The Florida Legislature referred two constitutional amendments to the ballot during its 2020 legislative session, which ended on March 13. Five other proposed constitutional amendments had passed one chamber of the state legislature but were not approved in the other chamber before the session adjourned. Also on the Florida 2020 ballot are four citizen-initiated constitutional amendments.
The two amendments referred by the legislature concern property taxes.
House Joint Resolution 877, sponsored by Rep. Sam Killebrew (R-41), would allow a homestead property tax discount to be transferred to the surviving spouse of a deceased veteran. The state House approved the amendment 115-0 with five not voting on March 4, 2020. The state Senate passed the measure unanimously on March 5, 2020.
House Joint Resolution 369, sponsored by Rep. Rick Roth (R-85), would increase the period during which a person may transfer “Save Our Homes” benefits (limitations on homestead property tax assessments) to a new homestead property from two years to three years. The state House approved the amendment unanimously with two Democratic representatives not voting on March 9, 2020. The state Senate approved the amendment unanimously on March 11, 2020. The tax assessment limitations, referred to as Save Our Homes benefits, were established through Amendment 10, a citizen initiative, in 1992. Amendment 10 modified Article VII of the Florida Constitution to limit homestead property valuations to a maximum of 3% annually.
Summaries of the four citizen-initiated amendments on the ballot are as follows:
- Amendment 1: adds language to state constitution saying that only U.S. citizens can vote in federal, state, local, or school elections
Amendment 2: increases minimum wage to $15 by 2026
Amendment 3: establishes a top-two open primary system for state office primary elections
Amendment 4: requires voter-approved constitutional amendments to be approved by voters at a second general election
A total of 91 measures appeared on the Florida ballot between 1996 and 2018, 75.82% of which were approved and 24.18% were defeated. From 1996 to 2018, an average of between seven and eight measures appeared on the ballot during even-numbered years in Florida.