AARP AARP States Florida Community

A Primer for the 2018 Florida Constitutional Amendments

AARP does not endorse or take a position on any of the amendments appearing on the 2018 November ballot.

Every 20 years the state Constitutional Revision Commission meets to decide if amendments to the Florida State Constitution are needed.  Here are the slate of amendments you'll see on your ballots on Nov. 6.

Portrait of senior woman holding election badge against American flag
Photographer: Jan Jefferson


Please note:

  • The full text for each amendment is available on the Florida Division of Elections website at dos.elections.myflorida.com/initiatives/
  • * = In some cases, measures have been grouped together, meaning voters will have to choose to approve or reject unrelated proposals that have been linked in one amendment.

Amendment 1

This amendment would increase the current $50,000 homestead exemption, except for school taxes, by another $25,000 for homes valued above $125,000, prorated for any home assessed at $100,000 or more. A reduction in revenues would require the state to reduce services or increase taxes.

  • A "yes" vote supports exempting the portion of home values between $100,000 and $125,000 from property taxes other than school taxes, bringing the maximum homestead exemption up to $75,000.
  • A "no" vote opposes exempting the portion of home values between $100,000 and $125,000 from property taxes other than school taxes, keeping the maximum homestead exemption at $50,000.

Amendment 2

This amendment would make permanent the cap of 10 percent on annual nonhomestead parcel assessment increases set to expire on January 1, 2019. The cap does not apply to school district taxes. It is estimated that amendments 1 and 2 together would cost local governments $1.3 billion a year.

  • A "yes" vote supports this amendment to make permanent the cap of 10 percent on annual nonhomestead parcel assessment increases set to expire on January 1, 2019.
  • A "no" vote opposes this amendment to make permanent the cap of 10 percent on annual nonhomestead parcel assessment increases set to expire on January 1, 2019.

Amendment 3

Any expansion of casino gambling in Florida would have to be approved by voters.

  • A "yes" vote supports this amendment to provide voters the exclusive right to decide whether to authorize the expansion of casino gambling in Florida.
  • A "no" vote opposes this amendment to provide voters the exclusive right to decide whether to authorize the expansion of casino gambling in Florida.

Amendment 4

This amendment would restore the voting rights of Floridians with felony convictions after they have completed all terms of their sentences, including probation and parole. It would not restore the voting rights of those convicted of murder or sexual offences unless the Governor and Cabinet voted to restore their rights on a case by case basis.

  • A "yes" vote supports this amendment to restore the right to vote for people with prior felony convictions, except those convicted of murder or a felony sexual offense, upon completion of their sentences, including prison, parole, and probation.
  • A "no" vote opposes this amendment to restore the right to vote for people with prior felony convictions, except those convicted of murder or a felony sexual offense, upon completion of their sentences, including prison, parole, and probation.

Amendment 5

This amendment would require a two-thirds vote of the Legislature to approve any new or increased taxes or fees, rather than a simple majority.

  • A "yes" vote supports requiring a two-thirds vote of each chamber of the Florida State Legislature to enact new taxes or fees or increase existing ones.
  • A "no" vote opposes the amendment, thus allowing the state legislature to continue approving increased or new taxes and fees through a simple majority vote and continue bundling tax and fee increases with bills that include other measures.

* Amendment 6

This amendment includes three separate issues - raising the retirement age for judges from 70 to 75, banning courts from deferring to a state agency’s expertise on interpreting a law or rule and creates a series of rights for crime victims under the Florida constitution.

  • A "yes" vote supports this amendment to:
    • create constitutional rights for of crime victims, known as a Marsy's Law;
    • increase the judicial mandatory retirement age from 70 to 75 years of age; and
    • prohibit judges and hearing officers from deferring to an administrative agency’s interpretation of a state statute or rule.
  • A "no" vote opposes this amendment to:
    • create constitutional rights for of crime victims, known as a Marsy's Law;
  • increase the judicial mandatory retirement age from 70 to 75 years of age; and
  • prohibit judges and hearing officers from deferring to an administrative agency’s interpretation of a state statute or rule in lawsuits.

* Amendment 7

This amendment includes three separate issues - requiring payment of mandatory death benefits and waiver of certain educational expenses to the survivors of first responders and military members killed or fatally injured while on duty, requiring university trustees and board of governors to agree by a two-thirds super-majority to raise college fees (not including tuition) and establishing the State College System in the Florida Constitution.

