Constitutional Amendments

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The general election is right around the corner and there is a list of amendments that will be appearing on the November 7 ballots.

There are six amendments to Florida's Constitution that people will be voting on in the general election. One of the first amendments deals with the state budget. This is a long and complicated issue, but it basically streamlines the budget for the Legislature.

The next proposed law tries to make it more difficult to make these constitutional amendments. It would require a 60 percent approval of voters to make a change. The hope is that the Constitution doesn't become frivolous or full of laws that only pertain to a specific region.

The Tobacco Advertising Amendment requires some history. Several years back, Florida received money from a tobacco settlement. Students Working Against Tobacco, or SWAT, used this money to fight teen smoking. They put out several in-your-face, anti-smoking ads that were pulled because lawmakers decided they were too gritty in nature.

This latest amendment would give 15 percent of the original tobacco settlement money to spend on a less offensive youth anti-smoking campaign for the state.

Pass new amendments to the state Constitution, and how new non-smoking ads will be funded. Two amendments you'll be voting on next month will bring some serious tax breaks to senior citizens.

One change would give senior citizens double homestead exemption. This means they would get a $50,000 maximum deduction from the original appraisal of their home. There is one catch though; seniors can't get the deduction if they make $20,000 a year.

The next amendment would reduce property taxes for disabled veterans 65 and older. To qualify, the senior vet must be at least partially disabled from combat and registered as a Florida resident at the time of entering the service, as well as being honorably discharged.

The final proposed change would make sure your property isn't taken by eminent domain and given to a person or private business. This essentially overturns a Supreme Court ruling. A three-fifths majority of both Houses of the Legislature would be needed to create an exception.