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The Republican Party of Florida (RPOF)
Has Issued the Following Recommendations for the Supreme Court Justice Retention Votes & Constitutional Amendments Appearing on the Nov. 6th Ballot:
(The Summaries provided are from Florida Trend Magazine, 
which the RPOF Recommended for review of these amendments)
Any Questions: Please Contact the Republican Party of Florida at 850-222-7920
 
Florida Supreme Court Justice Retention Votes:
R. Fred Lewis - Vote NO
Barbara Joan Pariente - Vote NO
Peggy A. Quince - Vote NO 
 
Florida Constitutional Amendments:
Amendment 1: Health Care Services  Vote YES
Summary:

Main Sponsors: Sen. Mike Haridopolos (R-Merritt Island) and Rep. Scott Plakon (R-Longwood)

Title: Health Care Services

What It Does: Prohibits laws or rules compelling anyone to buy health insurance but would not apply to the federal law that requires virtually all Americans to carry coverage.

Background: The measure - a rehash of an earlier proposal rejected by the Florida Supreme Court - holds little sway in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision upholding the individual mandate. The measure could prevent the state from implementing a Massachusetts-like health care law down the road, particularly if the federal health care law is repealed.

Proponents: Florida Chamber of Commerce

Opponents: Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida; Florida League of Women Voters

Budget Impact: None


Amendment 2: 
Veterans Disabled Due to Combat Injury; Homestead Property Tax Discount  Vote YES

Summary:

Main Sponsors: Sen. Mike Bennett (R-Bradenton) and Rep. Doug Holder (R-Sarasota)

Title: Disabled Veterans Homestead Property Tax Credit

What It Does: Provides a homestead property tax exemption for qualifying disabled veterans that is equal to the veteran's percentage of disability as determined by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Background: This amendment expands a previous tax discount for wounded veterans who were residents of Florida when they entered the military to all veterans disabled as a result of combat.

Proponents: The House and Senate

Opponents: Florida League of Women Voters

Budget Impact: About 74,000 veterans may qualify for the benefit, according to the Florida Department of Veterans' Affairs. The Revenue Estimating Conference estimates the proposal would reduce statewide receipts by about $15 million between 2013 and 2016, and $7.6 million annually after that. On the flip side, the tax break could help stimulate Florida's housing industry.

 

Amendment 3:

State Government Revenue Limitation Vote YES

Summary:

Main Sponsors: Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff (R-Fort Lauderdale) and Rep. Steve Precourt (R-Orlando)

Title: State Government Revenue Limitation

What It Does: Would limit revenue collected by the state to the amount collected the previous year plus an annual adjustment based on a combination of population growth and the rate of inflation. It would also require excess revenue to be deposited into the Budget Stabilization Fund, used to support public education, or returned to taxpayers.

Background: Florida has had a revenue limitation based on personal income growth since 1994, but some, including Senate President Mike Haridopolos, say tougher limits on state spending are needed to force lawmakers to "spend responsibly" and curb their tendency to overspend during periods of growth. Colorado voters approved a measure similar to this one in 1992 but went back to the polls three years later and voted to suspend the law after it resulted in cuts to vital public services and increased the cost of issuing bonds. Since then, more than 20 state legislatures have rejected similar proposals.

Proponents: Florida Chamber of Commerce, Associated Industries of Florida

Opponents: PICO United Florida, a network of 60 congregations and more than 60,000 families; the Federations of Congregations United to Serve (FOCUS); Florida League of Women Voters; AFL-CIO; AARP; Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida

Budget Impact: The new state revenue limitations will restrict the ability of the state government to raise taxes, issue licenses, fees, fines or charge for services and limits the use of revenue received in excess of the constitutional limitation.


Amendment 4:
Property Tax Limitations, Property Value Decline; Reduction for Nonhomestead Assessment Increases; Delay of Scheduled Repeal 
Vote YES

Summary:

Main Sponsors: Sen. Mike Fasano (R-New Port Richey) and Rep. Chris Dorworth (R-Lake Mary)

Title: Property Tax Limitations

What It Does: Current law caps annual assessment increases on non-homesteaded property at 10% a year. Amendment 4 reduces the assessment cap to 5% and delays expiration of that cap to 2023; gives first-time home buyers (those who have not purchased a home in Florida in the past three years) an additional homestead exemption up to $150,000 phased out over five years; and allows the Legislature to repeal Florida's "recapture" rule, which causes some taxable values on homesteaded property to rise even when market values have dropped.

