Get Informed - Get Equipped - Get Inspired

"No people will tamely surrender their Liberties...
when knowledge is diffused and virtue is preserved"
- Sam Adams

PayPalDonateNow

Logo KrisAnne Hall Torch jpg          2020 Florida Amendment Voter Guide          Logo KrisAnne Hall Torch jpg

By KrisAnne Hall, JD
 Constitutional Education & Consulting, LLC
Print and Share this 2020 Florida Amendment Voter Guide as a .pdf Here: http://bit.ly/FLAmendVoterGuide2020
 

Introduction:

This guide is designed to inform the voter on the 2020 Amendments to the Florida Constitution.  The voter is always ultimately responsible for their vote.  I do not take responsibility for anyone’s vote; we will all answer individually for our choices.  With that in mind, be sure that you VOTE YOUR CONSCIENCE!

As a general rule, I am opposed to Constitutional Amendments, unless it is a truly Constitutional issue.  Our Constitution is supposed to be the Supreme Law of the State, establishing guidelines for government, fundamental rights belonging to Floridians, and principles by which we are to govern.  Statutes, on the other hand, are supposed to be the instrument we use to enact laws through legislation in our Republican form of government.  Florida has gotten very lazy about these distinctions.

I had hoped we had learned about cluttering up our Constitution when we passed the “pregnant pig” and the “super train” amendments.  With those two examples in mind, I would like those who view this guide to keep in mind a few things:

When you vote YES and pass a Constitutional Amendment you are creating an established RIGHT to something which includes the appropriate government protections and assignments. 

These rights must be provided under equal access of the law to all citizens of the state, without discrimination.

If you do not agree with part of an Amendment you should vote No.

If you cаn’t understand any part of the Amendment, then you should vote No.

If you vote YES on a Constitutional Amendment, the only way to fix that amendment is through another Constitutional Amendment which requires a 60% vote in favor of that change.


  • Amendment 1, Citizen Requirement for Voting Initiative (2020):

This Amendment would change the wording of Article VI section 2 of the Florida Constitution as follows:

 

Every citizen Only a citizen of the United States who is at least eighteen years of age and who is a permanent resident of the state, if registered as provided by law, shall be an elector of the county where registered

This is a Constitutional issue. The Amendment doesn’t really change the meaning of the text but is intended to clarify that Only US Citizens who are 18 years of age or older, permanent residents of Florida, and registered to vote will be qualified to vote in the State of Florida.

A YES VOTE ON AMENDMENT 1 would: Change the wording of Article VI section 2 in an effort to ensure that only permanent residents of Florida who are citizens under the Uniform Rule of Naturalization as established by the US Constitution are qualified to vote in State & Federal elections in the State of Florida.


  • Amendment 2, $15 Minimum Wage Initiative (2020):

This Amendment will change the wording of section Article X section 24 of the Florida Constitution as follows:

 

(c) MINIMUM WAGE. Employers shall pay Employees Wages no less than the Minimum Wage for all hours worked in Florida. Six months after enactment, the Minimum Wage shall be established at an hourly rate of $6.15. Effective September 30th, 2021, the existing state Minimum Wage shall increase to $10.00 per hour, and then increase each September 30th thereafter by $1.00 per hour, until the Minimum Wage reaches $15.00 per hour on September 30th, 2026. On September 30th of 2027  and on each following September 30th, the state Agency for Workforce Innovation shall calculate an adjusted Minimum Wage rate by increasing the current Minimum Wage rate by the rate of inflation during the twelve months prior to each September 1st using the consumer price index for urban wage earners and clerical workers, CPI-W, or a successor index as calculated by the United States Department of Labor. Each adjusted Minimum Wage rate calculated shall be published and take effect on the following January 1st. For tipped Employees meeting eligibility requirements for the tip credit under the FLSA, Employers may credit towards satisfaction of the Minimum Wage tips up to the amount of the allowable FLSA tip credit in 2003

Amendment 2 would increase the state minimum wage from $8.56 in 2020 to $15.00 in 2026 by yearly increments:

$10.00 on September 30, 2021;

$11.00 on September 30, 2022;

$12.00 on September 30, 2023;

$13.00 on September 30, 2024;

$14.00 on September 30, 2025; and

$15.00 on September 30, 2026

This is not a Constitutional issue.  It does not concern fundamental rights of Floridians. It deals with the minutiae of various benefits, the details of which are apt to change frequently due to external variables.  The taxpayers pay the legislature to pass such measures. This type of "legislation" should have NEVER become a Constitutional Amendment

This issue should be returned to the Florida Legislature and removed from the Florida Constitution.

A YES VOTE ON AMENDMENT 2 would: Make it a Constitutional RIGHT to be paid a minimum of $15/hour by the year 2026.


