Amendment 7 is a bundle of three separate proposals related to survivor benefits for the families of first responders and military service members, and public colleges and universities.
The first proposal requires university trustees to agree by a two-thirds supermajority (or nine out of 13 members) vote to raise college fees, not including tuition. In order for a fee to be raised system-wide, the State University System’s Board of Governors would need 12 out of 17 members to approve it.
The second item provides payment of death benefits and some waived college tuition for survivors of first responders and military members killed on duty.
The third establishes a state college system in the Florida Constitution. State universities are in the Constitution, but state colleges (or community colleges) are not. If the amendment passes, each state college will be governed by a local board of trustees, who would be appointed by the governor to staggered four-year terms.
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This issue of “logrolling,” or combining multiple issues in one amendment, is the subject of an ongoing legal case brought by retired state Supreme Court chief justice Harry Lee Anstead and former Florida Elections commissioner Robert Barnas in August. Anstead initially asked that the court remove the six Constitution Revision Commission amendments that combine different issues. But because individual cases regarding amendments 6, 8, 13 and 10 had separate cases filed challenging their placement on the ballot, those questions were dropped from the Anstead case. Now the case only applies to amendments 7, 9 and 11.
The state Constitution does not have a limit on how many subjects a CRC amendment can include.
In order to become law, each of the amendments on the ballot must be approved by at least a 60 percent vote.
A “yes” vote means the voter is in favor of all three items.
A vote “no” is a vote against all three items.
Voters do not have the option of saying yes to one or two items and no to others.