Florida Farm Bureau: 2020 Constitutional Amendments

FloridAgriculture eNewsletter September 2020

Florida Farm Bureau has a long history with Constitutional Amendments.  From pregnant pigs to “Hometown Democracy”, many amendments have had the potential to have a significant impact on Florida agriculture.  That’s why Farm Bureau reviews the amendments that will be on the ballot and takes positions on those that are supported by Farm Bureau policy or that clearly would have either a positive or negative effect on agriculture in the state.

In fact, there is a specific FFBF policy that addresses Constitutional Amendments.  It says:

We believe the Florida Constitution should be the founding document that describes the powers, duties and functions of government in the State of Florida.

Constitutional amendments should not contain provisions that could be accomplished through the legislative process.

We support making the ballot initiative process more deliberative. We support the elimination of

So clearly, a very high standard must be met for amendments to gain support.

Florida Farm Bureau opposes Amendment 2 dealing with minimum wage and supports Amendment 4 dealing with approval of Constitutional amendments.  FFBF does not have a specific policy position on the others.

Here is a brief description of each of the amendments.  If you have any questions, please contact the State Legislative Affairs office.

Amendment 1: Citizenship Requirement to Vote in Florida Elections

How the Amendment Reached the Ballot: Citizen Initiative

This amendment states that only United States Citizens who are at least 18 years of age, a permanent resident of Florida, and registered to vote, as provided by law, shall be qualified to vote in a Florida election.

Farm Bureau Position: No Position/No Farm Bureau Policy

Amendment 2: Raising Florida’s Minimum Wage

How the Amendment Reached the Ballot: Citizen Initiative

This amendment raises minimum wage to $10 per hour effective Sept. 30, 2021. Each Sept. 30 thereafter, minimum wage shall increase by $1 per hour until the minimum wage reaches $15 per hour on Sept. 30, 2026. From that point forward, future minimum wage increases shall revert to being adjusted annually for inflation starting Sept. 30, 2027.

Farm Bureau Position: Oppose –Farm Bureau Policy # 170 states that “We oppose an increase in the minimum wage and indexing of the minimum wage when believed to be inflationary.”

Amendment 3: All Voters Vote in Primary Elections for State Legislature, Governor and Cabinet

How the Amendment Reached the Ballot: Citizen Initiative

This amendment allows all registered voters to vote in primaries for state legislature, governor and cabinet regardless of political party affiliation. All candidates for an office, including party nominated candidates, appear on the same primary ballot. Two of the highest vote receivers advance to general election. If only two candidates qualify, no primary election is held and the winner is determined in the general election. The candidate’s party affiliation may appear on the ballot as provided by law. This would be effective Jan. 1, 2024.

Farm Bureau Position: No Position/No Policy

Amendment 4: Voters Approval of Constitutional Amendments

How the Amendment Reached the Ballot: Citizen Initiative

This amendment requires all proposed amendments or revisions to the state constitution to be approved by the voters in two elections, instead of one, in order to take effect. The proposal also requires the amendment to meet the current 60% threshold for passage in each of the two elections.

Florida Farm Bureau Position: Support-Farm Bureau Policy #149 states that “We support making the ballot initiative process more deliberative.”  By forcing each amendment to be passed by voters twice, this amendment is directly supported by Farm Bureau policy.

Amendment 5: Extend “Save our Homes” Portability Period for Homestead Property Tax Assessment

How the Amendment Reached the Ballot: Florida State Legislature

This would propose an amendment to the State Constitution, effective Jan. 1, 2021, to increase, from two years to three years, the period of time during which accrued Save-Our-Homes benefits may be transferred from a prior homestead to a new homestead.

Farm Bureau Position: No Position/No Policy

Amendment 6: Homestead Property Tax Discount for Surviving Spouses of Deceased Veterans

How the Amendment Reached the Ballot: Florida State Legislature

This amendment would provide that the homestead property tax discount for certain veterans with permanent combat-related disabilities carries over to such veteran’s surviving spouse who holds legal or beneficial title to, and who permanently resides on, the homestead property, until he or she remarries or sells or otherwise disposes of the property. The discount may be transferred to a new homestead property of the surviving spouse under certain conditions. The amendment takes effect Jan. 1, 2021.

Farm Bureau Position: No Position/No Policy