Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Group Says Vote No Again and Again

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Group Says Vote No Again and Again

Article excerpt

Just say no. That's an easy way to remember how to vote on the state constitutional amendments that will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot. Just say no to all 11 of them.

This advice comes from the Florida League of Women Voters in what may be a historical stance.

"I never remember opposing all the amendments on the ballot," league president Deirdre Macnab says. "Normally with this many, we'd have found one we'd support."

The menu of amendments is hardly normal, however, perhaps because the state Legislature proposed every one of them. So, we've ended up with this curious mix of political petulance (Amendments 1, 5, 6, 8) and tax manipulation (Amendments 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11).

Amendment 12 is a bit harder to characterize, but the proposal to tinker with student representation on the university system's Board of Governors has been called retaliation for student opposition to the creation of a 12th university from USF's Polytechnic.

"Where's the modern-day Paul Revere?" Macnab says. "He warned the colonists that the British were coming. We need someone in Florida to let us know the Legislature is coming."

Were he still alive, the Boston patriot would particularly bristle at Amendment 5, which would weaken the checks and balances established during his time. It would give the state Legislature (who came up with these amendments again?) more control over the Florida Supreme Court.

Even the more benign amendments come across as half-baked. Take Amendment 9, which would allow the Legislature to offer full ad valorem homestead property tax exemptions to the spouses of military veterans or first responders who die in the line of duty.

The amendment implies acknowledgment that the death of a spouse causes financial hardship. If so, a more effective way of dealing with it would be to set up a dedicated funding source that would pay a stipend or an annuity to the survivor. …

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