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Proposed Florida Constitutional Amendments pros and cons
The proponents and opponents points of view  to the amendments below are not the views of Volusia County Government or the Elections Department.

1. Parental Notification of a Minor's Termination of Pregnancy
2. Constitutional Amendments Proposed by Initiative
3. The Medical Liability Claimant's Compensation Amendment
4. Authorizes Miami-Dade and Broward County Voters to Approve Slot Machines In Parimutuel Facilities
5. Florida Minimum Wage Amendment
6. Repeal of High Speed Rail Amendment
7. Patients' Right to Know About Adverse Medical Incidents
8. Public Protection from Repeated Medical Malpractice


Amendment 1

Official Title :  Parental Notification of a Minor’s Termination of Pregnancy

Official Ballot Language: Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution to authorize the Legislature to require by general law for notification to a parent or guardian of a minor before the termination of the minor's pregnancy. The amendment provides that the Legislature shall not limit or deny the privacy rights guaranteed to minors under the United States Supreme Court. The Legislature shall provide exceptions to such requirement for notification and shall create a process for judicial waiver of the requirement for notification.

Amendment Type: Legislative

Sponsor:  Florida Legislature

Proponents: Florida Right to Life Committee

Proponents’ point of view: Proponents argue that it is critical for parents to be involved in helping their daughters make important decisions when pregnant and that parents should know when their daughters undergo surgery. Based on evidence from other states, teenage abortion rates will go down if this is passed.

Opponents: Planned Parenthood and ACLU

Opponents’ point of view: Opponents argue the proposed amendment will limit the fundamental right to privacy. They believe notification laws postpone medical care and increase risk to patients. In addition, the ballot language is misleading to voters.

Your Vote: If you support this issue being added to the Florida Constitution as an amendment, vote yes. If you would like to keep this out of Florida’s Constitution, vote no.


Amendment 2

Official Title: Constitutional Amendments Proposed by Initiative

Ballot Language: Proposing amendments to the State Constitution to require the sponsor of a constitutional amendment proposed by citizen initiative to file the initiative petition with the Secretary of State by February 1 of the year of a general election in order to have the measure submitted to the electors for approval or rejection at the following November's general election, and to require the Florida Supreme Court to render an advisory opinion addressing the validity of an initiative petition by April 1 of the year in which the amendment is to be submitted to the electors.

Amendment Type: Legislative

Sponsor: Florida Legislature

Proponents: VoteSmartFlorida.org, which is composed of the Florida Chamber of Commerce, Florida Farm Bureau, Florida Student Association, Florida Retail Association, AAA, and more than 60 organizations statewide

Proponents’ point of view: Proponents argue it will give voters more time to learn about and debate proposed amendments that may have significant implications for Florida citizens. It empowers voters to have the time to research the issues and make informed decisions.

Opponents: Hands Off Florida, which is composed of the Common Cause Florida; ACLU; Ballot Initiative Strategy Center; Citizens in Charge; Florida ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) and more than 15 organizations

Opponents’ point of view: Opponents argue this amendment will make it more difficult for future amendments to make it onto the ballot and that it makes the constitutional amendment process more confusing.

Your Vote: If you support amending the constitution to add these changes, vote yes. If you support keeping the constitution the same, vote no. 


Amendment 3

Official Title: The Medical Liability Claimant’s Compensation Amendment

Ballot Language: Proposes to amend the State Constitution to provide that an injured claimant who enters into a contingency fee agreement with an attorney in a claim for medical liability is entitled to no less than 70% of the first $250,000.00 in all damages received by the claimant, and 90% of damages in excess of $250,000.00, exclusive of reasonable and customary costs and regardless of the number of defendants. This amendment is intended to be self-executing.

Financial Impact Statement: The direct financial impact this amendment will have on state and local government revenues and expenditures cannot be determined, but is expected to be minimal. State agencies will incur some additional costs to comply with public records requirements of the amendment, but these costs will be generally offset by fees charged to the persons requesting the information.

Amendment Type: Citizen Initiative

Were paid, professional signature gatherers used to place this on the ballot? YES

Sponsor: Citizens for a Fair Share, Inc.