Background: Dorworth, a real estate investor and developer, says Amendment 4 will make property taxes more manageable and stable. The proposal would reduce some of the inequities created by the 1992 Save Our Homes constitutional amendment but could reduce revenue to local governments and force them to raise millage rates.

Proponents: Taxpayers First, a political action committee backed by the Florida Association of Realtors; Florida Chamber of Commerce; Associated Industries of Florida

Opponents: Local governments, Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida, Florida League of Women Voters

Budget Impact: Assuming millage rates remain the same, local governments stand to lose about $273 million in 2013, with revenue shrinking by $600 million by 2016.


Amendment 5: State Courts
Vote: RPOF Has Issued a "No Opinion" on this Amendment
Summary:

Main Sponsors: Rep. Eric Eisnaugle (R-Orlando); championed by Rep. Dean Cannon (R-Winter Park)

Title: State Courts

What It Does: Main features include Senate confirmation of the governor's appointed justices, gives the Legislature power to repeal court rules by a simple majority vote, limits the re-adoption of repealed court rules, requires the Judicial Qualifications Commission to make all files available to the House Speaker and keep records confidential until impeachment is initiated.

Background: The measure is a scaled-back version of a failed effort by Cannon to split the state Supreme Court in two, add three justices and give the governor the authority to appoint the chief justice rather than rotating the post among the justices. Proponents claim they're trying to make the courts more efficient; others see the measure as an effort to politicize the courts and a power grab by the Legislature. The Florida Bar is not taking a position on the amendment.

Proponents: Approved by the House and Senate largely along party lines

Opponents: The ACLU of Florida, League of Women Voters of Florida, Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida

Budget Impact: None



Amendment 6: Prohibition on Public Funding of Abortions; Construction of Abortion Rights Vote YES

Summary:

Main Sponsors: Sen. Anitere Flores (R-Miami) and Rep. Dennis Baxley (R-Ocala)

Title: Prohibition on Public Funding of Abortions; Construction of Abortion Rights

What It Does: While federal and state law already prohibit public financing of abortions, this amendment would enshrine that ban in the state

Constitution. The amendment also prohibits spending public funds on health benefits that include coverage of abortion, but it would not apply to expenditures required by federal law, which include an abortion to save the life of the mother or pregnancies resulting from rape and incest. It also exempts abortions from the privacy clause of the state's constitution.

Background: Florida and federal law already prohibit spending for abortions unless they're needed to save the life of the woman or to end pregnancies caused by rape or incest, but putting it in the state constitution would make it much harder to repeal such a ban later. Exempting abortions from the privacy clause would clear the way for a parental consent law that the Florida Supreme Court has struck down twice. State Rep. Elaine Schwartz (D-Hollywood) has alleged that Republicans introduced the amendment as a "political move to get out the vote in 2012."

Proponents: Rufus "Randy" Armstrong, a Tampa obstetrician and longtime member of Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz who is spearheading support for the amendment through the group Citizens for Protecting Taxpayers and Parental Rights; Florida Family Action PAC, an arm of the Florida Family Policy Council, which pushed the 2008 gay marriage ban amendment; other anti-abortion groups, including Florida Right to Life and the Florida Catholic Conference

Opponents: The Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates; Florida National Organization for Women; National Council on Jewish Women, ACLU, Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida; Florida League of Women Voters, numerous editorial boards around the state

Budget Impact: None

  

Amendment 8: Religious Freedom Vote YES

Formerly Amendment 7: There is No Amendment 7 on the Ballot

Summary: 

Main Sponsors: Sen. Thad Altman (R-Melbourne), Rep. Scott Plakon (R-Longwood) and Rep. Steve Precourt (R-Orlando),

Title: Religious Freedom

What It Would Do: Would repeal the Florida Constitution's prohibition on state funding of religious organizations

Background: Proponents say that Amendment 8 is about the "continued delivery of non-sectarian social services by religious groups." Opponents, however, believe the main purpose of the GOP-backed amendment is to knock out a barrier to school voucher programs.

Proponents: Former Republican Rep. Juan Zapata, through a group called Citizens for Religious Freedom and Non-Discrimination; Florida Family Action; Florida Catholic Conference; Diocese of Venice; Florida Chamber of Commerce. Legislation placing the amendment on the ballot passed the House and Senate largely along party lines.

