Florida voters pass Amendment 7 on benefits for survivors of first responders

Amendment 7, which passed with about 66 percent of the vote Tuesday, makes changes to survivor benefits for the families of first responders and military service members, as well as revisions to public colleges and universities.

The ballot proposal, which was put forth by the Constitution Revision Commission, bundled three separate proposals.

The first proposal requires university trustees to agree by a two-thirds super-majority (9 of 13 members voting in favor) 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.


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The third item in this amendment establishes a state college system in the Florida Constitution. State universities are in the Constitution, but state colleges (or community colleges) are not. Each state college will be governed by a local board of trustees, who will be appointed by the governor to staggered four-year terms.

Voters did not have the option of saying yes to one or two items and no to others.

A Leon County circuit court judge ruled in early September that this amendment and two others be struck from the ballot because of its bundled status, but the state Supreme Court ruled Sept. 7 that they would remain on the ballot.