Three State Constitutional Amendments Fail

Staff Report
BRADENTON — Three constitutional amendments were put before voters in referendum measures on Tuesday's ballot, two of which could have had significant future consequences. While all three received more than 50 percent support, none reached the required 60 percent threshold for passage.

Amendment 1 was seen as a simple corrective measure. It authorized the Florida Legislature to prohibit flood resistance improvements from being taken into consideration when determining a property's assessed tax value. Somewhat surprisingly, however, it received only 57 percent of the vote.

Amendment 2 was potentially much more impactful, as it would have abolished the Florida Constitution Revision Commission. In 1968, Florida became the first and only state to allow for its constitution to be revisited and changed through a regularly scheduled commission that would meet every 20 years. 

The group of 37 commissioners examines the constitution's current and future needs, proposing various amendments. This is one of three ways a constitutional referendum can get on a ballot, along with citizen signature petitions and those proposed by the state legislature itself. It was indeed the legislature, which often clashed with CRC on proposals, that put Amendment 2 on this year's ballot. 

The Republican-led proposal attacked the CRC's ability to bundle multiple, unrelated issues under one measure. Democratic opponents argued that such imperfections be cured legislatively rather than through the abolition of the commission.

Citizens were not expected to give up this process, especially considering how laborious and expensive the citizen-initiated process can be. The measure received 54 percent approval getting much closer to the threshold than expected. 

Amendment 3 would have authorized the legislature to create an additional homestead property tax exemption for a broad array of public service workers including teachers, active duty military, and child protective service workers. Opponents pointed out that nearly all of the fields had higher average earnings than that of the average Floridian and that an exemption based on taxable earnings rather than occupation would be more equitable.

The Florida League of Women Voters opposed the measure, stating, "This proposal may have merit, but the League has a longstanding position that 'no tax sources or revenue should be specified, limited, exempted, or prohibited in the Constitution." The measure received the most support from voters, getting 59 percent support, and failing by just 1 percent. 

Editor's Note: TBT initially reported that the three measures had passed, failing to note the 60 percent requirement. We apologize for any confusion caused by the mistake.

Reader Comments
William W Granger
NOV 12, 2022  •  Ironically, the amendment to require 60% approval got less than 60% of the votes when 50% was the requirement for passage.