Opponents: ACLU of Florida; Americans United for the Separation of Church and State; Anti-Defamation League; Florida Education Association; Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida, Florida League of Women Voters

Budget Impact: Private religious institutions could benefit from receiving more public funds

  

Amendment 9: Homestead Property Tax Exemption for Surviving Spouse of Military Veteran or First Responder Vote YES
Summary:
Main Sponsors: Sen. Jim Norman (R-Tampa) and Rep. Shawn Harrison (R-Temple Terrace) 

Title: Homestead Property Tax Exemption for Surviving Spouse of Military Veteran or First Responder
What It Does: Eliminates property taxes on the homes of surviving spouses of veterans or first responders killed in the line of duty
Proponents: The measure was unanimously approved by both the Florida House and Senate and has garnered the backing of the Florida Order of Police and the Police Benevolent Association.
Opponents: Florida League of Women Voters
Budget Impact: Assuming current millage rates, the tax break will cost $600,000 annually - $300,000 a year for schools and $300,000 a year for non-school local governments beginning in 2013-14 - according to an analysis by the Florida House of Representatives.

  

Amendment 10: Tangible Personal Property Tax Exemption Vote YES

Summary:  

Main Sponsors: Sen. Nancy Detert (R-Venice) and Rep. Eric Eisnaugle (R-Orlando)

Title: Tangible Personal Property Tax Exemption

What It Does: Creates an additional exemption on tangible personal property valued at more than $25,000 but less than $50,000. It also authorizes counties and municipalities to provide additional exemptions by ordinance.

Background: In Florida, businesses are required to pay taxes on machinery, office furniture, computer equipment and other items of "tangible personal property" that they own. The measure would increase the existing tax exemption from $25,000 to $50,000. About 150,000 businesses would benefit.

Proponents: NFIB Florida; Gov. Rick Scott; Florida Chamber of Commerce; Associated Industries of Florida; Manufacturers Association of Florida; Florida League of Cities; Florida Association of Counties. The amendment passed 40-0 in the Senate and 112-2 in the House.

Opponents: Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida, Florida League of Women Voters

Budget Impact: Beginning in fiscal year 2013-14, it will cost local governments $20.1 million

  

Amendment 11: Additional Homestead Exemption for Low-Income Seniors who Maintain Long-Term Residency on Property; Equal to Assessed Value Vote YES

Summary: 

Main Sponsors: Sen. Rene Garcia (R-Hialeah) and Rep. Jose Oliva (R-Hialeah/Miami)

Title: Additional Homestead Exemption

What It Does: Allows counties and municipalities to grant an additional homestead tax exemption equal to the assessed value of the homestead property for low-income senior citizens

Background: Homeowners who are 65 years or older with an annual household income less than $27,030 who live in homes with a just market value of less than $250,000 would get the exemption. The owner must have the title to the property and must have maintained a permanent residency at that home for at least 25 years.

Proponents: Passed the House and Senate unanimously

Opponents: Florida League of Women Voters

Budget Impact: Will cost local governments an estimated $9.1 million in fiscal year 2014-15 and $9.4 million in 2015-16

  

Amendment 12: Appointment of Student Body President to Board of Governors of the State University System Vote YES

Summary: 
Main Sponsors: Sen. Bill Montford (D-Apalachicola) and Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Shalimar)

Title: Appointment of Student Body President to Board of Governors of the State University System

What It Does: Revises selection process for student member of Board of Governors of State University System. Replaces the president of the Florida Student Association with the chair of the council of state university student body presidents as the student member of the Board of Governors and requires the Board of Governors to organize the council of state university student body presidents.

Background: Currently, the student representative on the BOG is the chairman of the Florida Student Association, which was established to serve as a council consisting of the student body presidents from the 11 state universities. Florida State University, which does not participate in the Florida Student Association, has been aggressively lobbying for years for a change in the selection process.

Proponents: Florida State University. The measure passed the House unanimously and passed the Senate 37-3.

Opponents: Florida Student Association, Florida League of Women Voters

Budget Impact: None

 

 

The Above Recommendations are from the 
Republican Party of Florida (RPOF).  

Any Questions: Please Contact the Republican Party of Florida 

at 850-222-7920.

 

  

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