EARLY VOTING NOW OPEN: Study Up On the 2018 General Amendments and Referenda

By  //  October 28, 2018

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early voting period for the 2018 General Election is now open

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – The early voting period for the 2018 General Election is now open and will continue through Saturday, November 3.

Polling place hours will be 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends.

Be sure to prepare as the following General Amendments and Referenda items below are scheduled to appear on the 2018 General Election ballot: 

No. 1: Constitutional Amendment, Article VII, Section 6, Article XII, Section 37.
Increased Homestead Property Tax Exemption

Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution to increase the homestead exemption by exempting the assessed valuation of homestead property greater than $100,000 and up to $125,000 for all levies other than school district levies. The amendment shall take effect on January 1, 2019.

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No. 2: Constitutional Amendment, Article XII, Section 27.
Limitations on Property Tax Assessments

Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution to permanently retain provisions currently in effect, which limit property tax assessment increases on specified nonhomestead real property, except for school district taxes, to 10 percent each year. If approved, the amendment removes the scheduled repeal of such provisions in 2019 and shall take effect January 1, 2019.

No.3: Constitutional Amendment, Article X, Section 29, Article XI
Voter Control of Gambling in Florida

This amendment ensures that Florida voters shall have the exclusive right to decide whether to authorize casino gambling by requiring that in order for casino gambling to be authorized under Florida law, it must be approved by Florida voters pursuant to Article XI, Section 3 of the Florida Constitution. Affects articles X and XI. Defines casino gambling and clarifies that this amendment does not conflict with federal law regarding state/tribal compacts.

The amendment’s impact on state and local government revenues and costs, if any, cannot be determined at this time because of its unknown effect on gambling operations that have not been approved by voters through a constitutional amendment proposed by a citizens’ initiative petition process.

No. 4: Constitutional Amendment, Article VI, Section 4.
Voting Restoration Amendment

This amendment restores the voting rights of Floridians with felony convictions after they complete all terms of their sentence including parole or probation. The amendment would not apply to those convicted of murder or sexual offenses, who would continue to be permanently barred from voting unless the Governor and Cabinet vote to restore their voting rights on a case by case basis.

The precise effect of this amendment on state and local government costs cannot be determined, but the operation of current voter registration laws, combined with an increased number of felons registering to vote, will produce higher overall costs relative to the processes in place today. The impact, if any, on state and local government revenues cannot be determined. The fiscal impact of any future legislation the implements a different process cannot be reasonably determined.

No. 5: Constitutional Amendment, Article VII, Section 19.
Supermajority Vote Required to Impose, Authorize, or Raise State Taxes or Fees.

Prohibits the legislature from imposing, authorizing, or raising a state tax or fee except through legislation approved by a two-thirds vote of each house of the legislature in a bill containing no other subject. This proposal does not authorize a state tax or fee otherwise prohibited by the Constitution and does not apply to fees or taxes imposed or authorized to be imposed by a county, municipality, school board, or special district.

No. 6: Constitutional Revision, Article I, Section 16, Article V, Sections 8 and 21, Article XII, New Section.
Rights of Crime Victims; Judges

Creates constitutional rights for victims of crime; requires courts to facilitate victims’ rights; authorizes victims to enforce their rights throughout criminal and juvenile justice processes. Requires judges and hearing officers to independently interpret statutes and rules rather than deferring to government agency’s interpretation. Raises mandatory retirement age of state justices and judges from seventy to seventy-five years; deletes authorization for judges to complete term if one-half of term has been served by retirement age.

No. 7: Constitutional Revision, Article IX, Sections 7 and 8, Article X, New Section.
First Responder and Military Member Survivor Benefits; Public Colleges and Universities

Grants mandatory payment of death benefits and waiver of certain educational expenses to qualifying survivors of certain first responders and military members who die performing official duties. Requires supermajority votes by university trustees and state university system board of governors to raise or impose all legislatively authorized fees if law requires approval by those bodies. Establishes existing state college system as constitutional entity; provides governance structure.

