On Nov. 4 voters have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to help reverse the ignorance and mistakes of the past by voting Yes on Amendment 1, which would dedicate funds to acquire and restore Florida conservation and recreation lands.
Passage of this amendment will ensure that for the next 20 years there will be funding for the Land Acquisition Trust Fund to acquire, restore, improve and manage conservation lands including wetlands and forests; fish and wildlife habitats, lands protecting water resources and drinking water sources, the water quality of rivers, lakes and streams; beaches and shores; outdoor recreational lands; working farms and ranches; and historic or geologic sites.
This would be done by dedicating 33 percent of new revenues from the existing excise tax on documents for 20 years.
The League of Women Voters of Florida, which was part of a the citizens’ initiative that fanned out across the state to get signatures and win support for putting the amendment on the ballot, urges all voters to give Amendment 1 a green light and vote Yes when they mark their ballots. There is no time to waste on Amendment 1.
Amendment 2 would legalize the use of marijuana for certain medical conditions as determined by a licensed Florida physician. The Florida League has not taken a position, giving Amendment 2 a yellow light. However, 23 states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws to legalize medical marijuana.
Amendment 3 would allow an outgoing governor to fill vacancies on the Florida Supreme Court or a district court of appeal even if they occurred on the day he or she left office. It would invalidate court interpretations of Florida’s Constitution as to who has the authority to fill judicial vacancies. By approving this amendment the Legislature opened the door to possible court-packing in 2019 when three of the current seven justices are expected to retire at the end of their six-year terms on the day that a new governor would be sworn in. This and it would deprive a newly elected governor to make important judicial decisions.
The last time the Florida Legislature tried to make unnecessary changes to the judicial system, voters turned down the move with the highest No vote in America on a judicial ballot amendment.
Once again, the League urges voters to firmly reject judicial interference by giving Amendment 3 a resounding No.
Most important, make sure your voice is heard.
Deirdre Macnab, state president, League of Women Voters of Florida, Tallahassee
Maribel Balbin, president, LWV of Miami Dade County, Miami