Here’s your PRINTABLE ST. LUCIE county 2018 general election voter’s guide! find more detailed information about the 12 Amendments on the ballot below.

amendment 1

Basic Summary:* 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.

Recommendations:

ACLU - no recommendation

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

On Ballot:

NO. 1 CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT ARTICLE VII, SECTION6 ARTICLE XII, SECTION 37

Increased Homestead Property Tax Exemption

Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution to increase the homestead exemption by exempting the assessed valuation of homestead property greater than $100,000 and up to $125,000 for all levies other than school district levies. The amendment shall take effect January 1, 2019.

*All “Basic Summary” sections come from the League of Women Voters of Florida website here.


AMENDMENT 2

Basic Summary: 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.

Recommendations:

ACLU - no recommendation

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

On Ballot:

NO. 2 CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT ARTICLE XII, SECTION 27

Limitations on Property Tax Assessments

Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution to permanently retain provisions currently in effect, which limit property tax assessment increases on specified nonhomestead real property, except for school district taxes, to 10 percent each year. If approved, the amendment removes the scheduled repeal of such provisions in 2019 and shall take effect January 1, 2019.


AMENDMENT 3

Basic Summary: 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.

Recommendations:

ACLU - no recommendation

League of Women Voters of Florida - 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.

On Ballot:

NO. 3 CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT ARTICLE X, SECTION 29

Voter Control of Gambling in Florida

This amendment ensures that Florida voters shall have the exclusive right to decide whether to authorize casino gambling by requiring that in order for casino gambling to be authorized under Florida law, it must be approved by Florida voters pursuant to Article XI, Section 3 of the Florida Constitution. Affects articles X and XI. Defines casino gambling and clarifies that this amendment does not conflict with federal law regarding state/ tribal compacts. The amendment’s impact on state and local government revenues and costs, if any, cannot be determined at this time because of its unknown effect on gambling operations that have not been approved by voters through a constitutional amendment proposed by a citizens’ initiative petition process.


AMENDMENT 4

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

Recommendations:

ACLU - Vote YES.

  • The ACLU of Florida supports Amendment 4, which would return the eligibility to vote to Floridians who have completed the terms of their sentences, including any probation, parole, fines, or restitution.

  • Florida is one of only four states that still has a system that prevents people from earning back the eligibility to vote for life, and our current system for restoring a person’s eligibility to vote is broken. Amendment 4 would allow roughly 1.4 million people who have

  • People who are allowed to earn back their eligibility to vote are less likely to commit crimes in the future, meaning Amendment 4 will also make communities safer.

League of Women Voters of Florida - 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.

On Ballot:

NO. 4 CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT ARTICLE VI, SECTION 4

Voting Restoration Amendment

This amendment restores the voting rights of Floridians with felony convictions after they complete all terms of their sentence including parole or probation. The amendment would not apply to those convicted of murder or sexual offenses, who would continue to be permanently barred from voting unless the Governor and Cabinet vote to restore their voting rights on a case by case basis. The precise effect of this amendment on state and local government costs cannot be determined, but the operation of current voter registration laws, combined with an increased number of felons registering to vote, will produce higher overall costs relative to the processes in place today. The impact, if any, on state and local government revenues cannot be determined. The fiscal impact of any future legislation that implements a different process cannot be reasonably determined.


AMENDMENT 5

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

Recommendations:

ACLU - no recommendation

League of Women Voters of Florida - 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.

On Ballot:

NO. 5 CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT ARTICLE VII, SECTION 19

Supermajority Vote Required to Impose, Authorize, or Raise State Taxes or Fees

Prohibits the legislature from imposing, authorizing, or raising a state tax or fee except through legislation approved by a two-thirds vote of each house of the legislature in a bill containing no other subject. This proposal does not authorize a state tax or fee otherwise prohibited by the Constitution and does not apply to fees or taxes imposed or authorized to be imposed by a county, municipality, school board, or special district.


amendment 6

Basic Summary: 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.

Recommendations:

ACLU - Vote NO

  • The ACLU of Florida opposes Amendment 6, which is misleadingly referred to as a “rights of victims” amendment, but in fact provides victims with no new meaningful justice while undermining due process for people accused of crimes.

  • Amendment 6 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.

  • The amendment would upset the balance between the rights of victims and people accused of crimes by permanently deleting the part of the constitution that ensures balancing the rights of all involved in a criminal case

League of Women Voters of Florida - 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.

