constitutional amendments

Floridians have approved Amendment 13 – meaning gambling on live greyhound racing will be phased out by 2020. That could leave many dogs looking for new homes.

AL DIAZ / MIAMI HERALD

In a major win for the politically powerful Florida Sheriff’s Association, the largest law enforcement agency in the state of Florida will soon be led by an elected sheriff, thanks to the passage of Amendment 10.

Currently, the Miami-Dade County Police Department is headed by a police chief, who is appointed by the county mayor.

WLRN

A constitutional amendment that would restore the right for  former felons to vote in Florida passed.

Amendment 4 needed at least 60 percent of votes to pass.

People with felony convictions who complete their sentence and the terms of their release will now automatically have their voting rights restored. 

Florida has never had an automatic restoration process, though many say under Gov. Rick Scott’s administration the steps to have voting right restored grew even more restrictive.

The first of 12 amendments Florida voters will see on the ballot November 6th might seem like a straightforward proposal. But the facts around Amendment 1 aren't that simple.

Nadege Green / WLRN

Florida is one of the strictest states when it comes to restoring the right to vote for people with felony convictions.

Former felons do not automatically get the right to vote back after they’ve served their time. That's  1.5 million Floridians who cannot vote.

Amendment 4 would automatically restore the right to vote for former felons except for people with murder or sex crime convictions.

It has wide bipartisan support and very little organized opposition, though some candidates have stated they are not in support of an automatic restoration process.

Al Diaz / Miami Herald

One of the statewide amendments voters will be facing in November includes four different questions. It would mandate a state department of veteran affairs, and a state anti-terrorism office. It would also change the calendar of state legislative sessions. And lastly, it would make fundamental changes to the way counties are run. It’s that last question that has county leaders in Miami-Dade, Broward and Volusia up in arms.

WIKIPEDIA.ORG

On Nov. 6, Florida voters will decide a crucial gambling fight.

Amendment 3, the Voter Approval of Casino Gambling Initiative, would give voters the "exclusive right to decide whether to authorize casino gambling" in the state. That means that any new casino gambling in Florida -- which includes casino games, card games, and slot machines -- would require voter approval through a constitutional amendment.

Sammy Mack / WLRN

Buried deep in the War-and-Peace-length tome that is this November's Florida ballot, voters will find a question asking if a ban on offshore drilling and a ban on vaping should be codified in the state constitution.

Yup, Amendment 9 is the bundled amendment bringing together e-cigarettes and oil rigs.

In its own words:

NO. 9

CONSTITUTIONAL REVISION

Article II, Section 7

Article X, Section 20

Florida is one of only a few states that doesn’t automatically restore voting rights to felons who’ve completed their sentences. The fight goes back years and it's been waged both in court and in the court of public opinion. Now, voters themselves have the chance to weigh in with Amendment 4. It  would automatically restore rights to most felons. But there are exceptions that’s created a divide inside the main group pushing hardest for the change.

Emily Michot / Miami Herald

As voters across Florida gear up for early voting for the November elections, and as some ballots have already been shipped out to overseas voters, one question is being repeated over dinner tables and text message chains: “How should I vote on this amendment that is asking me three different questions at the same time?”

AP

It’s going to be a marathon for South Florida voters this general election. They’ll run into a long ballot: several candidates for state and local office, a dozen proposed constitutional amendments and all the local referenda.

Columbia City Blog /Flickr

Though one justice wrote that voters should “beware,” the Florida Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected a challenge to three proposed constitutional amendments on the November ballot --- including a measure that seeks to ban offshore oil drilling and vaping in workplaces.

Justices overturned a ruling by Leon County Circuit Judge Karen Gievers that would have blocked the constitutional amendments in a case focused on whether the proposals improperly “bundled” unrelated issues into single ballot measures.

Miami Herald

South Florida voters will need to do some homework before heading to the ballot box in the upcoming November general election. Some voters may have more than one page of items and races to vote on. That includes 12 amendment items to be considered for inclusion in the state constitution.

Some of those amendments are actually more than one item that had to be bundled together as to not have too many items on the ballot. A couple of those are being challenged in court.

Lily Oppenheimer / WLRN

The last thing senior paralegal Karen Leicht ever imagined was that she would serve three years in prison for a felony charge.

“It is a huge skeleton in the closet,” Leicht said after speaking on a panel organized by  the Greater Miami Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Miami branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and a group of public defenders at the Palmetto Bay public library on Sunday.

MIKE MOZART / FLICKR

Arguing that the measures would violate First Amendment rights, an attorney for two plaintiffs urged the Florida Supreme Court  to uphold a lower-court ruling that would block three proposed constitutional amendments from going before voters in November. 

Attorney Joseph Little filed a 50-page brief last Friday after Attorney General Pam Bondi’s office last week requested that the Supreme Court allow the ballot measures to move forward.

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