Listed below is a concise assessment of each proposed amendment to the Florida constitution. For more detail, visit Ballotpedia.
Vote yes for amendment 1 if you support raising the homestead property tax exemption by $25,000 for homes worth more than $100,000. This would exempt the value between $100,000 and $125,000 of a home that serves as the owner’s primary residence.
Currently, there are two other homestead exemptions: for the first $25,000 of the assessed property value and for the value between $50,000 and $75,000.
Vote yes for amendment 2 if you support permanently placing a 10-percent cap on the annual increase of non-homestead property tax assessments. This amendment wouldn’t change current law, but it puts protections in place so exorbitant increases don’t impact renters, business owners and consumers.
What owners of non-homestead properties face, should the amendment fail, is paying taxes on the full value of properties, beginning in January 2019. This could translate into higher costs for renters, financial burdens for those on fixed incomes, increased costs for consumers who shop at businesses and more costs for those who own undeveloped land. Projections show a potential tax increase of about $700 million each year.
Vote yes for amendment 3 if you support giving voters the exclusive right to decide whether a new casino can open in the state. It takes that right away from the Florida Legislature, which has failed in recent years to reach an agreement on the issue.
The amendment would categorize card games, casino games and slot machines as casino gambling, and require anyone who wanted to build a casino to get hundreds of thousands of signatures to get it on the ballot and then hope for voter approval. This would make it more difficult for any dog track or horse track wishing to expand its gaming to do so.
Vote yes for amendment 4 if you support restoring voting rights to former felons who served their sentence, including parole and probation, with the exception of those convicted of murder and sexual offenses. Currently, former felons must wait at least 5 years after completing their sentences to ask the Florida Clemency Board, made up by the governor and the Cabinet, to restore their rights.
A U.S. district judge found Florida’s current system arbitrary and unconstitutional in March, and the case is under appeal. If passed, Amendment 4 would impact 1.5 million Floridians. Florida is one of four states that disenfranchises former felons permanently.
Vote yes for amendment 5 if you support requiring a two-thirds vote in the Florida House and Senate — instead of a simple majority — to raise taxes. It was placed on the ballot by the Legislature with the intent to make it more difficult for lawmakers to raise taxes.
Vote yes for amendment 6 if you support:
Expanding the scope of victims’ rights under the Florida Constitution.
Raising the mandatory retirement age of Florida judges, including Supreme Court justices, from 70 to 75.
Prohibiting state courts from deferring to an administrative agency’s interpretation of a state statute or rule.
Vote yes for amendment 7 if you support
Enshrining in the state Constitution the mandatory payment of death benefits and waiver of certain educational expenses to qualifying survivors of certain first responders and military members who die performing official duties.
Requiring supermajority votes by university trustees and state university system board of governors to raise or impose legislatively authorized fees if law requires approval by those bodies.
Establishing the existing state college system as a constitutional entity and provide governance structure for such.
Vote yes for amendment 9 if you support:
Prohibiting oil and gas drilling for exploration or extraction in state-controlled offshore areas.
Prohibiting the indoor use of e-cigarettes and vaping devices.
Vote yes for amendment 10 if you support:
Requiring the Legislature to start its annual session in January instead of March during even-numbered years.
Creating a counter-terrorism and security office within the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Requiring the state to have a Department of Veterans Affairs, which already exists.
Requiring that all 67 counties must elect their sheriff, tax collector, elections supervisor and clerk of courts. Several Florida counties now have at least one of these positions appointed based on home-rule charters, such as Miami-Dade County, whose top law enforcer is appointed, not elected.
Vote yes for amendment 11 if you support:
Deleting current Florida’s Constitution language that allows the Legislature to prevent non-citizens from buying, selling, owning or inheriting property.
Forbidding making changes to criminal sentencing laws retroactive.
Deleting language approving a high-speed rail.
Vote yes for amendment 13 if you support:
Ending commercial greyhound and other dog racing by 2020. Under this proposal people in Florida could continue to wager on races occurring in other states.