Proponents: Florida Medical Association

Proponents’ point of view: Proponents argue this amendment will help to achieve reforms in Florida that are similar to reforms previously passed in California. The basis of these reforms is a cap on attorney fees, which ensures patients receive their fair share of the compensation in a medical liability case.

Money Raised (including loans): $6,641,832.63 (October 13, 2004)

Top Three Contributors:

  1. Florida Medical Association (Florida)
  2. Citizens for Tort Reform (Florida)
  3. American Medical Association (Illinois)

Money Spent:  $5,810,856.61 (October 13, 2004)

Opponents: Florida Trial Lawyers

Opponents’ point of view: Opponents argue this amendment will make Florida’s healthcare system less safe and effective. It will limit patient’s access to the courts and cost taxpayers money in order to care for medical malpractice victims.

Your Vote: If you support this issue being added to Florida’s Constitution, vote yes. If you do not want it added to the Constitution, vote no. 


Amendment 4

Official Title: Authorizes Miami-Dade and Broward County Voters to Approve Slot Machines In Parimutuel Facilities

Ballot Language: Authorizes Miami-Dade and Broward Counties to hold referenda on whether to authorize slot machines in existing, licensed parimutuel facilities (thoroughbred and harness racing, greyhound racing, and jai alai) that have conducted live racing or games in that county during each of the last two calendar years before effective date of this amendment. The Legislature may tax slot machine revenues, and any such taxes must supplement public education funding statewide. Requires implementing legislation.

Financial Impact Statement: This amendment alone has no fiscal impact on government. If slot machines are authorized in Miami-Dade or Broward counties, governmental costs associated with additional gambling will increase by an unknown amount and local sales tax-related revenues will be reduced by $5 million to $8 million annually. If the Legislature also chooses to tax slot machine revenues, state tax revenues from Miami-Dade and Broward counties combined would range from $200 million to $500 million annually.

Amendment Type: Citizen Initiative

Were paid, professional signature gatherers used to place this on the ballot? YES

Sponsor: Floridians for a Level Playing Field

Proponents: Pari-mutuel operations

Proponents’ point of view: Proponents argue Miami-Dade and Broward voters should be able to decide for themselves if they want to authorize slot machines at seven existing parimutuel facilities in their two counties. Jobs will be created as a result of this passing and that taxable revenues generated by the slot machines will enhance education funding.

Money Raised (including loans): $14,280,785 (October 13, 2004)

Top Three Contributors:

  1. Calder Race Track (Florida)
  2. Isle of Capri Casinos, Inc. (Mississippi)
  3. West Flagler Associates, LTD. (Florida)

Money Spent: $13,585,361.49 (October 13, 2004)

Opponents: No Casinos, Inc., which includes Florida Police Chief Association, Florida Sheriff’s Association, the Humane Society of the United States, National Coalition Against Gambling Expansion, Grey 2K and more

Opponents’ point of view: Opponents argue this amendment will lead to increased crime in Florida and will have severe social cost consequences. If this amendment passes it will tarnish Florida’s safe, family friendly environment and that the taxable revenues generated by gambling would not be enough to cover the increase of crime and social costs related to gambling.

Your Vote: If you support changing Florida’s Constitution to give the residents of Miami-Dade and Broward Counties control over this issue, vote yes. If you want for the Constitution to remain the same and keep statewide control over this issue, vote no.


Amendment 5

Official Title: Florida Minimum Wage Amendment

Ballot Language:  This amendment creates a Florida minimum wage covering all employees in the state covered by the federal minimum wage. The state minimum wage will start at $6.15 per hour six months after enactment, and thereafter be indexed to inflation each year. It provides for enforcement, including double damages for unpaid wages, attorney's fees, and fines by the state. It forbids retaliation against employees for exercising this right.

Financial Impact Statement: The impact of this amendment on costs and revenues of state and local governments is expected to be minimal.

