Four out of six amendments clear the finish line

Published: Nov. 4, 2020 at 4:16 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Candidates weren’t the only thing on the ballot in Florida; voters also gave a thumbs up or down to six proposed changes to the state’s constitution.

Voters approved four out of six amendments on the ballot.

Florida’s minimum wage will rise to $15 an hour by 2026.

The Florida Chamber of Commerce fears the wage hike could cost the state half a million jobs.

“And that’s before you factor in COVID at all,” said Dr. Jerry Parrish, Chief Economist of the Florida Chamber Foundation.

John Morgan sponsored the minimum wage amendment. In a tweet, he celebrated saying, “The People of Florida gave the working poor of Florida a forever raise”.

“Yeah there’s going to be a few people that make more money, but it’s at a great cost to Florida,” said Dr. Parrish.

Voters also shot down a proposal to open the state’s Primary Elections.

Amendment guru John Sowinski said opposition from both parties likely sealed the amendment’s fate.

“Folks being told to vote no by both the Republican and the Democratic Party is what brought it down. The surprising thing to me is how narrow the margin was,” said Sowinski.

Voters also rejected a proposal that would have required any future amendment to go before voters twice.

“The proponents tried to frame it as there being a problem with direct democracy. Voters clearly don’t see a problem with direct democracy,” said Aliki Moncrief with Florida Conservation Voters.

And Sowinski hopes voters were able to send a message to lawmakers, who have in recent years sought to restrict the citizen initiative process.

“This is a clear message from voters that it’s a process they support and want to keep,” said Sowinski.

Voters also put a citizenship requirement for voting in the constitution, and voted their pocket book by extending a homestead property tax limitation and approving a tax discount for spouses of deceased veterans.

At least 10 million voters weighed in on each amendment, which Sowinski says is evidence Floridians value the ability to weigh in on policy questions and likely a reason they rejected the amendment that would have made it more difficult to amendment the constitution.

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