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La Gaceta Endorses on the Amendments

From “As We Heard It,” by Patrick Manteiga, Sept. 11, 2020

On the November general election ballot, there will be six constitutional amendments.
Amendment 1
This amendment replaces “Every” with “Only a” in the sentence “Every citizen of the United States who is at least eighteen years of age and who is a permanent resident of the state, if registered as provided by law, shall be an elector of the county where registered.”
There is no legal difference between “Every citizen” and “Only a citizen.” This amendment will change nothing.
A non-profit, Florida Citizen Voters, spent over $4 million to get the signatures to place this amendment on the ballot. The money came from Citizen Voters, Inc. That group will not say where the money came from and there are similar amendments in other states.
Some believe the amendment is on the ballot to drive out conservative voters who will believe the amendment prevents non-citizen immigrants from voting. These conservatives will also vote for Trump.
This could also be a vehicle for the principals of Citizen Voters to pocket a lot of money in salaries and fees.
Either way, it is a waste of ink and paper.
La Gaceta urges a “No” vote on Amendment 1.
Amendment 2
This adds language to the Constitution that reads, “Effective September 30th, 2021, the existing state Minimum Wage shall increase to $10.00 per hour, and then increase each September 30th thereafter by $1.00 per hour, until the Minimum Wage reaches $15.00 per hour on September 30th, 2026.”
Each year, after beginning on Sept. 20, 2027, the State will calculate, as it currently does, the rate of inflation and adjust the minimum wage accordingly.
If you believe in a living wage, this looks like a reasonable way to achieve it. We believe, therefore La Gaceta endorses a “Yes” vote on Amendment 2.
Amendment 3
This would change the way we elect the governor, attorney general, chief financial officer, commissioner of agriculture and Florida Legislature. Instead of having Democratic and Republican primaries, all candidates for an office would be placed on the ballot regardless of party. If there are more than two candidates, the group would be placed on the primary ballot. If there are only two, the group would be placed on the general election ballot. In the primary and general election, all voters, regardless of party, would vote.
The two candidates receiving the most votes would then be placed on the general election ballot, where all voters would vote again.
Political parties would still exist and could still nominate candidates, promote them and help finance campaigns.
Some believe this method would encourage more people to participate in elections and that the primaries would produce more moderate candidates.
Critics say minority representation could be hurt.
Under the present system, Democrats hold very few of these offices, so any change in the system could only help Democrats. It certainly couldn’t get worse.
La Gaceta cautiously endorses a “Yes” vote on Amendment 3.
Amendment 4
This change would require constitutional amendments to be approved twice by 60 percent of voters rather than the current requirement of once before becoming law.
It seems strange to believe 60 percent or more of the voters would vote yes on an issue and change their minds two years later.
La Gaceta endorses a “No” vote on Amendment 4.
Amendment 5
This amendment would be a benefit to homeowners, as it increases the time to transfer “Save Our Homes” homestead tax benefits from your old homestead to your new one from two to three years.
Extending the portability of the difference between the assessed value and the just value (market value) of your old homestead makes sense for a lot of people who want to build a new home or have delayed buying because of unforeseen circumstances, such as a pandemic.
La Gaceta endorses a “Yes” vote for Amendment 5.
Amendment 6
Currently, veterans age 65 or older, who apply, who are partially or totally permanently disabled, receive a discount on their homestead property equal to the percentage of their permanent service connected disability.
This amendment would transfer the discount to the spouse upon death of the veteran for as long as the spouse holds legal or beneficial title to the homesteaded property and permanently resides there. The surviving spouse can also transfer the discount to a new homestead.
If the spouse remarries, the discount is discontinued. This seems fair and just.
La Gaceta endorses a “Yes” vote for Amendment 6.

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