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Partisan School Board Elections

This amendment would make school board elections partisan statewide. Specifically, the candidate’s party affiliation would appear on the ballot, and the candidate could campaign with their party affiliation. This would reverse a 1988 Florida constitution amendment that made school board races nonpartisan.  

Here is why we recommend you vote NO:

This Amendment was added to the ballot by the Republican-held Florida Legislature. This bill is not about transparency at all. This bill is about making our school-board elections and our school boards more contentious. The Senate voted 29-11 in favor of the bill with all 28 Republican Senators voting in favor and 11 of the 12 Democratic Senators voting against. 

Fishing and Hunting

This amendment would establish fishing and hunting as a public right and the preferred way to manage and control fish and wildlife in Florida. 

Here is why we recommend you vote NO:

This Amendment was added to the ballot by the Republican-held Florida Legislature. This amendment could also have a significant impact on the state’s ability to manage public lands against wildfires and flooding. Some analysts have suggested that this amendment could even trump the rights of private property owners to restrict hunting on their own land. It could certainly tie the hands of future lawmakers to respond to currently unforeseen environmental consequences of hunting, such as Florida’s ban on gill-net fishing or its most recent laws against the gruesome “Internet hunt” sites that allow online users to fire real guns, loaded with real ammunition, at Florida wildlife using remote control and webcams— a practice so dangerous and wasteful that it’s banned in 42 states. That’s why this amendment seems so scary. Nobody can say exactly what it could do, or how much harm it could cause. Meanwhile, the only arguments in its favor seem to rest on the fallacy that hunting and fishing in Florida are under attack. So what’s the point of putting it on the ballot? The best argument we can see for this stinker is that it’s bait — intended to draw out low-information, far-right voters who can be easily swindled into believing that their rights are somehow under attack.

Recreational Marijuana Legalization

This amendment would allow recreational use of marijuana for those 21 years old or older (without requiring a doctor’s recommendation). Restrictions on possession amounts and licenses for sellers would also be established.

Here is why we recommend you vote YES:

This Amendment was added to the ballot by citizens of Florida. The Seminole County Democratic Party has been strong supporters of this bill.  

There is no evidence that legalizing marijuana for medical or recreational use at the state level, as 37 states already have done, has boosted underage consumption from the regulated marketplace. The continued black market sale of marijuana perpetuates a culture of criminality. If adult-use cannabis is legalized, Florida users will have accountability, transparency, and regulations in place to ensure products are not laced with or contain potentially deadly chemicals. Now is the time to treat marijuana the same as we treat beer, wine and spirits. Passing Amendment 3 will create tens of thousands of new jobs, generate hundreds of millions for our state each year, and save taxpayers money by not having to pay to prosecute simple crimes for possession. 

The amendment’s financial impact primarily comes from expected sales tax collections. If legal today, sales of non-medical marijuana would be subject to sales tax and would remain so if voters approve this amendment. Based on other states’ experiences, expected retail sales of non-medical marijuana would generate at least $195.6 million annually in state and local sales tax revenues once the retail market is fully operational.

Abortion Access Increase

This amendment would increase access to abortion in Florida by prohibiting state government from making laws that interfere with abortion services. It would reverse Florida’s six-week abortion ban that went into effect on May 1, 2024. The key text states: 

“No law shall prohibit, penalize, delay, or restrict abortion before viability or when necessary to protect the patient’s health, as determined by the patient’s healthcare provider.” 

Parents or guardians would still be required to be notified before a minor has an abortion.

Here is why we recommend you vote YES:

This Amendment was added to the ballot by citizens of Florida. The Seminole County Democratic Party has been strong supporters of this bill.

All Floridians deserve the freedom to make personal medical decisions, free of government intrusion and there are so many reasons why someone may make the deeply personal decision to have an abortion – maybe their birth control failed, or they were a victim of rape or incest, or carrying a pregnancy would endanger their lives. Politicians shouldn’t be allowed to interfere in this personal decision or to prevent nurses and doctors from treating their patients. Supporters of the initiative include the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida, Planned Parenthood, Florida Women’s Freedom Coalition, Florida Rising, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) 1199 Florida, and Women’s Voices of Southwest Florida.

Inflation Adjustment for Homestead Taxes

This amendment would implement cost-of-living increases for some homestead exemptions. This would reduce taxes paid by some homeowners but would also reduce revenues to local government. This amendment does not apply to school board taxes. 

(Note: Property taxes are based on the value of the home. Homestead exemptions reduce the taxable value, thus reducing taxes owed by the homeowner.)

Here is why we recommend you vote NO:

This Amendment was added to the ballot by the Republican-held Florida Legislature. While this bill may sound good in theory, Amendment 5, would cement in place Florida’s inequitable tax system and low investment in public services, locking in inequality for generations to come. This Amendment would help some homeowners at the expense of other Floridians. The Florida League of Cities raised concerns about the proposal during this year’s legislative session. Casey Cook, chief of legislative affairs for the League of Cities, said business owners, renters and local governments will take a hit if Amendment 5 passes. “Another way to put it is that one person’s tax cut is another person’s tax increase.”

Among House Democrats, five were in favor and 29 were opposed. Among House Republicans, 81 were in favor and none were opposed. Of Senate Republicans, 25 were in favor and three were opposed. All 12 Senate Democrats voted against the amendment.

Public Campaign Financing

This amendment would take away a state constitution provision that provides public funds for those running for statewide office who agree to follow certain campaign spending limits.

Here is why we recommend you vote NO:

This Amendment was added to the ballot by the Republican-held Florida Legislature.

Florida voters adopted Amendment 11 in 1998, which provided for public campaign financing for statewide offices. The amendment was approved with 64.12% of voters in favor and 35.88% opposed. State Sen. Tina Polsky (D-30), who voted against the amendment in the Senate, said, “It is very clear that the Republican Party has a lot more money, funding, outside groups, special interest groups, who help pay for campaigns than the Democratic Party has in Florida. And, as a result, it seems this would be a negative for Democratic candidates.”