TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – With less than a year to go until the 2022 midterm election, there are no high-profile constitutional amendment proposals to get Florida voters to the polls.
But that could change – sports betting, legal marijuana, choice voting and the protection of Florida’s iconic animal species are among the proposals vying to be on the ballot.
So far, only two amendments have officially done so in the 2022 poll.
Amendment 1, Limitation on the valuation of real estate used for residential purposes, would encourage homeowners to be more prepared for flooding by excluding home improvements that are resistant to flooding from affecting the assessed value of the house for tax purposes. .
Amendment 2, abolishing the Constitutional Review Commission, is self-explanatory. The CRC meets every 20 years to propose amendments. The commission last met in 2017, recommending eight changes to Florida‘s constitution. The commission is made up of 37 members; the Attorney General is an ex officio member. The other commissioners are appointed by the Governor (15), the President of the Senate (9), the Speaker of the House (9) and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Florida (3). A previous effort to abolish the commission failed in 1980.
Several other proposed changes are still pending approval.
One would fully legalize the possession, transportation, use and cultivation of marijuana by adults, allowing up to nine plants per adult and 18 per household. The measure would also ban state lawmakers from limiting the percentage of THC in marijuana, a proposal that gained some support at Florida House earlier this year, but ultimately failed.
Voters could have a choice of at least three gambling amendments.
Two proposed changes would create more casinos: one allows three new casinos as long as they are not within 100 miles of a tribal facility and the applicant spends at least $ 500 million over three years on ” new development and construction costs … not included[ing] any purchase price and costs associated with the acquisition of a building on which the Games Complex is located.
The second would allow existing licensed card rooms to expand into casinos if they spend $ 250 million on development within three years and are not within 130 miles of a tribal casino.
A proposed third amendment on gambling would allow sports betting for all adults 21 and over, whether online or in casinos, sports venues or dog tracks. All sports betting tax revenues collected by the state must go to the state Education Improvement Trust Fund.
Two proposed amendments stem directly from struggles against Covid-19 measures.
After turbulent battles between school districts and heads of state, a proposed new amendment would return the education commissioner to an elected post in the Florida cabinet, a practice that ended with Charlie Crist in 2003, after which he was reduced to a post appointed by the State Board of Education and not the cabinet.
The freedom to pray together amendment would make it illegal to take any government action to close churches or limit the size of their gatherings for more than 21 days, unless approved by the legislature.
The Affordable Housing Amendment would address the growing state crisis by creating a state and local housing trust fund, withholding 25% of the current excise tax on documents for finance measures such as new construction and financial assistance for closing costs and down payments.
At the polls, another proposed amendment would allow preferential voting in all general elections. Initially, the votes would be counted as usual – a candidate gets credit for all the ballots where they are listed as the voter’s first choice. If no candidate obtains a majority, the candidate who arrives last will have their votes redistributed to the voter ‘s second choice candidate. The process is repeated until a candidate obtains a majority of all the votes counted.
And five amendments proposed by FL5.org attempt to provide constitutional protections for Florida’s wildlife and environment.
Two proposals would ban forms of hunting: captive wildlife and the hunting of iconic Florida species, including “Florida black bear, Florida panther, manatee, main deer, Florida scrub jay,” the bald eagle, the red cockade woodpecker, the bottlenose dolphin, the right whale and sea turtles.
The other three changes would help protect Florida’s waters, wetlands and conservation, and rural lands.
To appear on the ballot, initiative petitions must obtain a minimum number of signatures equal to 8% of the votes cast in the last presidential election, distributed in at least half of the congressional districts of the state, i.e. nearly 900,000 Floridians. The proposed changes must also be reviewed by the state Supreme Court.