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Guide to Florida's 2012 proposed amendments

Florida voters will go to the polls on Nov. 6, and be hit with a long, wordy list of proposed ballot amendments. Here is a guide to what the measures would change if enacted, and The Tampa Tribune editorial board's recommendation. And, there is no Amendment 7. That one was removed by the Legislature. If you are confused, you are not alone. Read about other people's reactions. 1. Health care (Tribune recommends: No)
This amendment would prohibit laws or rules from compelling anyone or an employer to purchase, obtain, or otherwise provide for health care coverage. Read more: Ruling takes the teeth out of health care.
2. Homestead exemption for disabled veterans (Tribune recommends: Yes)
This amendment would expand the property discount on homesteads to combat-injured veterans who were not Florida residents at the time of their injury. 3. Government revenue limit (Tribune recommends: No)
Under this amendment, state revenues collected in excess of the revenue limitation will be added to the budget stabilization fund until the fund reaches its maximum balance. Then, the money will be used for public schools by reducing the financial effort required from districts for participation in a state education finance program. Read more: Cap aims to end budget boom, bust.
4. Property tax and values (Tribune recommends: No)
This amendment specifies that assessed value of homestead property may not increase if the market value is less than it was the preceding Jan. 1. The amendment would also reduce from 10 percent to 5 percent the limitation on annual changes in assessments of nonhomestead real property. Read more: Tax breaks mean unintended consequences. 5. State court oversight (Tribune recommends: No)
This amendment would let the Legislature repeal rules on how the judiciary operates with a simple majority instead of a two-thirds majority. This amendment also would require Senate confirmation of a governor’s nominee for Supreme Court justice. Read more: Measure seeks to rein in courts. Read the Tribune's position. 6. Public funding of abortions (Tribune recommends: Yes)
This amendment would deny public funds for any abortion or for health coverage that includes the procedure. The prohibition does not apply to any coverage required by federal law. Read more: Proposal rekindles debate on limits. 7. This amendment on religious freedom was removed by the Legislature. 8. Religious freedom (Tribune recommends: No)
This amendment would delete the prohibition against using state revenue directly or indirectly in aid of any church, sect, or religious denomination or in aid of any sectarian institution. Read more: Amendment reignites school voucher debate. 9. Tax relief for a surviving spouse (Tribune recommends: Yes)
The amendment authorizes the Legislature to totally or partially exempt from property taxes the homestead property of a surviving spouse of a military veteran or first responder who died in the line of duty. 10. Exemption on personal property (Tribune recommends: No)
This amendment would provide an exemption from ad valorem taxes on tangible personal property if the assessed value is greater than $25,000 but less than $50,000. 11. Expanded homestead for low-income seniors (Tribune recommends: Yes)
This amendment would allow an additional homestead tax exemption to a property owner who has lived there for 25 years, is 65 years of age and has a low household income. 12. Student representation on Board of Governors (Tribune recommends: No)
This amendment would require the Board of Governors to create a council of state university student body presidents and name the chair of that council as the student member of the board, replacing the Florida Student Association president. Read more: FSU connection to ballot measure.  
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