  • Amendment 3, Top-Two Open Primaries for State Offices Initiative (2020):

This amendment would ADD a section to the Florida Constitution as follows:

ARTICLE VI, SECTION 5. Primary, general, and special elections. —

(c) All elections for the Florida legislature, governor and cabinet shall be held as follows:

(1) A single primary election shall be held for each office. All electors registered to vote for the office being filled shall be allowed to vote in the primary election for said office regardless of the voter’s, or any candidate’s, political party affiliation or lack of same.

(2) All candidates qualifying for election to the office shall be placed on the same ballot for the primary election regardless of any candidate’s political party affiliation or lack of same.

(3) The two candidates receiving the highest number of votes cast in the primary election shall advance to the general election. For elections in which only two candidates qualify for the same office, no primary will be held and the winner will be determined in the general election.

(4) Nothing in this subsection shall prohibit a political party from nominating a candidate to run for office under this subsection. Nothing in this subsection shall prohibit a party from endorsing or otherwise supporting a candidate as provided by law. A candidate’s affiliation with a political party may appear on the ballot as provided by law.

(5) This amendment is self-executing and shall be effective January 1, 2024.

This is a Constitutional issue. This Amendment would change the way primary and general elections are conducted in Florida for the executive offices: Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, Commissioner of Agriculture, and Chief Financial Officer.  Florida elections for these officers would stop being closed primary elections and become top-two open primaries.

CURRENTLY IN FLORIDA:

Primary elections are funded with the tax dollars of every Floridian, yet only registered members of political parties are allowed to vote. There are currently at least 17 states that have open primaries for some or all offices.

First, this Amendment creates an OPEN PRIMARY so every executive candidate is on the same ballot and every registered voter is permitted to vote in the primary regardless of the political affiliation.

Secondly, it establishes a “top-two” voting system for primaries.  “Top-Two” voting means that the top two vote recipients would move forward to the General Election regardless of party affiliation.

If approved by 60% of the voters, the top-two primary system would begin in 2024.

A YES VOTE ON AMENDMENT 3 will do ALL the Following:

Establish Florida as an Open Primary State where all registered taxpayers may participate in the primary election they are paying for.  Currently all taxpayers pay for the Primary but only those registered to the political parties can vote in the Primary.

Establish that the top two vote recipients from the Open Primary will move on to the General Election, regardless of party affiliation; the candidates in the General Election will be those chosen by the majority of voters instead of only members of the political parties.

  • Amendment 4, Require Constitutional Amendments to be Passed Twice Initiative (2020):

This amendment would amend Article XI sections 5 and 7 of the Florida Constitution by adding text as follows:

 

SECTION 5. Amendment or revision election. —

(a) A proposed amendment to or revision of this constitution, or any part of it, shall be submitted to the electors at the next general election held more than ninety days after the joint resolution or report of revision commission, constitutional convention or taxation and budget reform commission proposing it is filed with the custodian of state records, unless, pursuant to law enacted by the affirmative vote of three-fourths of the membership of each house of the legislature and limited to a single amendment or revision, it is submitted at an earlier special election held more than ninety days after such filing. If the proposed amendment or revision is approved as provided in subsection (e), it shall be submitted to the electors a second time at the next general election occurring at least ten weeks after the election in which the proposed amendment or revision is initially approved.

(b) A proposed amendment or revision of this constitution, or any part of it, by initiative shall be submitted to the electors at the general election provided the initiative petition is filed with the custodian of state records no later than February 1 of the year in which the general election is held. If the proposed amendment or revision is approved as provided in subsection (e), it shall be submitted to the electors a second time at the next general election.

(c) The legislature shall provide by general law, prior to the holding of an election pursuant to this section, for the provision of a statement to the public regarding the probable financial impact of any amendment proposed by initiative pursuant to section 3.[5]

This a Constitutional issue because it involves the process of amending the Florida Constitution.

Currently, the Florida Constitution can be amended by a single ballot initiative when 60% of the voters approve the initiative.  This amendment to the Florida Constitution would require any future amendments to approved by 60% of the voters through two consecutive elections instead of one.

Arguments

Proponents:

 Since 1968 the Florida Constitution has been amended 140 times.  In 2018 alone the Constitution was amended 11 times.  Included in the 140 Amendments are Constitutional Amendments for:

  • a bullet train that nearly bankrupted the State before it was repealed by a subsequent amendment.
  • constitutionally established rights for pregnant pigs
  • an amendment to stop gambling on dog racing that will cost the taxpayers millions of dollars and put hundreds of dogs in jeopardy of being euthanized.
  • dozens of issues that should be handled by our Legislature instead of cluttering up our Constitution.

