Florida NAACP releases amendment recommendations for general election

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The NAACP Florida State Conference is releasing these critical recommendations on our constitutional amendments.

We are proud to announce our support for Amendment 2 to increase the minimum wage along with Amendments 5 and 6 that supports homeowners and spouses of deceased veterans.We will adamantly oppose

Amendment 1 as it’s a clear gimmick from outside groups, Amendment 3 would hurt Black representation statewide and multi-cultural districts and Amendment 4 creates additional barriers for voters.

If the current Amendment 4 had passed years ago, the prior Amendment 4 restoring voting rights to ex-felons would have required an additional hurdle.

The NAACP Florida State Conference will continue to educate voters over the next several weeks on these critical decisions impacting our community,” said Adora Obi Nweze, President of NAACP Florida State Conference and member of the National Board of Directors.

For the 2020 General Election, we recommend:

Amendment 1

Citizenship Requirement to Vote in Florida Elections: This amendment provides that only United States citizens who are at least 18 years of age, a permanent resident of Florida, and registered to vote, as provided by law, shall be qualified to vote in a Florida election.

Sponsor: Florida Citizen Voters.

Pros: None.

Cons: “permanent resident” of Florida is intended to discourage college students from out of state to vote in Florida.

Florida law is clear that only a U.S. citizen and resident of Florida who is 18 or older is eligible to vote.

Florida NAACP recommendation: NO

Amendment 2

Raising Florida’s minimum wage: Raises minimum wage to $10.00 per hour effective Sept. 30, 2021.

Each Sept. 30 thereafter, minimum wage shall increase by $1.00 per hour until the minimum wage reaches $15.00 per hour on Sept. 30, 2026. From that point forward, future minimum wage increases shall revert to being adjusted annually for inflation starting Sept. 30, 2027.

Sponsor: Florida For A Fair Wage.

Pros: Ensures a living wage for families to meet their basic needs. Florida’s present minimum wage — $8.56 an hour — was put in place by a successful initiative campaign in 2004, when it won 71 percent of the vote.

It started out at $6.15 per hour, indexed to inflation. Florida’s present minimum wage yields $17,800 a year for a full-time worker, which doesn’t come close to a living wage for a family of four.

Cons: A belief that it would cost jobs and raise prices on everyday needs.

Florida NAACP recommendation: YES

Amendment 3

All voters vote in primary elections for state legislature, governor, and cabinet.

Allows all registered voters to vote in primaries for state legislature, governor, and cabinet regardless of political party affiliation.

All candidates for an office, including party nominated candidates, appear on the same primary ballot. Two highest vote getters advance to general election.

If only two candidates qualify, no primary is held and winner is determined in general election.Candidate’s party affiliation may appear on ballot as provided by law. Effective Jan. 1, 2024.

Sponsor: All Voters Vote Inc.

Pros: This may create increase overall competition for various races (governor, cabinet and
state legislature) but it’s projected to have a negative impact on Black candidates.

Cons: Would present a barrier to mainstream African Americans seeking to win in multicultural districts based on overall demographics. Also, Black candidates would generally have a tougher time getting elected.

Florida NAACP recommendation: NO

Amendment 4

Voter approval of constitutional amendments.

Requires all proposed amendments or revisions to the state constitution to be approved by the voters in two elections, instead of one, in order to take effect. The proposal applies the current thresholds for passage to each of the two elections.

Sponsor: Keep Our Constitution Clean PC.

Pros: None.

Cons: This is totally unheard of that anyone should have to vote twice to get something approved.

If enacted, this would have been a barrier to measures like 2018 Amendment 4 for felon disenfranchisement.

Florida NAACP recommendation: NO

Amendment 5

Limitation on homestead assessments: proposing an amendment to the State Constitution, effective date Jan. 1, 2021, to increase, from 2 years to 3 years, the period of time during which accrued Save Our Homes benefits may be transferred from a prior homestead to a new homestead.

Sponsor: The Florida Legislature.

Pros: Creates additional benefits for qualified homeowners; allows three years instead of the present two for people to transfer their accrued “Save Our Homes” benefit from an old home to a new one.

Cons: None

Florida NAACP recommendation: YES

Amendment 6

Ad valorem tax discount for spouses of certain deceased veterans who had permanent, combat-related disabilities.

Provides that the homestead property tax discount for certain veterans with permanent combat-related disabilities carries over to such veteran’s surviving spouse who holds legal or beneficial title to, and who permanently resides on, the homestead property, until he or she remarries or sells or otherwise disposes of the property.

The discount may be transferred to a new homestead property of the surviving spouse under certain conditions. The amendment takes effect Jan. 1, 2021.

Sponsor: The Florida Legislature.

Pros: Creates additional benefits for spouses of certain deceased veterans.

Cons: None.

Florida NAACP recommendation: YES

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