On Ballot:

NO. 6 CONSTITUTIONAL REVISION ARTICLE I, SECTION 16 ARTICLE V, SECTIONS 8 AND 21 ARTICLE XII, NEW SECTION

Rights of Crime Victims; Judges

Creates constitutional rights for victims of crime; requires courts to facilitate victims’ rights; authorizes victims to enforce their rights throughout criminal and juvenile justice processes. Requires judges and hearing officers to independently interpret statutes and rules rather than deferring to government agency’s interpretation. Raises mandatory retirement age of state justices and judges from seventy to seventy-five years; deletes authorization to complete judicial term if one-half of term has been served by retirement age.


amendment 7

Basic Summary: 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.

Recommendations:

ACLU - no recommendation

League of Women Voters of Florida - 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.

On Ballot:

NO. 7 CONSTITUTIONAL REVISION ARTICLE IX, SECTIONS 7 AND 8 ARTICLE X, NEW SECTION

First Responder and Military Member Survivor Benefits; Public Colleges and Universities

Grants 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. Requires supermajority votes by university trustees and state university system board of governors to raise or impose all legislatively authorized fees if law requires approval by those bodies. Establishes existing state college system as constitutional entity; provides governance structure.


amendment 9

(Amendment 8 removed from ballot by Florida Supreme Court)

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

Recommendations:

ACLU - no recommendation

League of Women Voters of Florida - 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.

On Ballot:

NO. 9 CONSTITUTIONAL REVISION ARTICLE II, SECTION 7 ARTICLE X, SECTION 20

Prohibits Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling; Prohibits Vaping in Enclosed Indoor Workplaces

Prohibits drilling for the exploration or extraction of oil and natural gas beneath all state-owned waters between the mean high water line and the state’s outermost territorial boundaries. Adds use of vapor-generating electronic devices to current prohibition of tobacco smoking in enclosed indoor workplaces with exceptions; permits more restrictive local vapor ordinances.


amendment 10

Basic Summary: 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.

Recommendations:

ACLU - no recommendation

League of Women Voters of Florida - 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.

On Ballot:

NO. 10 CONSTITUTIONAL REVISION ARTICLE III, SECTION 3 ARTICLE IV, SECTIONS 4 AND 11 ARTICLE VIII, SECTIONS 1 AND 6

State and Local Government Structure and Operation

Requires legislature to retain department of veterans’ affairs. Ensures election of sheriffs, property appraisers, supervisors of elections, tax collectors, and clerks of court in all counties; removes county charters’ ability to abolish, change term, transfer duties, or eliminate election of these offices. Changes annual legislative session commencement date in even- numbered years from March to January; removes legislature’s authorization to fix another date. Creates office of domestic security and counterterrorism within department of law enforcement.


amendment 11

Basic Summary: 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.

Recommendations:

ACLU - Vote YES.

  • The ACLU of Florida supports Amendment 11 because it both deletes an unconstitutional, anti-immigrant provision from our constitution and 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.

League of Women Voters of 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.

On Ballot:

NO. 11 CONSTITUTIONAL REVISION ARTICLE I, SECTION 2 ARTICLE X, SECTIONS 9 AND 19

Property Rights; Removal of Obsolete Provision; Criminal Statutes

Removes discriminatory language related to real property rights. Removes obsolete language repealed by voters. Deletes provision that amendment of a criminal statute will not affect prosecution or penalties for a crime committed before the amendment; retains current provision allowing prosecution of a crime committed before the repeal of a criminal statute.


amendment 12

Basic Summary: 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.

Recommendations:

ACLU - no recommendation

League of Women Voters of Florida - 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.

On Ballot:

NO. 12 CONSTITUTIONAL REVISION ARTICLE II, SECTION 8 ARTICLE V, SECTION 13 ARTICLE XII, NEW SECTION

Lobbying and Abuse of Office by Public Officers

Expands current restrictions on lobbying for compensation by former public officers; creates restrictions on lobbying for compensation by serving public officers and former justices and judges; provides exceptions; prohibits abuse of a public position by public officers and employees to obtain a personal benefit.


amendment 13

Basic Summary: 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.

Recommendations:

ACLU - no recommendation

League of Women Voters of Florida - Support. This is primarily a gambling issue, and the League has held a consistent position against gambling.

On Ballot:

NO. 13 CONSTITUTIONAL REVISION ARTICLE X, NEW SECTION ARTICLE XII, NEW SECTION

Ends Dog Racing

Phases out commercial dog racing in connection with wagering by 2020. Other gaming activities are not affected.