No. 9: Constitutional Revision, Article II, Section 7, Article X, Section 20.
Prohibits Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling; Prohibits Vaping in Enclosed Indoor Workplaces

Prohibits drilling for the exploration or extraction of oil and natural gas beneath all state-owned waters between the mean high water line and the state’s outermost territorial boundaries. Adds use of vapor-generating electronic devices to current prohibition of tobacco smoking in enclosed indoor workplaces with exceptions; permits more restrictive local vapor ordinances.

No. 10: Constitutional Revision, Article III, Section 3, Article IV, Sections 4 and 11, Article VIII, Sections 1 and 6.
State and Local Government Structure and Operation

Requires legislature to retain department of veterans’ affairs. Ensures election of sheriffs, property appraisers, supervisors of elections, tax collectors, and clerks of court in all counties; removes county charters’ ability to abolish, change term, transfer duties, or eliminate election of these offices. Changes annual legislative session commencement date in even-numbered years from March to January; removes legislature’s authorization to fix another date. Creates office of domestic security and counterterrorism within department of law enforcement.

No. 11: Constitutional Revision, Article I, Section 2, Article X, Sections 9 and 19.
Property Rights; Removal of Obsolete Provision; Criminal Statutes

Removes discriminatory language related to real property rights. Removes obsolete language repealed by voters. Deletes provision that amendment of a criminal statute will not affect prosecution or penalties for a crime committed before the amendment; retains current provision allowing prosecution of a crime committed before the repeal of a criminal statute.

No. 12: Constitutional Revision, Article II, Section 8, Article V, Section 13, Article XII, New Section.
Lobbying and Abuse of Office by Public Officers

Expands current restrictions on lobbying for compensation by former public officers; creates restrictions on lobbying for compensation by serving public officers and former justices and judges; provides exceptions; prohibits abuse of a public position by public officers and employees to obtain a personal benefit.

No. 13: Constitutional Revision, Article X, New Section, Article XII, New Section.
Ends Dog Racing

Phases out commercial dog racing in connection with wagering by 2020. Other gaming activities are not affected.

Cocoa Beach City Charter Amendment, Question 1
Revised Building Height Accommodations

Shall the City Charter be amended to revise the Charter’s building height limit accommodations, adding a 10-foot allowance on the top of buildings for unoccupied building elements and attachments, and where applicable, specifying that the 45-foot Charter building height limit shall be measured from a parcel’s FEMA Base Flood Elevation or other legally required minimum elevation for construction of habitable space, rather than the crown of abutting road?

Cocoa Beach City Charter, Question 2
Cleanup Amendment

Shall the Cocoa Beach City Charter be amended to make certain technical, corrective and conforming changes to the Charter to correct scrivener’s and grammatical errors, provide clarifying definitions relating to City boards, committees and departments, conform City budget procedures to current state law, and add clarifications to make the Charter easier to read and understand?

Town of Malabar, Question 1
Continued Participation in the Brevard County Law Enforcement MSTU

Shall the Town continue to participate in the Brevard County Law Enforcement MSTU?

City of Melbourne Referendum General Obligation Bonds
Police Headquarters Facility Project

Shall the City of Melbourne issue general obligation bonds to finance the property acquisition, design, construction, and equipping of a police headquarters facility, not exceeding $35,000,000 in aggregate principal, in one or more series from time to time, bearing interest not exceeding the maximum legal rate, maturing not later than 20 years from their respective issuance dates, pledging the City’s full faith, credit, and ad valorem taxing power?

City of Palm Bay Referendum No. 1
Economic Development Ad Valorem Tax Exemptions

Shall the City of Palm Bay, Florida, be authorized to continue to grant, pursuant to Section 3, Article VII of the State Constitution, property tax exemptions to new businesses and expansions of existing businesses for the purpose of encouraging job creation?

City of Palm Bay Referendum No. 2
Bonds for Road Improvement Projects in Palm Bay

Shall the City be authorized to issue general obligation bonds for the exclusive purpose of improving local roadways and ancillary facilities and eliminating potholes in an amount not to exceed $150,000,000, payable from annual ad valorem taxes maturing not later than twenty years from the date of each issuance and bearing interest at a rate not exceeding the maximum legal rate, with all expenditures reviewed by a citizens advisory committee?

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