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
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
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
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
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
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