  • A "yes" vote supports this amendment to:
    • require employers to provide death benefits and waiver of certain educational expenses, as the state legislature defines, to qualifying survivors of first responders, active-duty Florida National Guard and U.S. Armed Forces members who are killed in the line of duty;
    • require a nine-member (of 13) vote of the board of trustees and 12-member (of 17) vote of the board of governors to increase a college fee; and
    • add the State College System to Fla. Const. art. IX that currently provides the framework and governance structures for our public K-12 education system and public universities.
  • A "no" vote opposes this amendment to:
    • require employers to provide death benefits and waiver of certain educational expenses, as the state legislature defines, to qualifying survivors of first responders, active-duty Florida National Guard and U.S. Armed Forces members who are killed in the line of duty;
    • require a nine-member (of 13) vote of the board of trustees and 12-member (of 17) vote of the board of governors to increase a college fee; and
    • add the State College System to Fla. Const. art. IX that currently provides the framework and governance structures for our public K-12 education system and public universities.

Amendment 8

The Florida Supreme Court struck Amendment 8 from the ballot after a lawsuit from the League of Women Voters that challenged the language used to describe it as misleading.

* Amendment 9

This amendment includes two separate issues – banning offshore drilling in “Florida territorial seas” and adding vaping to the state’s already-existing ban on smoking in indoor workplaces.

  • A "yes" vote supports this amendment to:
    • ban offshore drilling for oil and natural gas on lands beneath all state waters and
    • ban the use of vapor-generating electronic devices, such as electronic cigarettes, in enclosed indoor workplaces and permits more restrictive local vapor ordinances.
  • A "no" vote opposes this amendment to:
    • ban offshore drilling for oil and natural gas on lands beneath all state waters and
    • ban the use of vapor-generating electronic devices, such as electronic cigarettes, in enclosed indoor workplaces and permits more restrictive local vapor ordinances.

* Amendment 10

This amendment includes four separate issues – require that the state’s legislative session start in January rather than March in even-numbered years (the legislature currently changes its dates by statute), create a counter-terrorism office, require the legislature to establish the state veterans affairs department and require all counties to have an elected a sheriff, tax collector, property appraiser, supervisor of elections, and clerk of court.

  • A "yes" vote supports this amendment to:
    • require the legislature to convene regular session on the second Tuesday of January of even-numbered years;
    • create a state Office of Domestic Security and Counter-Terrorism;
    • require, rather than authorize, the legislature to provide for a state Department of Veterans Affairs; and
    • require that the following constitutionally prescribed county officers be elected by the electors in every county: sheriffs, property appraisers, supervisors of elections, tax collectors, and clerks of court.
  • A "no" vote opposes this amendment to:
    • require the legislature to convene regular session on the second Tuesday of January of even-numbered years;
    • create a state Office of Domestic Security and Counter-Terrorism;
    • require, rather than authorize, the legislature to provide for a state Department of Veterans Affairs; and
    • require that the following constitutionally prescribed county officers be elected by the electors in every county: sheriffs, property appraisers, supervisors of elections, tax collectors, and clerks of court.

* Amendment 11

This amendment includes three separate issues - revise the Constitution to remove language that stops “aliens ineligible for citizenship” from owning property (no longer an issue), delete wording regarding a high-speed rail amendment that has since been repealed and remove the state’s Savings Clause, which prohibits retroactively applying the amendment of a criminal statute to sentencing for a crime committed before the change.

  • A "yes" vote supports this amendment to:
    • repeal constitutional provision prohibiting foreign-born persons ineligible for citizenship from owning, inheriting, disposing, and possession property;
    • repeal an obsolete constitutional provision stating that a high-speed ground transportation system be developed in Florida; and
    • delete the constitutional provision that an amendment to a criminal statute does not affect the prosecution of a crime committed before the statute's amendment.
  • A "no" vote opposes this amendment to:
    • repeal constitutional provision prohibiting foreign-born persons ineligible for citizenship from owning, inheriting, disposing, and possession property;
    • repeal an obsolete constitutional provision stating that a high-speed ground transportation system be developed in Florida; and
    • delete the constitutional provision that an amendment to a criminal statute does not affect the prosecution of a crime committed before the statute's amendment.

Amendment 12

This amendment would prevent the governor, Cabinet members, agency heads, state lawmakers and local elected officials from getting paid to lobby their former colleagues for six years after leaving office. Former judges and justices would also be banned from lobbying the Legislature or executive branch for six years.

  • A "yes" vote supports prohibiting public officials from lobbying for compensation during the official's term in office and for six years after the official leaves office and prohibiting public officials from using the office to obtain a disproportionate benefit for themselves or their families.
  • A "no" vote opposes prohibiting public officials from lobbying for compensation during the official's term in office and for six years after the official leaves office and prohibiting public officials from using the office to obtain a disproportionate benefit for themselves or their families.

Amendment 13

The proposal would outlaw betting on greyhound racing by the end of 2020, though it would allow tracks to continue some other pari-mutuel offerings.

  • A "yes" vote supports prohibiting wagering on live dog races, including greyhound races, held in Florida and banning dog races in Florida on which there is wagering.
  • A "no" vote opposes prohibiting wagering on live dog races, including greyhound races, held in Florida and banning dog races in Florida on which there is wagering
About AARP Florida
Contact information and more from your state office. Learn what we are doing to champion social change and help you live your best life.