What you should know about those amendments

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As voters decide the next governor, state representative and attorney general, three Florida constitutional amendments will be on the ballot as well. Here is a brief synopsis and possible outcome on each amendment as well as a pass/fail scenario.

AMENDMENT 1
Official ballot title: Water and Land Conservation

Dedicates funds to acquire and restore Florida conservation and recreation lands. Amendment 1 requires 33 percent of the net revenue collected from the documentary stamp tax (applied primarily to real estate transactions) to go toward the Land Acquisition Trust Fund.

A YES vote on Amendment 1 would:

Provide a long-term funding mechanism for environmental conservation without a new tax.

Remove reliance on yearly legislative funding for water and land conservation projects.

Enhance publicly held recreational lands, possibly contributing to economic growth through increased eco-tourism.

A NO vote on Amendment 1 would:

Not provide a long-term funding mechanism for environmental conservation without a new tax.

Retain the Legislature’s ability to make budgetary decisions on a year-to-year basis.

Not place language in the Florida Constitution relating to environmental conservation where it would be difficult to modify or remove.

AMENDMENT 2
Official ballot title: Use of Marijuana for Certain Medical Conditions

Amendment 2 allows individuals with debilitating diseases, as determined by a licensed Florida physician to purchase and use medical marijuana.

A YES on Amendment 2 would:

Provide for the legal use of marijuana by individuals with debilitating diseases, as determined by a licensed Florida physician.

Maintain the current prohibition on marijuana for recreational purposes.

Require the Department of Health to monitor centers that produce and distribute marijuana for medical purposes and to issue identification cards to patients and caregivers.

A NO vote on Amendment 2 would:

Not affect the current prohibition on marijuana use in the state of Florida.

Maintain the status quo as it relates to enforcement of the marijuana laws currently in place.

Not place language in the Florida Constitution relating to medical marijuana where it would be difficult to modify or remove.

AMENDMENT 3
Official ballot title: Prospective Appointment of Certain Judicial Vacancies

Amendment 3 would require a governor to prospectively fill vacancies on the Florida Supreme Court or a district court of appeal when a justice or judge: (1) reaches the mandatory retirement age of 70, (2) fails to qualify for a retention election, or (3) fails to secure a majority of votes during his or her retention election

A YES vote on Amendment 3 would:

Invalidate court interpretations of Florida’s Constitution as to who has the authority to fill judicial vacancies.

Enable an outgoing governor to make appointments to the Florida Supreme Court or a district court of appeal.

Possibly shorten the time of a judicial vacancy.

A NO vote on Amendment 3 would:

Ensure that a newly sworn-in governor will fill prospective judicial vacancies.

Keep language relating to judicial appointments out of the Florida Constitution, where it would be difficult to modify or remove.

Continue to allow judicial vacancies to exist for up to 120 days, possibly creating workload issues within the courts.

This information was provided by the League of Women’s Voters of Florida Education Fund.

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