A synopsis of the proposed constitutional amendments on the Nov. 6 ballot. The amendments must receive at least 60 percent of the vote to pass.
There is no Amendment 7
AMENDMENT 1, HEALTHCARE SERVICES
THE AMENDMENT: This amendment is aimed at prohibiting the government from directly or indirectly compelling employers to buy or provide healthcare coverage for their employees. It also makes clear in the constitution that people may pay healthcare providers directly for care — and don’t have to have insurance, and can’t be forced to pay a penalty or tax for paying out of pocket for healthcare.
CONTEXT: Opponents say the proposal would have no effect at nullifying its intended target, the federal healthcare individual mandate, because of the supremacy of federal law over state law. Backers say it would prevent future attempts to put similar healthcare requirements on residents.
AMENDMENT 2: HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION FOR VETERANS
THE AMENDMENT: The proposal would provide an additional homestead exemption to wounded veterans who were not residents of the state when they entered military service. The proposal would exempt from taxation a property’s value between $50,000 and $75,000.
CONTEXT: Florida law already provides an additional homestead exemption to military personnel disabled while in combat. The amendment simply expands the exemption to disabled veterans who may have been residents of other states when the disability occurred but who now reside in Florida.
AMENDMENT 3: REVENUE LIMITATION
THE AMENDMENT: Proposed Amendment 3 would replace the existing state revenue cap, which is based on personal income growth in Florida, with a new one based on inflation and population changes. If the state were to collect more in taxes than the formula allows, it would have to be put into a reserve fund, and not spent, and at some point would have to be used for reducing local property taxes for schools or returned to taxpayers. The cap could be raised only with a super majority vote in the Legislature.
CONTEXT: The state has never actually hit the current cap.
AMENDMENT 4: PROPERTY TAX RESTRICTIONS
THE AMENDMENT: The proposal would reduce the cap on tax assessment increases from 10 percent to 5 percent a year on commercial property. The plan also would provide an additional, temporary property tax break for first-time homebuyers and prevents tax assessments from going up when the market value of the property goes down.
CONTEXT: Backers say the amendment will continue efforts to rein in the increase in property taxes by expanding protections now afforded to homeowners. Opponents, including the Florida Association of Counties, say the measure will further hamstring cash-strapped local governments, which rely on property tax revenue for the bulk of their funding.
AMENDMENT 5: RULES FOR STATE COURTS
THE AMENDMENT: Proposed Amendment 5 would require Senate confirmation for state Supreme Court justices appointed by the governor and make it easier for lawmakers to influence court procedural rules, allowing them to change them with a simple majority vote, rather than a super majority. The proposal also would give lawmakers more access to confidential files involving judges accused of misconduct.
CONTEXT: Many lawyers and judges who oppose the amendment say lawmakers are trying to assert more control over a judiciary that many Republican legislators think has surpassed its own authority too often.