state but enrich themselves personally.    I think the goal of amendment 12 is to stop those abuses so I’m fairly sure I’m voting yes.   If you’d like to sway my vote, please tell me in the comment section why.  Quote from this ARTICLE  that talks about charter schools and vouchers being used by legislators to enrich themselves:

They crafted the most important parts of education bill HB 7069 in secret, acting in possible violation of the open government laws. There was no debate allowed and educators all across the state were left without a voice in the process. It’s no wonder it all went down in the dark. It’s a clear conflict of interest for members of the Florida Legislature who have a stake in charter schools to vote to fund and expand them.  It’s an abuse of power.

Quote from this LINK
AMENDMENT 12

LOBBYING AND ABUSE OF OFFICE BY PUBLIC OFFICERS

WHAT IT SAYS

“Expands current restrictions on lobbying for compensation by former public officers; creates restrictions on lobbying for compensation by currently serving public officers; provides exceptions; prohibits certain abuses of public office for personal benefit.”

WHAT IT MEANS

Prohibits public officials from lobbying for compensation while in office and six years thereafter. A “yes” vote supports prohibiting public officials from lobbying for compensation during the official’s term in office and for six years after the official leaves office and prohibiting public officials from using the office to obtain a disproportionate benefit.

MY VOTE: YES

I am in favor of Amendment 12, because it would bar public officials from lobbying both during their terms and for six years following, and restrict current public officers from using their office for personal gain.

13. Many say vote YES because of dog abuse.   I have been convinced that there is animal abuse and I am voting yes.  People will still be able to bet on dog racing BUT not on live dog races in Florida if this passes.  Full text of this amendment (from the 46 page State of Florida booklet about the amendments–see link above):

The humane treatment of animals is a fundamental value of the people of the State of Florida. After December 31, 2020, a person authorized to conduct gaming or pari-mutuel operations may not race greyhounds or any member of the Canis Familiaris subspecies in connection with any wager for money or any other thing of value in this state, and persons in this state may not wager money or any other thing of value on the outcome of a live dog race occurring in this state. The failure to conduct greyhound racing or wagering on greyhound racing after December 31, 2018, does not constitute grounds to revoke or deny renewal of other related gaming licenses held by a person who is a licensed greyhound permitholder on January 1, 2018, and does not affect the eligibility of such permitholder, or such permitholder’s facility, to conduct other pari-mutuel activities authorized by general law. By general law, the legislature shall specify civil or criminal penalties for violations of this section and for activities that aid or abet violations of this section. 

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