The Informed Citizen, Amendments 10-13

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The mid-term elections are finally upon us. Absentee ballots begin to go out October 5th, early voting starts October 22nd, and the traditionalists among us will go to the polls on Election Day, November 6th. No matter how you vote, you will find a very long ballot to decipher. There are many offices up for election this year, but there are also many proposed Constitutional Amendments.

In the last three issues of CapeStyle Magazine, we discussed the genesis of this long list of proposals and highlighted Amendments 1-9. Since the last article published, Amendment 8 has been stricken from the ballot by the Florida Supreme Court, bringing our grand total from thirteen down to twelve. Amendments 7, 9, and 11 are also facing court challenges at this time, and their fate is yet to be determined.

We will conclude this monthly series by highlighting Amendments 10-13, which originated from the Constitutional Revision Commission (CRC). Many of the proposed Constitutional Amendments from the CRC are not single-subject issues, and, like the last four, these four contain 11 proposals.

Amendment 10 would: 1) make the Department of Veterans Affairs permanent, 2) require all counties to elect, rather than appoint, their sheriffs, property appraisers, supervisors of elections, tax collectors, and clerks of court, 3) change the annual legislative session commencement date in even-numbered years from March to January, and 4) create the Office of Domestic Security and Counter-terrorism.

Amendment 11 would: 1) remove language related to real property rights that could be considered discriminatory, 2) remove obsolete language regarding a high-speed train that was repealed by the voters, and 3) remove language that says the amendment of a criminal statute will not affect crimes committed before the amendment.

Amendment 12 would: 1) expand current restrictions on former public officers’ ability to lobby for compensation, 2) create restrictions on current public officers’ and former judges’ ability to lobby for compensation, and 3) prohibit abuse of a public position by public employees to obtain a personal benefit.

Amendment 13 would phase out commercial dog racing in connection with wagering by 2020.

I hope these breakdowns have been helpful, but I encourage you to further your research. The Florida Division of Elections has detailed information about each proposed Constitutional Amendment on their website, dos.myflorida.com/elections/laws-rules/constitutional-amendments. They also have produced hard-copy booklets that can be obtained from the Lee County Supervisor of Elections.

Onward to November!