Controversial ballot amendments require lots of reading and thought

Taxes, abortion and healthcare all up for a vote

TAMPA - Amendment 1 will change the state Constitution to prohibit any requirement to buy health insurance and it affects virtually nobody.  Because the Supreme Court already re-affirmed that part of the President's affordable care act, Amendment 1 is a largely symbolic way for Republican lawmakers in Tallahassee to say they don't like Obamacare.

Amendment 3 limits how much money the state can collect based on population and inflation.  Excess tax collection goes into rainy day fund.  Supporters believe it will reign in excessive spending.  Opponents including, AARP and consumer groups like Florida Consumer Action Network believe it places radical restrictions on the state's ability to pay for future needs.

Amendment 5 requires senate confirmation of state supreme court justices and gives lawmakers control over rule changes within the court system.  Again, State Lawmakers are asking voters to give them more control. Florida's Supreme Court has ruled against the Republican establishment in several important cases. Supporters say it would make the court more accountable, opponents say it's an attempt to politicize what is supposed to be an independent branch of government.

More:  See Brendan's breakdown of the rest of the amendments at .

Amendment 6 makes the federal ban on public funding for abortion part of the state constitution and limits the existing right to privacy.  The two sides are clearly drawn in the ongoing abortion war.  Florida already bans public spending on abortion services, so that won't change, but a 'yes' vote could open the door to additional  restrictions  including a parental consent requirement for minors seeking an abortion.

Amendment 8 removes the existing state ban on funding religious institutions with taxpayer money. It's a direct challenge to the long observed separation of church and state.  A yes vote would allow taxpayer money to fund faith based schools, social services and prison ministries, but not allow the state to favor one religion over another.

Amendment 12 creates a new council of University students that will select the Board of Governor's student representative.  A private, non-profit student association has chosen that representative in the past. Their  practice of collecting dues is what prompted the proposed change.  

Your Republican state lawmakers would like you to vote 'yes' on all eleven measures.  Groups including the League of Women Voters and the Tampa Bay Times suggest you say 'no' to the whole  lot.  Each measure  has to get 60 percent voter approval to become law.

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