Amendment Type: Citizen Initiative

Were paid, professional signature gatherers used to place this on the ballot? YES

Sponsor:  Floridians For All PAC

Proponents:  ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now), MoveOn.org

Proponents’ point of view: Proponents argue that a full-time worker making minimum wage makes $10,712 a year. Approximately 300,000 workers who make minimum wage will directly benefit from a $1.00 increase to their salary and an additional 550,000 workers will benefit from “ripple effect” wage increases.

Money Raised: $1,126,525 (October 13, 2004)

Top Three Contributors:

  1. National Education Association Special Account (Washington DC)
  2. ACORN (Florida and Louisiana)
  3. Tides Foundation (California)

Money Spent: $1,112,335.87 (October 13, 2004)

Opponents: Coalition to Save Florida Jobs, which includes the Florida Retail Federation, Florida Restaurant Association, Florida Chamber of Commerce, National Federation of Independent Business and more

Opponents’ point of view: Opponents argue this amendment will establish the minimum wage in Florida at nearly 20 percent above the level currently set by the federal government and ties the minimum wage in Florida to the consumer pricing index, which can increase annually. If this amendment passes it could cost tens of thousands of Floridians their jobs, health care coverage and retirement benefits. In addition, 18,000 children will lose their health care if this passes.

Your Vote: If you support adding an increase in minimum wage to the Florida Constitution, vote yes. If you want to keep this out of the Constitution, vote no.


Amendment 6

Official Title: Repeal of High Speed Rail Amendment

Ballot Language:  This amendment repeals an amendment in the Florida Constitution that requires the Legislature, the Cabinet and the Governor to proceed with the development and operation of a high speed ground transportation system by the state and/or by a private entity.

Financial Impact Statement: The probable financial impact of passage of this amendment is a state cost savings ranging from $20 billion to $25 billion over the next 30 years. This estimate assumes the repeal of associated laws, the use of state bonds to finance construction, and could be reduced by federal or private sector funding.

Amendment Type: Citizen Initiative

Were paid, professional signature gatherers used to place this on the ballot? YES

Sponsor: Derail the Bullet Train (DEBT)

Proponents: Florida Transportation Commission, Florida Chamber of Commerce

Proponents’ point of view: Proponents argue the high-speed rail is estimated to cost taxpayers $25 billion. By repealing this amendment, Florida can use that money for other purposes such as highway construction to ease traffic congestion, education and health care.

Money Raised:  $2,091,138.17 (October 13, 2004)

Top Three Contributors:

  1. The Villages (Florida)
  2. Moving Florida (Florida)
  3. Universal City Development Park (Florida)

Money Spent: $2,069,287.27 (October 13, 2004)

Opponents: Florida Transportation Association, Inc.

Opponents’ point of view: Opponents argue that this amendment will take away a transportation system that would be environmentally safe and efficient and that would require less government subsidy than roads or airports. In addition, Florida needs a bullet train to prevent overcrowding on our roads due to estimated rapid population growth. 

Your Vote: If you support deleting the high speed rail amendment that passed in 2000 from Florida’s Constitution, vote yes on this amendment. If you want the high speed rail amendment to remain in Florida’s Constitution, vote no.


Amendment 7

Official Title: Patients' Right to Know About Adverse Medical Incidents

Ballot Language: Current Florida law restricts information available to patients related to investigations of adverse medical incidents, such as medical malpractice. This amendment would give patients the right to review, upon request, records of health care facilities' or providers' adverse medical incidents, including those which could cause injury or death. Provides that patients' identities should not be disclosed.

Financial Impact Statement: The direct financial impact this amendment will have on state and local government revenues and expenditures cannot be determined, but is expected to be minimal. State agencies will incur some additional costs to comply with public records requirements of the amendment, but these costs will be generally offset by fees charged to the persons requesting the information.

Amendment Type: Citizen Initiative

Were paid, professional signature gatherers used to place this on the ballot? YES

Sponsor: Floridians for Patient Protection

Proponents: Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers

Proponents’ point of view: Proponents argue that this amendment will arm patients with information regarding their doctor’s malpractice incidents and adverse judgments. This amendment will provide patients with critical information about doctors and hospitals in Florida.

