Amendment Four Would Require ‘Do Over’ Votes

Published: Sep. 17, 2020 at 6:00 PM EDT
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(WCJB) - In the last three decades, voters have saved themselves billions in property taxes, limited how long politicians can stay in office and improved overall health through constitutional amendments, but a yes on Amendment four on November’s ballot could be the end of citizen amendments.

In 1992, voters approved Save Our Homes.

It caps tax increases at 3 percent on homesteads and saves homeowners about $5 billion every year.

“Voters have taken matters into their own hands when the politicians have decided that it’s an issue they don’t want to take on, or they oppose,” said political strategist John Sowinski.

Voters have also approved citizen initiatives that include term limits, stopping workplace smoking, limiting class sizes, drawing legislative districts fairly, conserving water and land, medical marijuana and giving nonviolent felons the right to vote again.

But any future amendments could be stifled by Amendment four on this November’s ballot.

It requires voters to approve amendments twice, two years apart.

“It’s pure objective is to eliminate the process. To make it totally impractical and implausible for citizen groups to gather signatures to place an issue on the ballot,” said Sowinski.

More than $9 million has already gone into getting Amendment four on the ballot, but who gave it has been a secret, with one political committee giving to another.

“We don’t know a lot about them. And frankly, they need to be transparent as to exactly who they are,” said League of Women Voters of Florida President Patricia Brigham.

On Thursday, Florida TaxWatch recommended a yes vote.

“So having it go before the voters twice is saying, are you sure? And if you are, then we’ll actually amend our organic law,” said Calabro.

Nevada is the only state that requires a do-over, but only for citizen initiatives.

Florida’s would apply to all amendments.

The contact information for the group giving and receiving money for Amendment Four lists the same Ft. Lauderdale law firm.

It did not return our call.

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