#Elections: Referendum explanations

#Elections: Referendum explanations

CONSTITUTIONAL (STATE-LEVEL) AMENDMENT

No. 1

Water and Land Conservation

Funds the Land Acquisition Trust Fund to acquire, restore, improve, and manage conservation lands including wetlands and forests; fish and wildlife habitat; lands protecting water resources and drinking water sources, including the Everglades, and the water quality of rivers, lakes, and streams; beaches and shores; outdoor recreational lands; working farms and ranches; and historic or geologic sites, by dedicating 33 percent of net revenues from the existing excise tax on documents for 20 years.

Pro: One percent of the state budget would be dedicated to preserving the environment. The money is derived from document stamp taxes and does not represent a tax hike.

Con: Legislators’ decisions on whether or not to fund projects should not be dictate by the state constitution, but should be flexible to match revenues. Also, the funds currently generated from document stamp taxes will be diverted from the general fund.

No. 2

Use of marijuana for certain medical conditions

Allows the medical use of marijuana for individuals with debilitating diseases as determined by a licensed Florida physician. Allows caregivers to assist patients’ medical use of marijuana. The Department of Health shall register and regulate centers that produce and distribute marijuana for medical purposes and shall issue identification cards to patients and caregivers. Applies only to Florida law. Does not authorize violations of federal law or any non-medical use, possession or production of marijuana.

Pro: Many members of the medical community, general public and legislative bodies recognize believe marijuana can relieve some of the symptoms that come with cancer treatment and can relieve pain.

Con: Marijuana carries a risk of abuse and addiction, can affect short-term memory and impair cognitive ability. Smoking marijuana can damage the lungs and is associated with car crashes.

No. 3

Prospective appointment of certain judicial vacancies

Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution requiring the Governor to prospectively fill vacancies in a judicial office to which election for retention applies resulting from the justice’s or judge’s reaching the mandatory retirement age or failure to qualify for a retention election; and allowing prospective appointments if a justice or judge is not retained at an election. Currently, the Governor may not fill an expected vacancy until the current justice’s or judge’s term expires.

Pro: It will resolve uncertainty about which governor (incoming our outgoing) gets to pick the new supreme court justices when their terms expire.

Con: The amendment would give appointment power to the outgoing governor.

Each amendment must receive 60 percent of the vote to pass.

 

MONROE COUNTY (KEYS-WIDE) AMENDMENT

No. 1

Half-cent school tax

The School District’s capital improvement plan is ongoing. Additional funding is required to upgrade and address security needs at school facilities, equip schools with modern technology, construct new facilities, provide for renovations and additions to existing school structures and other permitted capital improvements.

Pro: Sales taxes amounting to about $15 million per year are collected from locals and visitors would be used to refurbish and renovate existing facilities, plus pay for some infrastructure costs like computer power and safety improvements. The sales tax keeps the school board from raising taxes on homeowners.

Con: This sales tax was intended to inspire in 2014. The proposal extends it for another 10 years.

 

VILLAGE OF ISLAMORADA AMENDMENT

No. 1

Maximum floor

A Charter Amendment is proposed that would limit the maximum floor area of any structure within the Village, other than those for public and semi-public uses, to no more than 10,000 square feet of floor area within the perimeter of the exterior walls of the structure as measured from the outside surface of the exterior walls. Yes or No?

Pro: This eliminates the big box

 

AMENDMENTS FOR KEY WEST

No. 1

City Marina at Garrison Bight

Authorization to acquire city marina at Garrison Bight for continued use for public parking, public boat ramps, public dockmaster facility and a commercial and live-aboard marina.

Is the City of Key West authorized to acquire the real property located at 1801 North

Roosevelt Boulevard, and commonly referred to as City Marina at Garrison Bight,

without cost, from the State of Florida for use for public parking, public boat ramps, public dockmaster facility, and a commercial and live-aboard marina, if deemed acceptable to the City Commission after a full hearing with public input?

Pro: The city would acquire another facility to cater to locals and tourists.

Con: The city assumes the operating expenses from the state of Florida.

AMENDMENTS CITY OF MARATHON

No. 1

Election and Term of Office

Starting in 2015, the City Council members may serve two three (3) year terms instead of three two (2) year terms reducing the number of required elections. Yes or no?

Pro: Council members will still be term limited to six years, but have more time on the dais before beginning another re-election campaign.

Con: Council members may feel less pressure from the electorate during budget season. There is an extra cost to have an election in an “off” year.

No. 2

“Interference” and “Malfeasance” definitions

The Charter does not currently define “interference” with administration or “malfeasance” by a Council member nor does it provide a remedy if the section is violated. It is proposed to define these terms and provide remedies for violation.

Shall the above-described amendment be adopted?

Pro: This clarifies the intent in the original charter of keeping city staff from feeling undue pressure from elected officials to perform certain jobs.

Con: Although the definition is more clear, how to enforce this law — and the cost of enforcing this law including providing for legal defense — is still unclear.

No. 3

Tie Votes

The current charter provides in the event of a tie vote between two or more candidates, a runoff election will be required to resolve the tie, with a tie vote in the run-off election to be resolved by lot, e.g. drawing straws. It is proposed that a tie vote be resolved in the first instance by lot under the direction of the City Clerk, without the need for separate election. 

No. 4

Canvassing Board

The current charter provides that the city canvassing board shall be composed of those members of the city council who are not candidates for re-election. It is proposed to change the composition of the canvassing board to be the city manager, city clerk and city attorney with the manager selecting substitute member(s) if one or more cannot serve.

No. 5

Initiatives and Referendum

The charter allows initiative petitions to be filed with the Clerk for action by City Council and submitted to the electorate. It is proposed that initiative petitions, once filed, be reviewed within 20 days by the City Attorney for legal sufficiency, with mandatory action by the Council to be taken at the next two regularly scheduled council meetings and submission, if necessary, to the electorate at the next general election. Shall the above-described amendment be adopted?

No. 6

Transition Provision & Scrivener Errors

The current charter contains transition provisions relating to the City’s incorporation. It is proposed to eliminate some transition language and retain the balance for historical reference purposes and to correct any existing scrivener’s errors and change numeration as necessary.

No. 7

Building heights and flooding

Exception to building high regulations to protect properties from flooding

To protect property against flooding and reduce flood insurance costs for taxpayers citywide, should the City permit an exception to building height regulations when buildings are voluntarily raised off the ground, up to four feet above FEMA established flood levels, yet no more than 40 feet in height?

Pro: This would allow some homeowners to lift their homes out of dangerous and destructive hurricane floodwaters.

Con: The reality is this is an expensive prospect, and few homeowners would be able to take advantage of the exception to height regulations.

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