Money Raised (including loans): $21,861,532.47 (October 13, 2004)

Top Three Contributors:

  1. Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley, P.A. (Florida)
  2. Grossman and Roth, PA (Florida)
  3. Brown, Terrell, Hogan (Florida)

Money Spent: $19,270,373.83 (October 13, 2004)

Opponents: Florida Medical Association

Opponents’ point of view: Opponents argue that the physicians will no longer be able to perform reviews on other physicians if this amendment passes. These reviews address patient care concerns that help to reduce errors and improve patient’s quality of care.

Your Vote: If you support adding this issue to Florida’s Constitution, vote yes on this amendment. If you do not want this added to Florida’s Constitution, vote no.


Amendment 8

Official Title: Public Protection from Repeated Medical Malpractice

Ballot Language: Current law allows medical doctors who have committed repeated malpractice to be licensed to practice medicine in Florida. This amendment prohibits medical doctors who have been found to have committed three or more incidents of medical malpractice from being licensed to practice medicine in Florida.

Financial Impact Statement: The direct financial impact on state and local governments resulting from the proposed initiative would be minimal. There will likely be additional costs to the state of less than $1 million per year, but these costs will be offset by licensure fees.

Amendment Type: Citizen Initiative

Sponsor: Floridians for Patient Protection

Proponents: Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers

Proponents’ point of view: Proponents argue that nearly 195,000 Americans are killed each year by medical mistakes. This amendment will benefit patients by prohibiting doctors with three or more medical malpractice incidents to practice.

Money Raised (including loans): $21,861,532.47 (October 13, 2004)

Top Three Contributors:

  1. Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley, P.A. (Florida)
  2. Grossman and Roth, PA (Florida)
  3. Brown, Terrell, Hogan (Florida)

Money Spent: $19,270,373.83 (October 13, 2004)

Opponents: Florida Medical Association

Opponents’ point of view: Opponents argue if this amendment passes, doctors practicing in high-risk fields, such as ob-gyns, neurosurgeons and trauma surgeons, will leave Florida and new doctors will decide not to come to Florida to practice.  This will limit patient’s access to quality healthcare.

Your Vote: If you believe this issue should be added to Florida’s Constitution, vote yes on this amendment. If you do not want this added to Florida’s Constitution, vote no.


Proposed County Charter Amendment
(Pros and cons unavailable for this item)

Official Title: An Amendment to Adopt an Urban Growth Boundary and Incorporate within the County’s Comprehensive Plan

Ballot Language: The establishment, implementation and enforcement of a Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) benefits Volusia county’s natural resources, scenic beauty, orderly development and the welfare of its citizens. The UGB shall be incorporated into a Future Land Use Map and comprehensive plan amendment, which shall include methods of implementation, enforcement, and review in accordance with general law. The UGB shall apply to all the incorporated and unincorporated areas of Volusia County. Provides definition.

Full Text of Proposed Amendment: Article II, Powers and Duties of the County of Volusia shall be amended to add the following as Section 202.5:

Section 202.5: Urban Growth boundaries.
The council, after preparation by its local planning agency, notice and public hearings, shall promptly establish an Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) on the Future Land Use Map as part of the Future Land Use Element of the Volusia County comprehensive plan, which shall be subject to review under 163.3191 Florida Statutes, in accordance with general law. The UGB shall apply to and be enforced in all incorporated and unincorporated areas of the County. The council shall implement the UGB through local planning agreements with all municipalities within Volusia County. The UGB shall be a primary method of accomplishing County goals and policies concerning compact urban growth, the economical and efficient provision of public services, and the protection of environmental resources from destruction, and any other such standards as the council determines to be necessary for the protection of the public health, safety, and welfare of the citizens throughout Volusia County. If any part of this section is declared to be invalid, the remainder of the section shall be considered as separate and severable and shall remain in full force and effect. This amendment shall take effect immediately upon approval by voters, and filing of a copy of the revised Volusia County Charter, incorporating said amendment, with the Florida Department of State. For purposes of this Section, UGB means an area designated for future urban growth and public services, and for possible future municipal incorporation.

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