According to proponents for this Amendment, requiring two subsequent ballot approvals would reduce the number of “whimsical” and costly constitutional amendments.

Opponents:

The ability of the voters of Florida to amend their Constitution via ballot initiative is an important tool that should not be made “twice as hard” and “twice as costly” to utilize.  The opponents argue that Constitutional Amendments will not reduce in number, but this amendment will establish that only wealthy groups will be able to afford the cost of a ballot initiative twice.

A YES VOTE ON AMENDMENT 4 will require every Amendment to the Florida Constitution to pass by 60% of the votes in two subsequent elections.

  • Amendment 5, Extend "Save Our Homes" Portability Period Amendment (2020):

This amendment would amend Article VII section 4 and ADD a new section to Article XII of the Florida Constitution by adding text as follows:

 

ARTICLE VII

FINANCE AND TAXATION

SECTION 4. Taxation; assessments.—

(8)a. A person who establishes a new homestead as of January 1, 2009, or January 1 of any subsequent year and who has received a homestead exemption pursuant to Section 6 of this Article as of January 1 of any either of the three two years immediately preceding the establishment of the new homestead is entitled to have the new homestead assessed at less than just value. If this revision is approved in January of 2008, a person who establishes a new homestead as of January 1, 2008, is entitled to have the new homestead assessed at less than just value only if that person received a homestead exemption on January 1, 2007.

Article XII

SCHEDULE

Transfer of the accrued benefit from specified limitations on homestead property tax assessments; increased portability period.—This section and the amendment to Section 4 of Article VII, which extends to three years the time period during which the accrued benefit from specified limitations on homestead property tax assessments may be transferred from a prior homestead to a new homestead, shall take effect January 1, 2021.[4]

This is a legislative issue and should not be in the Florida Constitution. It does not concern fundamental rights of Floridians. It deals with the minutiae of various benefits, the details of which are apt to change frequently. The taxpayers pay the legislature to pass such measures.

A YES VOTE ON AMENDMENT 5 will extending the period during which a person may transfer Save Our Homes (Constitutional Amendment, 1992) benefits to a new homestead property from two years to three years.  Currently, if a person moves to a new home, they have two years to transfer their "Save Our Homes" benefit to have the new home assessed "at less than just value." The amendment would increase that time to three years rather than two.

  • Amendment 6, Homestead Property Tax Discount for Spouses of Deceased Veterans Amendment (2020):

This amendment would amend Article XII section 6 of the Florida Constitution by adding text as follows:

Article VII

Text of Section 6: Homestead Exemptions

(2) If a veteran who receives the discount described in paragraph (1) predeceases his or her spouse, and if, upon the death of the veteran, the surviving spouse holds the legal or beneficial title to the homestead property and permanently resides thereon, the discount carries over to the surviving spouse until he or she remarries or sells or otherwise disposes of the homestead property. If the surviving spouse sells or otherwise disposes of the property, a discount not to exceed the dollar amount granted from the most recent ad valorem tax roll may be transferred to the surviving spouse's new homestead property, if used as his or her permanent residence and he or she has not remarried.

Article XII

Text of Section 36

Ad valorem tax discount for surviving spouses of certain permanently disabled veterans.—The amendment to Section 6 of Article VII, relating to the ad valorem tax discount for spouses of certain deceased veterans who had permanent, combat-related disabilities, and this section shall take effect January 1, 2021.[3]

This is a legislative issue and should not be in the Florida Constitution. It does not concern fundamental rights of Floridians. It deals with the minutiae of various benefits, the details of which are apt to change frequently. The taxpayers pay the legislature to pass such measures.

The section has already been amended 12 times since 1980. Thus, it exemplifies the very argument against legislation through Constitutional amendments.  If the original provisions had been passed through the appropriate channels of legislation, a simple amendment to the statute could have been easily passed while the legislature was in session. Instead, Floridians will incur the cost of employing our legislators to (not) do their job, AND the cost of amending the Constitution over and over.

 A YES VOTE ON AMENDMENT 6 will allow a homestead property tax discount to be transferred to the surviving spouse of a deceased veteran.  The discount would be in effect until the spouse remarries, sells, or otherwise disposes of the property. If the spouse sells the property and does not remarry, the spouse's new primary residence may receive a homestead tax discount not exceeding the dollar amount from the most recent ad valorem tax roll. The amendment would take effect January 1, 2021.

How KrisAnne Hall would vote:

Amendment 1

Yes

Amendment 2

No

Amendment 3

No

Amendment 4

No

Amendment 5

No

Amendment 6

No

©2020 KrisAnne Hall www.KrisAnneHall.com

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to Twitter