2018 Election Guide: Amendments

SFGN has decided to reprint the endorsements of the League of Women Voters to help our readers wade through the many amendments on this year’s ballot, some of which are very confusing.

For more information, including which groups support and oppose these amendments, visit www.LWVFL.org/amendments

From the League of Women Voters 

The League of Women Voters of Florida is non-partisan and does not endorse political candidates, but we do take positions on education, the environment, and voting rights. These and other issues are reflected in this year’s slate of constitutional amendments, which is why the League’s positions are reflected in the amendment summaries found in this voter guide.

The League’s position is based not only on our existing position on issues but also on whether a proposal belongs in the state Constitution, which should be a framework for government operations. For example, the League does not believe that tax and spending issues belong in the Constitution. Those are decisions the Legislature should make. The Constitution should not be burdened with a litany of amendments that often are driven by politics rather than governance.

There are, however, some issues important enough to merit constitutional status. Offshore drilling is one example. While the League does not believe that bans on tobacco smoking and vaping should have a home in the Constitution, the protection of Florida’s waters and shorelines from pollution should. Because the Constitution Revision Commission chose to bundle multiple and unrelated issues into single questions, such as a vaping ban with a drilling ban, the League is recommending a yes vote on Amendment 9.

The League does not take lightly the responsibility of supporting or opposing constitutional amendments. Nor should voters. These are complex issues, further complicated by the CRC’s bundling of multiple questions. I urge voters to use this guide and other sources of information to get informed and to vote on Nov. 6.

Patti Brigham


League of Women Voters of Florida


Amendment 1 

Grants an additional $25,000 homestead exemption for homes valued over $125,000. Owners of homes worth more than $100,000 would also receive an increase in their exemption.  

Oppose. The League has a position that “no tax sources or revenue should be specified, limited, exempted, or prohibited in the Constitution.”


Amendment 2

Makes permanent what currently is a temporary cap of 10 percent on annual property value increases for vacation homes, apartments and commercial property, effectively limiting increases on tax bills.

Oppose. The League has a position that “no tax sources or revenue should be specified, limited, exempted, or prohibited in the Constitution.”


Amendment 3

Requires approval of any new casino gambling through a citizen-initiative constitutional amendment, effectively barring the Legislature from making those gambling decisions by passing laws.

Support. It restricts casino gambling and allows Florida voters to make any decisions regarding increases of casino gambling, consistent with League position against gambling. This amendment is also supported by No Casinos, Inc. and Disney.


Amendment 4

Would restore the eligibility to vote to persons with felony convictions who have completed their sentences.

Support. The League was one of the sponsors of this initiative. Florida is one of only four states that permanently bars felons from voting after their sentences are completed. This restriction on voting is a vestige of Florida’s post-Civil War Constitution. Everyone deserves a second chance.


Amendment 5

Requires a two-thirds vote of the Legislature to approve any new or increased taxes or fees, rather than a simple majority.

Oppose. 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.


 Amendment 6

Vastly expands the scope of victims rights under the state Constitution; increases the mandatory retirement age for judges from 70 to 75; forces courts and judges to interpret laws and rules for themselves rather than rely on interpretations by government agencies.

Oppose. Victims’ rights are already protected in the Constitution, and this amendment would eliminate an existing provision that victims’ rights do not interfere with the constitutional rights of the accused.


Amendment 7

Creates a supermajority requirement for universities to impose new or increase existing student fees; enshrines in the Constitution guidelines for the State College System; mandates that employers or the state pay a death benefit to first responders and members of the military killed in the line of duty.

Oppose. 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.


 Amendment 9

Prohibits oil drilling beneath waters controlled by Florida; prohibits the use of e-cigarettes, also known as vaping, at indoor workplaces.

Support. Our concern for the environment overrides our concern about putting vaping in the Constitution. We also believe that if this amendment doesn’t pass, it sends a signal to the federal government that Florida does not care about off-shore drilling.


 Amendment 10 

Requires the Legislature to hold its session in early January on even-numbered years; creates an Office of Domestic Security and Counterterrorism within the Florida Department of Law Enforcement; mandates the existence of a state Department of Veterans’ Affairs; forces all counties to elect a sheriff, tax collector, property appraiser, supervisor of elections and Clerk of Circuit Court.

Oppose. This limits the voters in local communities from deciding on the election of county officers. It adds an unnecessary provision as the Constitution already has the power to set dates during even numbered years. 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. This amendment is clearly an effort to restrict the powers of local government.


Amendment 11

Repeals the state’s ability to prohibit non-citizens from buying, owning and selling property; deletes a provision that forces the state to prosecute criminal suspects under the law they were originally charged under, even if the Legislature changes that law; deletes obsolete language having to do with high-speed rail in Florida.

No position. Although we think that removing obsolete language is a good thing, there is a lot of other obsolete language that is not being addressed. Although the first issue regarding the ability of non-citizens to purchase and sell property cannot be enforced, the provision that requires criminal suspects to be prosecuted for an obsolete law should be changed.


Amendment 12 

Expands ethics rules for elected officials and government employees, notably by expanding from two to six years the time that many officials would have to wait before they could lobby state government.

No position. Although there is need for lobbying reform, we felt that six years might be onerous, and this amendment does not address the real issue regarding lobbying, which is the impact of money in political campaigns.


Amendment 13 

Bans wagering on any type of dog racing, notably greyhounds, as of Dec. 31, 2020, while continuing to allow dog tracks to continue offering other types of gambling, including poker rooms.

Support. This is primarily a gambling issue, and the League has held a consistent position against gambling.

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