Amendment 4 is even worse than Amendment 3, a gift to wealthy owners of second homes in Florida. It would cut by half the cap on property-tax assessments for non-homesteaded properties, at a projected cost to city and county governments of between $600 million and $1 billion over the first three years.
This should bother you only if you care about your local police and fire protection, ambulance service, city parks. You know, the little stuff.
Another amendment for which there’s absolutely no public clamor is Amendment 5, which would give legislators unprecedented sway over Florida’s judiciary.
It’s the pet project of House Speaker Dean Cannon, a Winter Park Republican who holds an actual law degree from the University of Florida. Presiding over a legislative body that cranks out one deficient statute after another, Cannon is miffed that the courts keep stomping on them.
His retort is Amendment 5, which would have the state Senate confirm all Supreme Court appointments. Stop laughing — the guy is serious. He thinks state senators should pick our Supreme Court justices.
In addition, Cannon wants the entire Legislature to be able to change, by simple majority votes, procedural rules that govern the courts. Finally, his Amendment 5 allows the House Speaker (currently him) to see the confidential files of any Judicial Nominating Commission.
He calls this “checks and balances,” but it’s really a flagrant dismantling of the constitutional boundaries between the Legislature and the justice system.
The result would be the total political pollution of our courts.
Cannon’s law professors at UF must be aghast. Lots of other Republicans are.
All these rotten amendments were written and captioned for the ballot in ways to appear harmless and even reformist, but they aren’t.
And they won’t pass unless 60 percent of Florida’s voters are fooled.